Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is such a misfire. Probably because on the heels of a ginormous blockbuster family adventure film, Spielberg and Lucas made a family about an ancient ritual cult, human sacrifice, and child torture. The story goes the two men were in a darker place after breaking up with their wives, Amy Irving and Marcia Lucas. It was still the 10th highest grossing picture of all-time on its release.
Temple of Doom has much to commend it. But the nasty subject matter places it in a lower tier than Raiders of the Lost Ark or Last Crusade. For this new year of 2013, I am listing 13 of my favorite things about Last Crusade.
1. Short Round (played by Jonathan Ke Quan) – Pretty much everything he does (his 11-year-old Kung Fu ranges from useless to effective shots to the groin) or says (“Very funny!” “You call him Dr. Jones!” “You say to stand against the wall…not my fault!”) is my highlight of the film.
3. “Lao Che Air Freight” – Watch for the uncredited cameo by Dan Aykroyd telling Indy his flight arrangements
4. The Rope Bridge
5. John Williams’ Score – Although the “The Raiders March” gets appropriate play, there is a darkly themed music composed for this film. It was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to A Passage to India. [Full disclosure: “The Raiders March” is my ringtone]
6. The Totally Evil Looks Offered by Mola Ram and the Maharajá
8. The Baby Elephant
9. The Obi Wan Café – Shown on a sign as they jump out the window, this is one of many Star Wars references in the Indiana Jones movies. Also “Anything Goes” over the opening credits.
10. The Simultaneous Beatdowns – Indiana Jones and Short Round kick the crap out of a thugee guard and the Maharajá at the same time in the mines.
12. The Ritual of Putting on the Hats by Short Round and Indiana Jones – This moving moment is meaningful way of saying ‘I’m sorry for smacking you to the floor while under the spell of the blood of Kali. Thanks for burning me with that torch.’