Re: How Come Temple's Got a Bad Rap?

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Posted by Laurie Jensen from on October 04, 1998 at 20:30:14:

In Reply to: Re: How Come Temple's Got a Bad Rap? posted by ~The Raider~ on October 04, 1998 at 12:42:03:

: : Am I one of the few that believe Temple of Doom is arguably the best
: : in the series? Most completely disagree with me, which is perfectly
: : allright.

: : Still, I find Temple to be *ultimate* Indy: Ford isn't as wooden, the
: : action is larger than life (as it should be), the tone lighter (I
: : feel Raiders was taking itself a bit too seriously), the
: : characters humorous and the locations most exotic of the series.
: : Not to mention the risks Speilberg took with this one. I just hate to hear Speilberg apologizing for this entry in the series ["show a little backbone, will ya'?!"]

: : Crusade, by comparison, was quite a reactionary response to those
: : who didn't like Temple; in my opinion, it was extremely conservative
: : and thus by the numbers. It was safe. And this was the film experience
: : that convinced me to be a filmmaker!

: : Of course, Raiders started it all, and it's fabulous. But like I pointed out, I felt the tone was just a bit too serious. Hey, we're talking pulp here! Don't get me wrong, I love Indy, but it seems Temple always, unjustifiably, gets the bad rap.

: : -Andrea

: : P.S. For those of you not familiar with Pauline Kael, the former film critic for the New Yorker, I would strongly suggest you check out her review on Temple. It hits the nail on the head, in my opinion, and truly does the film critical justice.

: Leonard Maltin's review on it can explain the whole bad rap thing. He says it matches the original with breathtaking stunts of it's own, but it gives no room to breath. He mentions the storyline is weaker, as well as the heroine. A little too loud, and a little too many gross-out gags. But he did up his rating in the 1999 version of his review book by half a star.

: Personaly, I can see where he is coming from, but ToD is worth more than 2 stars. I just think it's a little too escapist and a little too lighthearted. But that's only my opinion. I also think that Last Crusade was the least in the series.

: ~The Raider

Well, I have to respectfully disagree. There's no doubt in my mind that Raiders is by far the best in the series. I like everything better-sets, costumes, actors, story, heroine, villains, atmosphere, etc. The seriousness you dislike is what really works for me-the other two films seem too frivilous in comparison. After all, if I want a situation comedy I'll watch one, and if I want a breaktaking adventure series with humor and romance mixed in, I'll take Indy. Ironically, I find myself laughing more at the stuff in the supposebly solemn Raiders, than over Willie's mugging or the lobotomized Marcus in LC. Raiders is just a more gritty movie, thankfully lacking the unfortunate sentimentality that sometimes creeps into the two sequels (always a problem with a Spielberg film).

Still, I can see how TOD has gotten a bad rap in Indy circles. It's a more risky and original movie than the more beloved Last Crusade, which I find too derivative of the superior Raiders, and more poorly made than either of the first two pictures. There's a great post on this page about the numerous continuity and editing mistakes, but nobody mentions how pedestrian the directing is. Speilburg, who has admitted he only did Last Crusade to finish up the trilogy, really didn't seem to have his heart in it. Everything just seems slow and lacking in energy, with the notable exception of Connery, who is typically fab as Henry. Don't even get me started on the Hogan's Heroes Nazis and the inexplicable buffoonery of popular supporting characters like Marcus and Sallah. Last Crusade is still entertaining, but it could have been a lot better picture.

TOD on the other hand, has some great action set pieces, interesting locals, and a sense of geniune danger. Ford is still great as Indy (though I think his performance was stronger in Raiders) and Spielberg gets a typically good youth performance from Ke Huy Quan. Unfortunately, the screeching Willie, and the poorly written romance just don't work, and there is a tendency toward campiness, especially with the villains. Still, you have to respect the fact that they tried something different, even if the end result was not completely successful.

I also wanted to comment on what you said about Spielberg denouncing the film and Pauline Kael's review. Spielberg has never said that TOD was bad, merely that he regreted the violence in what were supposed to be family oriented action films. Remember, Spielberg didn't have his children until a few years after TOD, and this probably changed his thinking about the heart snatching scenes, and other intense subject matter. The violence and the controversy over the rating system also are reasons that TOD received, in your words, "a bad rap" and Spielberg and Lucas were put on the defensive by just about everyone. As for Pauline Kael, there is no doubt she is a brilliant critic, who completely changed the way films were analyized and evaluated in the U.S., but like any other critic she has her weaknesses and biases. I noticed that late in her career she would often seem to praise pictures just to go against the prevailing critical tide, which may be the case with TOD. She hated Raiders because of the unremitting action, yet she liked TOD, which probably had more constant action and less plot time. Never made any sense to me and shows, I think, her hypocrasy toward the films. Perhaps Kael preferred TOD because she wasn't a big fan of the Trilogy and this movie was the least like the others. I never thought she liked the movie for the reasons that Andrea or other real fans did, which seems to be that it was a variation of Indy within a sometimes confining story parameter. She seemed to like it because, if I remember correctly, it reminded her of 40's screwball comedies and not because of the action adventure and daring associated with the Indy movies. In fact, Kael doesn't really like the films of Lucas and she is ambivalent about Spielberg. Like many critics she thinks these films are aimed at adolesant male fantasies and have destroyed American movies by dumbing them down. Kael yearns for the grittier pictures of Altman, Scorsese, and Coppola, rather than the fantasy adventure films of Lucas and Spielberg. I just don't trust Kael's opinion when it comes to this type of film.

Sorry for rambling on.

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