Monkey Brains

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is either the best or the worst of the original trilogy. You either love the sudden dark tone or hate it. Regardless, it’s definitely the odd one out. I actually liked it the most when I was a kid, but now I’m not so sure. 1984 was still the best possible year for it to come out though. The reason for the sudden dark tone is because George Lucas and Steven Spielberg both experienced breakups. Which explains the use of child slavery, black magic, and ritual human sacrifice. It ended up being so intense that it was one of the two movies that encouraged the creation of the PG-13 rating.

Since Spielberg contributed to Gremlins as well, he suggested the MPAA conceive a rating between PG and R. Temple of Doom faced many other problems as well. Lucas promised Spielberg he had thought up sequels in advance, but like the Star Wars trilogy, that wasn’t the case. Other ideas included dinosaurs, the Monkey King, and a haunted castle. Until they finally decided on a Temple in India. Many action set piece ideas were recycled from previous Raiders of the Lost Ark scripts. The production had to be rushed a bit too and Harrison Ford suffered a serious back injury. It’s almost like the movie was cursed…

3. temple

Indiana Jones prepares to cut the bridge

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is actually a prequel. Not a sequel like some people assume. You can tell by the date being 1935 (one year before the first movie). That’s because George Lucas didn’t want Nazis to be the villains once again. Temple of Doom opens with the Paramount logo turning into a Chinese gong. It’s here in 1935 Beijing that Indy (dressed a little like James Bond) is currently on a mission involving the exchange of an artifact with diamonds. We’re also introduced to Willie Scott. A loud, whiny, nightclub singer that was intended to be the complete opposite of Marion Ravenwood. That was a bit of a mistake since Indy brings her along for some reason after being poisoned, riding a gong out a window, and falling into a car.

The only part of the movie Steven Spielberg doesn’t regret is meeting Kate Capshaw. Since they’ve been married since 1991. The car in question is driven by Indy’s wacky 11 year old Asian sidekick Short Round. We all know how kid sidekicks can be, but I don’t mind him too much. After winding up on the crime boss’ plane, Indy, Willie, and Short Round end up having to jump out using a life raft. They end up in India where a poverty stricken village pleads for the safe return of their children and three Sankara stones. The focus on Hindu artifacts contrasts with the first and third focusing on Christian artifacts. The trio make their way to the Palace where they’re greeted with a warm welcome. Including a disgusting dinner of eyeball soup and monkey brains.

Indiana Jones discovers the titular “temple of doom” underneath the palace. Avoiding a ground full of bugs, crushing spikes, and retrieving his hat in the process. They witness a Thuggee cult ritual where the evil Mola Ram actually rips peoples hearts out while they’re still alive. They can also control minds (including Indy’s) with the blood of Kali. After the children are freed, the trio escape in an exciting mine cart sequence. Followed by an equally exciting final confrontation on a rope bridge. Despite being overly dark and having somewhat annoying supporting characters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom nevertheless proves boundary pushing adventure is what counts the most.

4. of doom

The temple of doom

Followed by: Raiders of the Lost Ark & Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

One thought on “Monkey Brains

  1. I love how dark this one is (I guess thatโ€™s why they threw the kid sidekick in to lighten the mood). Iโ€™m in the mood for an Indiana Jones night.

    Liked by 1 person

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