Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’

Fortune And Glory Kid… Fortune And Glory

I used to enjoy reading movie novelizations.  I enjoyed digging deeper into the film by reading what was going on inside the minds of the characters and reading the parts that ended up on the cutting room floor.  I recently came into a copy of the movie-tie in to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.  While everything from the movie was present, there were minor differences (Willie does not cause Indy’s gun to fly out the window of their moving Duesenberg while being pursued by a group of Chinese gangsters).  One major difference (and definitely a scene that had to be cut from the film that established the PG-13 movie rating) involved phallic symbolism that would have disturbed me as an 11 year old.

My favorite part of any novelization is getting to see inside the minds of the main characters.  What makes them tick? What are their real motivations for the actions they perform? When (if ever), does Indy change from an archaeologist who is out to achieve “fortune and glory” into something more?

There was a lot of humor inside the inner workings of Dr. Jones’ companions: the sulry nightclub singer Willie Scott who is accidentally thrust into the adventure and Indiana’s 12 year-old bodyguard, chauffeur, and Man Friday, Short Round.  I loved reading about the young Chinese orphan’s penchant for thievery, religious idoltry, movies, and sports of the 1930s.  Very entertaining read.

Giddy As A School Boy?

I was giddy as a school boy (inside) all day after I received two phone calls at work from a great friend informing me that he and his wife wanted to go and see THE MOVIE with me this afternoon. I was soooo excited… work just dragged by until 3.30 when I was allowed to leave a half hour early to make the 5pm showing. I cannot believe that it has been 19 years since Indiana Jones last graced the big screen and it really did look as if it were going to be the last time as Indy and his companions rode off into the sunset in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. From what I gathered on screen, I believe that Spielberg, Lucas, Ford, and company wanted to tie up some loose ends.

Without giving away too much, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was an entertaining movie but at times it was a bit too hokey… even for someone who still watches the three movies at least once a year (and when and why did Raiders of the Lost Ark become Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark?). The year is 1957, 20+ years after World War II and Nazis. This time, the enemies are the Russians and seeds of McCarthyism are seen in the beginning of the movie. We learn a little about what Dr. Jones has been up to since that time.

All of the elements of the previous films are here: the quest to find the MacGuffin, keeping it away from the villains, the creepy crawly creatures…. yes there is at least one snake involved, the big action pieces, and above all Harrison Ford’s unflappable portrayal with all the dry wit one comes to expect from the action star. The most pleasant surprise is Karen Allen’s return to the fold as Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The chemistry and magic between the two leads was unmistakable from the moment they resumed their bickering which was a highlight of the first film.

After the movie, we discussed one scene that would make a fantastic water ride at an amusement park. I have often though that the mine car chase/battle in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would be the basis for a great rollercoaster.

There were more times in this film that the action was slowed down and you kept wanting something to happen. It was very slow to get going but once it did, it kept us entertained. As we discussed, it may be that we might just be revisiting something from our youth and not being as captivated by it as adults. I admit that seeing the newest Star Wars trilogy kind of had me feeling that way, but there was just something missing in this Indy adventure.

The supporting cast of new friends for the archaeologist were unfamiliar. Gone were Marcus Brody and Sallah. In their place were a teenage James Dean type school drop out, a kidnapped colleague of Indy’s, and a greedy man who apparently had adventures with Indy following The Last Crusade.

So, while not as memorable as the three previous chapters, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an entertaining film that any fan of the original blockbusters should see. By the way, be sure to look for one of the treasures Dr. Jones uncovered in the previous movies in the warehouse segment at the beginning of the movie… blink and you may miss it. And anyone who can tell me where the shooting star seen in all Spielberg movies is, will be rewarded handsomely.

Overall, I give it 3 out of 5.

Indiana Jones tickets on sale now!

Not Very Funny….

Said Short Round to Willie Scott after he nearly fell through the hole of a rickety bridge crossing a wide chasm where hungry crocodiles awaited a tasty morsel. (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)

As my Liswathistani friend so eloquently pointed out, several people at the wedding reception on Saturday did come down with a case of the dreaded scoots. We have come to the conclusion that it stemmed from some bad creamed chicken sandwiches which are usually very good. Apparently, the canned chicken (which was purchased a week ago) was bad.

All day long, we laughed and joked about the situation. It was definitely a reception no one will forget. Tonight around 10 o’ clock, it became not so funny. Apparently, two of the groom’s relatives are in the hospital with food poisoning. One of them is hooked to an IV.

The bride called the store this afternoon to explain the situation and ask about the return policy. I imagine tomorrow she will be inquiring about the liability policy. They will be getting a copy of the bills. Thank heaven all I have done is take some anti-diarrhea medication which seems to be doing the trick. Ironic how something that seems funny one moment can be so serious soon after.

Snakes… Why Did There Have To Be Snakes

Since this is to be a blog concerning movie reviews, I suppose I should start reviewing more. On May 22, one of my favorite movie franchises will be resurrected with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Let me take a moment to deal with the previous 3 movies in turn. All four movies contain two essential elements: Harrison Ford and director Steven Spielberg

Raiders of the Lost Ark was one of the top grossing films of 1981, if not THE top money maker. It is here we meet the great archaeologist and follow him around the globe on his quest to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Along with his female companion Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen), Indy battles Nazis, a trecherous rival treasure hunter, and the bane of his existence…. deadly snakes. However exhausted he may seem, Dr. Jones rises to each challenge with courage and at times a bit of a swagger. In one scene, Indy shoots a menacing swordsman with one bullet fired from his gun. However, his favorite weapon of choice: his trusty bull whip.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984. The second installment was considerably darker than its predecessor. In fact, Spielberg had to lobby for a new movie rating in order to avoid getting an R-rating. Thus, the PG-13 rating was created. Temple of Doom concerns our intrepid adventurer searching for the lost sankara stones which were stolen from a small village in India. These rocks may have meant “fortune and glory” to Indy but to the village they meant their very livelihood. Some of the highlights in this epic are a speeding mine car chase, a rickety rope bridge, and a sumptuous feast consisting of snake surprise, beetles, eyeball soup, and for dessert…Chilled Monkey Brains (a tasty treat anyone would enjoy).

The third part of the saga, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), had a lot to do with the background of the character: why archaeology, where his whip came from, and why the name Indiana. In a very brilliant piece of casting, Sean Connery was chosen to play Indy’s father. Who else but the world’s greatest superspy could play the world’s greatest adventurer’s father? After rescuing his father from Nazis,they set out to find the Holy Grail: the cup which held the blood of Christ at the Last Supper and gives everlasting life to anyone who drinks from it. In a flashback at the beginning of the movie, the late River Phoenix plays a young Indy on one of his teenage escapades.

Now, comes the next chapter. Very little is known about the new movie aside from the title and who knows what the purpose of the crystal skull is. Karen Allen is returning as Marion and Shia LaBeouf is cast as a young man who speculation suggests has a familial tie to the hero. Watch the trailer here