Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Doom was one of three movies that came along when I was a youngster that really started to cement my interest in the way films were made. And they were all thanks to movie magazines that came along at just the right time. In 1982 there was one for Blade Runner, in 1983, The Return of the Jedi, and then in 1984, Temple of Doom.
I devoured those images and the information in the articles, learning all the behind-the-scenes things I could, which only made me appreciate the films all the more, and man did I love (and still do love) my Indiana Jones.
Temple of Doom was my first introduction to the idea of a prequel. None of my school friends even cared that this adventure was supposed to have taken place before Raiders, but I found the idea intriguing, and it let the character of Indiana (played by Harrison Ford) be just a little different from the one we encountered in the first film.
It’s 1935 and Indy finds himself on the wrong end of a deal in Shanghai. Forced to flee, and stumble into an all-new adventure, he finds Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), a torch singer with an affinity for screaming, tagging along with him and his young pal, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan).
After a sudden landing in India, they find themselves venturing to a creepy castle in search of fortune and glory in the form of Sankara stones that have been stolen, along with villages of children, by a death cult that worships Kali.
What follows is a bit of a darker adventure for Indy, and also necessitated the creation of the PG-13 rating. There were also some issues with the way the Indians were portrayed, best displayed during the banquet sequence which played more to the gross-out factor than advancing anything in the story.
Reading the magazine I was delighted to learn about the model work, the mattes, the locations, how the rope bridge was constructed (still a great sequence), the effects work, and the fact that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have blink and miss them cameos.
Lucas who came up with film’s original idea, has admitted it’s a darker and more violent movie, being reflective of the divorce he was going through at the time, and while Spielberg wasn’t always happy with the darker tones of the story, he did meet Kate Capshaw, and they’ve been happily married ever since.
This film came out at the beginning of the summer of ’84 which was a huge year for me, and definitely stoked the flames of my love of movies even higher. What a ride!
Each of the films came along at the perfect point in my life, marking changes and new beginnings each and every time, sending me on my own adventures. I will always love these movies.