Chris’s favorite movie scenes: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

When it came out in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was a bit divisive. A decidely different Indiana Jones movie, while it still featured the character of Indiana Jones and breathtaking actions, it took a somewhat different tone that was somewhat a bit more camp and yet much darker at the same time. It also, unusually, was a prequel, set one year before the events in Raiders. Perhaps most controversial was the added violence and gore-while “Raiders” was no slouch in the gore department-with villains skewered, shot, ran over and melted-Temple of Doom took it a step further with brutal scenes of torture and of course, the famous heart-grab.

Then of course, there’s the opening:

Anything Goes!

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The film opens with a Mandarin langauge singing of “Anything Goes” at a Nightclub sung by Willie Scott, whose enterance even obscrubes Indy’s name for a bit, probably because the name is fairly well known and stuck in pop culture already. The song’s nice of course, and sort of era-appropriate considering the film’s set in the 30’s. One thing I’ve always kind of noticed is that Willie visibly slips and frowns for a second before regaining her composure. I’m wondering, was this intentional on behalf of Spielberg-Willie is of course somewhat clumsy later on-or is it an actual blooper that made the cut?

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Of course soon the action begins. Indy meets with gangster Lao Che, who Indy wants to trade some ancient Imperial ashes for a priceless diamond (The Young Indiana Jones series and a few non-movie sources apparently reveals that like the Cross of Coronado in TLC, the diamond-the Peacock’s eye -is one treasure Indy’s been seeking since his youth).

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However, Lao would rather keep both the diamond and ashes, and despite Indy’s threats to Willie, poisons the archaeologist. What soon follows is a free for all, with Indy literally skewering one of Lao Che’s sons, and with a massive free-for-all with everybody scrambling around, and another presentation of “Anything Goes” starting in the middle of it for no apparent reason (Maybe they thought the chaos was part of the show?) Plus you’ve got Willie trying to get the diamond and Indy trying to get the poison antidote, and he’s kind of just flailing about with half of his wits.

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Noticing that Willie has the antidote, he quickly uses the gong as a massive shield against the machine gun fire of Lao’s surviving son. Really nice sound effects work, I’m assuming by Brett Burtt.

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As the scene ends with Indy crashing into Short Round’s car (which of course leads to another action scene, we learn the name of the nightclub….)

 

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Star Wars reference!

Elephant Ride

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Agreeing to take a look at Pankot Palace for the villagers-and interested in it’s link to the Sankara stones, Indy agrees to help them, taking along Short Round and a reluctant Willie. Although this is a fairly short scene, I really liked the great version of Short Round’s music. Depending on what you think of the character itself, the theme is one of my favorite John Williams compositions.

Fortune and Glory

A pretty cool scene, as after the ceremony concludes, Indy whips across the Temple to get the Sankara stones, with some nice choral music perfectly capturing Indy’s awe.

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There’s also a brief funny moment as Indy notices the snake  on that statue but realises it’s just a fake rather quickly (Does seem to move a bit but I think that’s just part of the Temple mechanism).

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However, Indy hears screams in the next chamber over, where he discover the Thugee mine, using the children of the impoverished town from earlier as slave labor. However, as Indy hurls a rock in disgust at the chief Thugee guard, he also alarms the whole temple, resulting in the characters getting captured.

 

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One thing about this scene, you might notice that Willie seems to escape the Thugees by running back towards the caverns. In a deleted scene, she actually makes it back to the palace, where she then tries to warn Captain Blumburtt, but is instead captured by Chatter Lal (Who she didn’t know was part of the cult) and possibly the possessed Indy as well who assure Blumburtt everything’s hunky-dory and Willie’s just freaking out for some reason. It explains why Lal is very eager to silence her in the next scene.

 

“Right.All of us.”

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Although the mine cart chase which follows this scene is often said to be the film’s signature set piece, but I’ve always preferred the scene before it-more action, that fantastic music, Indy’s smile as he helps the kids escape by unlocking their chains, a fight with Pat Roach again (with him once again facing a grisly death) a lot of great uses of Raiders March as well (as well as the film’s other motifs), plenty of whip swinging, and less slightly dodgy miniatures and blue-screen work. Plus Indy’s bad ass pose here looks like it definitely inspired the teaser poster (or vice versa).

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The highlight here is Indy facing the chief Thugee guard. Ford is once again fighting Pat Roach again(Roach played the mechanic in “Raiders” when Indy unsuccessfully tries to commandeer the Flying wing plane, as well as the Sherpa who doesn’t like Toht’s command to “shoot them both”…and is also well known as General Kael in Willow). The fight also looks somewhat more painful…not only is Indy getting hit pretty rough here-such as this shot:

 

But there’s also the possessed Maharaja at the same time stabbing his doll at the same time. Pretty brutal. Thankfully, Short Round manages to knock him out of it and Indy gets some punches in.

 

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“It’s not the years, but the mileage” indeed…

Thankfully, Short Round manages to knock him out of it and Indy gets some punches in (with the help of a saw and two buckets), to the tune of the Raider’s march almost synched to them.

 

Funny thing is, it actually looks like Indy tries to briefly help the guy from getting crushed-He seems to be pleading for his life, and it’s possible that like the Maharaja and (briefly) Indy, he was simply under the “Black sleep of the Kali Ma”.

 

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Chris’s favorite movie scenes-Raiders of the Lost Ark

Same as the “Star Wars” ones, here’s my thoughts on my favorite scenes from the movies.

 

The Idol/The Boulder

 

Up to this point in the movie, Indiana Jones has pretty much been portrayed as highly component and badass; sort of supporting the feeling that some Indiana Jones fans have that the last two films were too ‘soft’ with the character of Indy. However, this scene pretty much proves the opposite-while Indy is of course a professional, he does occasionally make clumsy mistakes. Misjudging the weight of his sandbag to replace the golden idol, he triggers a series of events that sets off pretty much every trap in the place, puts his trust in the wrong place with Satipo, mistimes a jump and the support of a weed; and to add further insult, a massive boulder then starts to hurtle toward him as well!

 

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Although he’s further humiliated by Bellog who steals the idol and then sets the Havitos on him, Indy is able to make it to the plane, but is extremely agitated when he learns there’s a Snake in his seat. Jock tells him to ‘grow a little backbone’. It’s an interesting take-down of the character, and sort of defines the series’s approach between action and comedy, as well as despite Indy being kind of cool and all, he’s also prone to embarrassing mistakes-and of course his iconic phobia.

Explaining the Ark

This scene is pretty much a great deal of exposition, setting the main plot in motion, but it also reveals Indy being somewhat giddy at the thought of the discovery of the Ark, and gives the Army intel men a sort of enthusiastic school lecture on the Ark and the Staff of Ra

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but what also find striking about this scene is that Indy’s friend, Marcus, actually comes across as somewhat ominous and creepy as he describes Tanis’s sandstorm and later, the powers of the Ark, even unsettling the Army guys.

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And then of course it also introduces’ the film’s haunting ark theme as well, when Indy opens the huge illustrated bible.

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Two interesting “Star Wars” connections here as well (apart from Harrison, of course). William Hootkins, who plays one of the G-men, is also known as ill-fated pilot Porkins in the original Star Wars (Hootkins played a variety of roles in the 70’s and 80s in genre films such as “Flash Gordon” and the first “Batman”.)

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And the bible illustration? By Ralph Mcquarrie, one of the most prominent concept designers of Star Wars.

The original rendering for the bible page drawn by Ralph McQuarrie

 

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Map Room at Dawn

With the proper instructions of the Medallion, Indy lowers himself into the map room at Tanis (somewhat vandalized by the Germans who have written on the ‘false’ Well of the souls) and quickly assembles the staff of Ra and using the proper slot. The music of the ark keeps building up, and there’s a nice choral moment when Indy realizes it’s almost to the right time of day.

 

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The way Indy is framed and shot in here is pretty cool, sort of looking a bit Lawrence of Arabia or some figure out of a Cecille D Mille Biblical epic in robes here. The “map room” music is particularity incredible as the sunlight runs across the miniature city.

There’s some slight goofiness with Sallah drawn away from the site and having to quickly improvise an alternate escape for Indy, but that’s no big deal really.

The music swells and Indy’s look of wonder is great as the Ark’s beam reveals the Well of the Soul’s true location.

 

“I’m Making this up as I go!”

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The truck chase is really the film’s last major action sequence, and it’s actually about thirty minutes or so before the film’s actual ending. The line above kind of goes with my point above about Indy not being quite as sure of himself as he appears to be in the film’s opening few minutes…he’s mainly just improvising a lot of this.

The scene of Indy boarding the truck by jumping from the horse is so iconic (and owes a bit to some older films like Zorro) that it was replicated 8 years down the line in “Last Crusade” with a younger Indy and a circus train.

 

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What follows is an interesting chain of events, as Indy commandeers the truck, uses it to bump some other bad guys off the road (and some unfortunate workers too) gets shot a bit, and then faces off against one last German who throws him through the hood….

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with Indy holding on to a very unstable hood ornament and grille for dear life….

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and then after that begins to fall apart, uses his whip to anchor himself to the truck, in a scene that was probably really rough for the stunt guy….

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…finally managing to kick the other guy out, who also attempts to hold on to the grille, but Indy mangled the thing so badly he quickly loses his grip. After shoving Belloq/Tot/Dietrich’s car off the road, Indy makes a clean getaway thanks to Sallah’s friends.

“I’ve found him.”

Where?”

“There!”

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Although it’s a short scene, of Indy boarding the U-boat to salutes and cheers from the Bantu Wind crew, I’ve always like the triumphant and patriotic sounding version of the Raiders march that plays here. How he manages to stay afloat when the sub descends unfortunately is left out of the film. Here’s a bit of trivia on that…

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(He doesn’t board it, although one of the boat crew does have a resemblance to Ford, but more of a 90’s era, clean shaven Ford)

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We clearly see Indy wet and looking for dry, incognito clothes when they reach the base, so it’s pretty obvious he was above. Here’s how though.

Both production photos and the comics adaptations reveal that Indy tied his whip to the periscope.

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Indiana Jones V-What to do with Ford?

The Man with the hat will be back. But this time, will it work out?

In 2012, in addition to getting the rights to Lucasfilm’s super-popular “Star Wars” series, Disney also acquired to equally iconic, if slightly less popular, Indiana Jones series, which featured four films to date with Harrison Ford as the adventurer/archaeologist with a fear of Snakes. Now, a fifth film is on the way for a July 10 2020 release date (although initial reports around this time last year gave a 2019 release date), with Spielberg back in the director’s chair and Ford once again with the hat and whip.

The original trilogy of films was well-regarded, with “Raiders” at the top. Temple of Doom was somewhat criticized for it’s heavier emphasis on action and chases rather than plot and drama, as well as it’s controversial subject matter and gore, but “Last Crusade” is generally considered near “Raiders” levels of popularity, even if some argue that it was the beginning of the franchise choosing more on slapstick humor and a more toned-down version of Jones.

In 2008, it was felt this kind of reached it’s nadir with “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull”, which brought Ford as Indy back (In a similar fashion to how aging action stars Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Bruce Willis also revived their famous characters around that time). Plus Ford had aged nearly twenty years, and we didn’t get any of the fantastic stunts or sequences from the other movies. While Indy gets a few good fist-fights in, the film’s two main chase sequences-the bicycle chase and the jungle chase-are mainly headlined by Shia Lebouf, with the first chase pretty much being the inverse of Indy’s escape from Castle Bruntwald in Last Crusade, and the jungle chase mostly focusing on Shia’s sword fighting and his monkey-swinging, with Indy not doing too much except driving and switching vehicles a few times. They seemed to be grooming Lebouf to take over the Jones mantle, although stopping short of him putting the hat on at film’s end.

The film also dealt with a few loose ends with Raiders of the Lost Ark, namely the hanger where the Ark was stored (Area 51, in an attempt to tie into the whole “aliens” aspect of the plot) and Indy’s relationship with Marion, which was actually intended to be further developed in the other films but didn’t materialize. Turns out it produced his son Mutt. Indy at the end of the movie makes up for it and marries Marion, so he kind of gets a happy ending after all. But overall, it’s agreed by fans that Indy’s last adventure was a poor entry in the series, not only for it’s humor and light tone but also due to it’s somewhat less mystical theme of Alien skulls and of course, such absurdities as Indy surviving a nuclear blast-lead-lined fridge or not.

It’s often been speculated that a lot of the absurdities could be blamed on George Lucas’s involvement as producer, especially since Lucas has recently finished his Star Wars prequels, which were of course also heavily-maligned by fans of the series; and also that Lucas’s insistence on adding aliens to the story was one of the major stumbling blocks in getting the script ready. With Spielberg still making quality films-although somewhat more dramatic ones than the escapist fare he was more famous for-and Ford not exactly at the height of his career but in still fairly good shape-Lucas was kind of the weakest link here.

I think it’s a bit telling that Harrison’s performance as Han Solo in the Lucasless “The Force Awakens”-a character he nearly really enjoyed as much as Indiana Jones-is much better than his reprisal of Indiana.

So perhaps, Disney, Spielberg and Ford can make up for the bad taste of “Kingdom” with a stronger film, as “Force Awakens” proved (well, to me, at least). There are a few problems though. Han Solo was never as physical as Indiana Jones, and Ford is nearing his 80’s, and will be 78 when the film is set to debut in 2020. Given that he was limited physically in 2008 (At age 66) in Crystal Skull, I can’t see the film-which will be released over a dozen years later-being quite as thrilling. Even with stunt doubles, CGI etc…..a 79 year old doing sometime like this:

Is stretching disbelief quite a bit…. (There’s even a few jokes in “Kingdom” about Indy’s age….”Not as easy as it used to be” “Damn, I thought that was closer” etc.)and then, there’s of course Mutt. The film’s supposed to take place after IJ5, so I wonder if Indy’s new family will be included somehow. If so, would there be a situation like I described earlier with Mutt doing most of the action? Not necessarily played by Shia Lebouf (Lebouf’s been kind of doing his own kind of strange performance art thing lately, and his friendship with Spielberg that led to him getting cast in the first place is pretty much nonexistent now) but I can see a similar problem arising.

Finally, one might ask, why not go younger, recast him in films set before, or around the other films? Well, for one Harrison Ford is largely synonymous with Indiana Jones, and has stuck by the role for nearly forty years. Even for a film series where the lead is replaced fairly early on-such as Bond-there’s still people who see Connery as the one true, James Bond despite him being only really about 9 years in the 55-year, 25 film, 6-actor series.

And technically, it’s been done.

While the River Phoenix prologue to Last Crusade was essential to that film’s plot, the Young Indiana Jones series that followed-although it had it’s good points-was largely a ratings failure (Although it did get a bit of a reference in Crystal Skull). So there might be a bit of some reluctance to continue without Ford.

Although, there were rumors that Chris Pratt-star of Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy-would fit well in a recasting. He’s kind of got the look and snark of a young Ford.

So we’ll see what happens with this film. It’s still in the early stages, and might even get pushed back further (Which is also an issue for Ford, probably.)

The Indiana Jones/James Bond connection

In 1977, George Lucas was on vacation in Hawaii with his friend, Steven Spielberg. Lucas had just come off the massive (and for him, unanticipated) success of Star Wars, while Spielberg was putting the finishing touches on his own iconic sci-fi film, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. Spielberg shared that he was considering directing a James Bond film (The tenth film, Roger Moore’s The Spy Who Loved Me, opened later that Summer as well). However, Lucas had another idea in mind.

Spielberg, Lucas, Ford and Capshaw on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Spielberg would later marry Capshaw in 1991.

Drawing from the same pulp roots of Star Wars, Indiana Jones of course became a four (and soon, fifth) film series featuring the adventures of a tenured archaeologist who searches for rare artifacts-sometimes with supernatural elements. While this might seem quite different from a British government agent, there’s still a lot of Bond in Indy’s DNA-including an actual Bond.

Both “Raiders” and “Temple” start with an adventure in progress, only partially related to the current adventure (Crusade has a flashback, and Indy 4’s opening sequence is related to the plot of the whole film)-something the Bond films likewise do with their ‘teasers’, some of which have something to do with the rest of the movie , some that don’t (Like for instance the Aerostar jet sequence from Octopussy,) or some in the middle. In “Raiders” we see this with Indy searching for a Hovito idol, which he is forced to surrender to rival Belloq. Although, in both cases, while Bond usually completes the mission in the teaser with success (with a few exceptions), Indy badly bungles in both cases, forced to make a run for it from the Hovitos, and in “Doom’s” case, he unwittingly is poisoned and escapes onboard a cargo plane owned by the bad guy. Oops.

In addition, Indy’s white tuxedo suit at the beginning of “Temple of Doom” is nearly identical to Sean Connery’s Bond in the opening sequence of Goldfinger.

  

Daniel Craig would later wear a similar suit in SPECTRE.

As for similarities in the plots, both film series of course utilize a lot of exotic locations, although those set in Indiana Jones hark back to the 30’s (and in Crystal Skull, the 50s), where Bond is always present day. It’s worth noting in the first Indiana Jones film, that like Bond, Indy is given an assignment by the government to recover the Ark, so in a sense, he’s their agent.

There’s also a different female love interest in every movie, with the exception of “Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull” which brought back Marion. Willie, from Temple Of Doom, wasn’t exactly popular with fans; likewise, Elsa from Last Crusade turned out to be a villain and died. So naturally, Indy once again returned to Marion (With whom he found out he had a son, “Mutt” Williams, AKA Henry Jones III).

Bond did get married too, but his ended in tragedy (as did that of his CIA friend Felix Leiter) as his wife was shot and killed by SPECTRE in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” . Although Marion’s role is yet to be determined in the fifth film, I don’t think they’ll go that dark route.

Then of course, we’ve got the big one-Sean Connery was cast as Indiana Jones’s father Henry Jones (Indiana’s real name is actually Henry Jones Jr.) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, a sort of nod by Spielberg and Lucas to their original conversation (Also, Spielberg wanted to direct Connery in his hypothetical Bond film). Although Henry is quite different from Bond in pretty much every way, there’s a bit of a hint of his prowess with women.

Game retrospective-The Uncharted series-the Basics (Some spoilers).

The Uncharted series has been one of gaming’s many milestones for the past decade. The exclusive to Sony Playstation (and developed by “Last of Us” developers Naughty Dog) series follows the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. Like the “Indiana Jones” series, the focus is on Nathan’s adventures seeking lost treasure, but also-on occasion- discovering the supernatural forces and secrets behind that treasure. There are also ancient puzzles to unlock, and several booby traps to either avoid, or run from. However, unlike Jones, there’s a few differences-Nathan’s not exactly a tenured Doctor of Archaeology, so his adventures are a slight more ‘grey’ on the moral scale (He’s more of a sort of ‘robin hood’ type from a moral standpoint). The games-although dealing with ancient treasures-are not set in the 1930s, like Indiana Jones, but in the modern day. Drake also has a lot of witty one-liners, some of which are groaners.

Nathan Drake in Uncharted 1.

Drake in Uncharted 4.

Nate’s frequent partner on his exploits is Victor “Sully” Sullivan, an ex-navy pilot. Victor was Nate’s main mentor and friend, and also a father figure of sorts, since Nate’s mother had died and his father left him and his brother in an orphanage. Nate’s had to bail Sully out of a few bad deals here and there, and also Sully’s middle age makes him sometimes a bit too old for his friend’s adventuring, especially when things get a bit too dangerous (For instance, he sits a large part of the second game out, and is sometimes bothered by Nate’s recklessness in Uncharted 3 and 4).

Sully

Elena

Elena Fisher is a reporter and very capable adventurer herself, who initially intends to cover Nate’s adventures her her program, but eventually gets caught up in his adventures herself. She ultimately becomes his romantic interest and in the last two games, wife, although there’s some bumps in that relationship due to Nate’s somewhat reckless nature and trying to keep her out of danger.

Chloe

There’s also a second romantic interest in Uncharted 2, the somewhat more uninhibited, mercenary and ruthless Chloe Frazier. By the end of that game though, she accepts Nate has more feelings for Elena. Chloe also appears in 3 to help out a bit.

Although the game’s stories largely follow an linear structure (no multiple endings), and the lack of an ‘open world’ environment might seem dated to today’s gamers; (as well as there being ‘quicktime events’-in which one must push buttons in a certain order and amount of time to have the scene progress) there is a great deal of variety in the gameplay: one has to carefully take cover, choose which weapons to use or take from the bad guys, use melee etc. Stealth also can be used in the later games (although not as sophisticated as in say, Last of Us or Metal Gear).

Jumping and climbing is also important-not only for rocks:

But also in the high speed chases where Drake often needs to jump from one vehicle to another really quickly.

Drake is also given a grappling rope in the fourth game, which comes in handy during situations like this:

The puzzles are of course, very important. Although some are complex, Drake/the player is often able to complete them using clues collected during his adventures, and jotted down in his journal.

The journal is also fun to look at just for some scribbling and memento’s Drake has put in there.

The series spans four ‘main’ games. Three on the PS3, and one on the PS4-Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Uncharted 4: A Thieve’s End. There’s also one PSP spin off title, Golden Abyss, and a few novels and comics. All three of the first few games were also remastered and released on PS4 shortly before 4’s debut.

Comics cover

The games have often been praised for their life-life graphics and attention to detail. They utilize the motion capture and voice talents of Nolan North (as Drake) Richard McConagale (As Sully) Emily Rose (As Elena) and Claudia Black (As Chloe) in addition to others.