Oh God, here we go. The time has come to review the second film, and in my opinion, the worst one in the franchise. Many things about this film annoy me, and it definitely suffers from sequel syndrome. As far as I recall, due to being darker and edgier, this wasn’t well-received by fans. George Lucas has admitted that it is darker due to the fact he was going through a divorce at the time. If ever there was a time not to let your work intersect with your personal life, that was it.
Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom (to give it its full name, which sounds like a tourist attraction) is the second movie in the quadrilogy, was released in 1984 and frankly, I wish it had never seen the light of day, or at least undergone significant improvements in the cutting room. This may sound like a slightly irrational hatred of this film, but it really gets on my nerves.
The three mainly annoying features of this film are the sidekick, the token woman, and the lack of Nazis. The sidekick, called Short Round after a dog that the producers knew (why anyone would call a dog Short Round is never addressed) is incredibly annoying and exactly the reason why I don’t like children sidekicks in films (or just children in films, for that matter). They always seem bratty and annoying to me. For much the same reason, I don’t like the token woman, Willie Scott (which can’t be a good name to have as a female nightclub singer). At any given time she can be found screaming, being a complete step backwards for feminism, being creeped out by some bugs, and screaming. Now, I’m not saying I like Nazis, but it doesn’t feel like an Indiana Jones movie without them. I suppose since the movie is set in 1935, this makes some degree of sense as the Nazis weren’t that powerful or well-known yet. I never thought I’d say this, but I’d take the Nazis.
I’m not saying that this is a bad movie exactly, although I’m certainly thinking it. I see this movie as having much the same flaws as the fourth, to explain why people don’t like them so much. They both had annoying sidekicks, they both lacked Nazis, and they were both even-numbered movies, although that was just the production order and nothing intentional.
I’ll be honest; I was going to watch the four Indiana Jones movies in a marathon recently and I would’ve been perfectly happy to skip this one (and I would’ve actually got to watch the fourth one). The problem is that in my eyes, it had too many flaws for me to like it, so that every time I watch it, I’m too annoyed by Short Round and The Screaming Woman to enjoy the movie. I mean, yes, it is different to the other films, it does have a good villain, and it might be good for you if you like difference and variety, but in terms of these films, the pre-existing formula works. They could’ve even stuck the Nazis in there instead of the evil Thuggee cult. And in the end, isn’t that the best you can hope for?
If you liked the other Indiana Jones films, I would recommend checking this one out. It’s just that you may regret it, and don’t come looking for my head when you do.