The second film in the famed Indiana Jones series, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, celebrates its 28th anniversary today! The sequel to one of the biggest action adventure films of all time, 1981’s Raiders of The Lost Ark. The series spawned an iconic hero in Indiana Jones, the confident and sometimes way over his head archeologist of the 1930s, and gave Harrison Ford, already well known as Han Solo in Star Wars, yet another classic character who got to chew the scenery in every scene he was in.
The sequel, which was highly anticipated, was actually really a prequel set in 1935, predating the original film’s story by about a year. A desperate village asks Indiana Jones to find a stone wrapped in mysticism, and once he undergoes the trek to find it, uncovers a cult which practices child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice (a scene in which a heart is extracted from a living human body was a main catalyst for the creation of the implementing of the MPAA’s PG-13 rating in 1984).
Released to mixed reviews but solid box office in 1984, the film has had a better shelf life since its release originally, although many of the principals involved (director Steven Spielberg among others) still view the film unfavorably in retrospect. India in particular has voiced their opinion about its stereotypical treatment of its people as villains and stereotypes in the film.
Nonetheless, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains a crackerjack adventure film, a still-entertaining grab bag of action, wild ideas, technical invention, and humor. While the film did sport some 2D characters in the guise of Kate Capshaw’s (the future wife of Spielberg) screaming blonde heroine Willie, and Jonathan Ke Quan as Short Round (later finding further fame in The Goonies), Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Indiana Jones is always a treat to watch.
So like it or hate it, sophomoric slump or not, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom remains, after 28 years, an action/adventure yarn which is still remembered by many fans of the series today as another product of the cinema of the 1980s with its fun excess, overblown budgets, and good time popcorn experience. Sounds like the embryonic tones of today’s blockbuster movie styles indeed.