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Steven Spielberg
Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Amrish Puri, Roshan Seth, Philip Stone, Roy Chiao, Jonathan Ke Quan
Writing Credits:
George Lucas, Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz

If adventure has a name ... it must be Indiana Jones.

Follow Indy from one cliffhanger to another in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom ... After barely escaping a raging Shanghai nightclub brawl, Indy crash-lands into the wilds of India where he uncovers a sinister scheme that has enslaved a remote village's children in a fortress-like mine. Indy must save the children and avoid becoming a slave himself to the evil Thuggee cult. Along for the raucous rescue attempt is Indy's pint-sized sidekick, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) as well as a reluctant nightclub songbird, Willie Scott (Kate Capshw). Join Indy as he outwits bloodthirsty villains and experiences the spectacular twists and turns of a thrilling mine car chase in the ultimate roller coaster adventure on Blu-Ray.

Box Office:
$28 million.
Domestic Gross
$179.870 million.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $99.98
Release Date: 9/18/2012

Available Only as Part of the “Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures” 5-Disc Set

• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures) [Blu-Ray] (1984)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 13, 2012)

For those of us who were teens in 1984, I can’t overstate the eagerness with which we ran to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. We kids adored 1981’s classic Raiders of the Lost Ark and simply couldn’t wait to check out the sequel.

I could overstate the disappointment we felt, for most of us really enjoyed Temple. However, few – if any – of us thought it remotely lived up to the joys of Raiders. While an entertaining flick in its own right, Temple didn’t measure up with its amazing predecessor.

A prequel to Raiders, Temple opens in Shanghai circa 1935. Archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) makes a trade with double-dealing Hong Kong gangster Lao Che (Roy Chiao). A ruckus ensues, and Jones has to make a rapid escape from the baddies, aided by his young Asian pal Short Round (Ke Huy Quan). Along the way, cabaret singer Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott (Kate Capshaw) gets forced to come along for the ride. The gangsters’ reach extends to the pilots who fly Indy, Willie and Short Round, and this leads the trio to get stranded somewhere in India.

While there, they learn the curse of a local village. A nasty force has kidnapped their children and brought ruin to their land after authorities stole a sacred stone that protects the area. Indy decides to help them and get to the bottom of the case, partially because the missing token seems to be a priceless artifact.

This leads Indy to the estate of a young maharajah (Raj Singh), the land’s nominal leader. However, Indy soon finds that a wicked cult called the Thuggees really run the realm, and led by the evil priest Mola Ram (Amrish Puri), they’ve enslaved the children to dig for the missing Sankara stones. Indy needs to do what he can to free the kids, save the village, and get out alive himself. Along the way, he has to choose between “fortune and glory” and doing the right thing.

The main creative forces behind the Indiana Jones series – director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas – found themselves in something of a pickle when they went to make Temple, the first sequel to Raiders. Actually, it’s the same challenge that confronts all sequels. Viewers want something that doesn’t just repeat the first movie but also that doesn’t deviate too far from the original’s template.

Temple went for something different and darker than the swashbuckling and reasonably light-hearted Raiders. In fact, they might have made things too rough and sinister. Temple includes some rather intense moments of violence, especially given that children become the focus of so much negativity. Raiders had its scary bits, but they stayed somewhat cartoony in general; sure, it was gross to watch those faces melt at the end, but it wasn’t like we could really take that seriously.

Some might excuse the violence of Temple as being too supernatural to view as part of the real world, and they might be correct. Nonetheless, the sight of a priest who rips a man’s heart from his chest seems pretty shocking, and the scenes in which the Thuggees abuse children are all too real.

I don’t present these issues necessarily because they bother me or I think they’re inappropriate. I mention them because they led to much of the backlash against Temple. In fact, along with the cartoony but occasionally gruesome Gremlins, Temple directly led to the creation of the “PG-13” rating; many felt Temple and Gremlins were too explicit for the fairly innocuous “PG”.

I’ve always liked Temple, but I will acknowledge that it remains my least favorite of the three Indiana Jones flicks from the 1980s. Part of the problem comes from the fact it seems to try a little too hard to differentiate itself from Raiders. It feels like the filmmakers worried so much that they’d just remake the original that they went too far in the other direction.

That means that in place of the gritty and assertive heroine Marion Ravenwood from Raiders, we get the screechy, spoiled and hysterical Willie. Many people don’t care for the character and see her as a step back due to her selfish and whiny personality.

It’s tough to combat those opinions. Granted, Willie becomes proactive on a couple of occasions, and all the anti-Willie detractors ignore how often Indy needs to save Marion in the first flick. Nonetheless, the impression remains, and it’s true that the tough and rough Marion feels like a better romantic match for the pragmatic Indy than does the superficial and silly Willie. I don’t dislike her, but she comes across as pretty annoying at times.

The insertion of Short Round feels somewhat gratuitous and doesn’t serve much purpose. Did Indy really need to become a parental figure just because the film involves enslaved children? No. The Short ROund character remains largely superfluous.

That’s a lot of complaints – what do I actually like about Temple? Well, it does deserve some credit for attempting something different. The filmmakers easily could have gone back to the well and just remade Raiders with some small twists, but Temple feels like its own beast.

I admire the levels of darkness to which they take the flick as well. Spielberg tells an intense story and doesn’t lighten up the story with much fluff. Too many filmmakers would alleviate the tension too frequently, but Spielberg keeps things nasty, which may bother some viewers, but it helps create a sense of a cohesive world.

Spielberg also delivers some great action. Indy goes through many travails and these take him through a variety of situations. From the frantic musical number at the start through the mine chase at the end, Spielberg supplies some good set pieces and makes them pretty darned exciting.

It seemed almost inevitable that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom wouldn’t quite live up to its predecessor; Raiders proved to be a genre-defining classic with no peers. Temple is more erratic and less satisfying, but it generally delivers the goods. The flick provides a consistently dark atmosphere that makes it the least accessible of the 1980s trilogy, but it mostly works and seems like an interesting adventure.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus NA

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. After a slightly rough start, this became a strong visual presentation.

The opening at Club Obi Wan did lead me to feel a little concerned. Although that sequence looked fine, it lacked the clarity and vivacity I expect from Blu-ray. If the remained of Temple stayed on the same level, I’d have rated the transfer as good but not great.

Once the movie left China, though, the visuals improved substantially and gave us an impressive presentation. With only a few mild exceptions, sharpness was terrific. The vast majority of the film came across as accurate and well-defined, with only the lightest softness on display. Jaggies and moiré effects failed to mar the presentation, and I witnessed no edge haloes. I didn’t sense heavy-handed digital noise reduction; the movie retained light grain and kept elements like smoke and mist intact. Print flaws weren’t a factor in this clean transfer.

The setting in India offered a nice mix of hues, and the Blu-ray replicated these well. The colors consistently came across as vivid and vibrant, with no signs of bleeding, noise, or other distortions. Quite a lot of red lighting cropped up, and the disc handled those instances with aplomb. Black levels were deep and rich, and low-light shots appeared clean and appropriately defined. Despite some minor distractions in the film’s opening, I thought highly enough of the presentation to give it an “A-“.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom fared very well. As one might expect, the mix offered a lively and involving experience. It came across as a little less active than the audio for Raiders, but that stemmed from its lowered level of action; a substantial portion of Temple passed without a big sequence, whereas Raiders provided pizzazz more frequently. Even during the quieter bits, though, the film offered a nice sense of place, with cleanly localized elements that melded together well. Music showed good stereo imaging and the effects meshed smoothly.

The surrounds added a good sense of atmosphere, and they kicked into action well during the livelier sequences. The star of the show was the mine car chase toward the end. This used all five speakers well and created a vivid environment. The rear speakers didn’t play a role as consistently active as what I heard in Raiders, but the track seemed a bit smoother and more cohesive, so it worked well.

Audio quality almost never showed its age. Speech was nicely natural and distinctive; with no edginess or issues connected to intelligibility. John Williams’ score remained tight and vibrant, as the music sounded quite well produced and dynamic. Effects showed virtually no signs of distortion, as they were concise and accurate.

Bass response wasn’t quite as impressive as during Raiders, but the film included plenty of deep and firm low-end material. Temple lacked some of the highs heard during Raiders, but it also avoided that flick’s minor issues. That meant Temple earned an identical audio grade of "A-".

How did this Blu-ray compare with the Special Edition DVD from 2008? Audio was richer, smoother and more cohesive, while visuals demonstrated obvious improvements in definition, clarity and color reproduction. In all areas, the Blu-ray gave us a better representation of the film.

Because it comes as part of a five-disc/four-movie collection, almost no extras show up on the Temple platter itself. We get the movie’s original teaser and its full trailer.

Note that I didn’t give this disc a grade for bonus materials because of its place in the “Complete Adventures” package. When I review the “Bonus Features” platter, I’ll offer an overall supplements grade.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom doesn’t compare favorably with its predecessor, but what does? Temple acts as a mildly flawed but generally exciting and entertaining action flick; its main flaw is that it’s not an all-time classic like Raiders. The Blu-ray delivers excellent picture and audio. Temple will never be my favorite Indiana Jones adventure, but I do enjoy it, and I feel that the Blu-ray reproduces it in fine fashion.

Note that as of September 2012, you can purchase Temple solely as part of this “Complete Adventures” set that also includes 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1989’s Last Crusade, 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and a disc with bonus materials.

To rate this film visit the Indiana Jones Collection review of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main