The trouble with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is that it’s not a farce, yet parts of it are completely unserious, and it’s not a horror movie, but parts of it are pretty much the most terrifying things I would ever deliberately watch. As a kid I used to think the scenes in Pankot Palace were merely disgusting, but nowadays the juxtaposition between the serving of the monkey brains and live eels and the discussion of the horror-inducing Thuggee cult is just ridiculous–and looks even more so when followed by stomach-turning portrayal of the rituals of the cult. Both Raiders and Last Crusade manage to bring the funny without whanging us over the head with it. But Ford is magnificent, as he was in all three, and even the miscast Kate Capshaw, admittedly with horrible lines to work with, in certain scenes gives a perfect performance as a squidgy, helpless companion while the classic Indy booby-traps roll down on our heroes. John Williams’s music is even a cut above. But then the whole thing degenerates into dark, dismal un-Indy again as they capture and drug Jones, to be wrenched back to good heroics in their escape and restoration of the children to their village.
Uneven, heavy-handed, difficult to watch–but still Indy.
P.S. Short Round was the brightest spot in the whole film. Jonathan Ke Quan is three years older than me and has had quite a varied career.
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