It only took twenty-four years, but at long last I got around to watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
from start to finish. It's a strange thing to say, I suppose. Way back when the movie first came out, my parents offered to take me to it (where none of us had thought about going to see Return of the Jedi
the year before), but I remember having already seen the articles in the newspaper about it being "too violent" and raising a fuss about that... although that didn't stop me from learning about the movie "second-hand," via the assorted novelizations, comics, and official magazines. It seemed interesting enough, and yet I never quite got around to seeing it on videotape... in the end, it seemed to be just something "not" done. When I had the chance to augment my family's taped-off-TV versions with widescreen videocassettes, I only bought Raiders of the Lost Ark
and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade;
when the movies were released on DVD as a boxed set, I got the set as a Christmas present and yet kept stewing over a contemptuous comment in the newspaper's video guide about how "most people" would "surely" just watch the middle movie once if at all to reassure themselves of their own
contempt... and still didn't watch the movie. (Still, I do remember every so often that there are those whose interest in the franchise begins and ends with Raiders of the Lost Ark
After Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
rolled around (and I found that I had liked it),
though, the thought that it surely wouldn't hurt
me to watch that last, unseen adventure began to creep up on me. In fact, it seemed to take less of an effort of will to load the disc into my DVD player and start it than it had "reintroducing" myself to The Phantom Menace
after I at last found some like-minded positive Star Wars fans... but, in a sense, the reaction is the same, of thinking that I really shouldn't have let myself be influenced by the opinions of others for so long. I could understand how some could think it "just" an entertaining adventure, perhaps even wonder if the movie felt a little slow in between splashing down in India and entering the Temple of Doom itself... but it did seem to me that people would have to really work at it to find reasons to dislike the whole thing. Of course, some people seem quite intent on doing that sort of thing...
I'm not very fond of many kinds of insects, so I had wondered beforehand just how I would take this particular "nasty animals" scene in the Indiana Jones series. I seemed to be fine watching it, though, although I did
have the feeling that I still wouldn't want to live
anything like it myself. A few moments did surprise me mostly because they were a little more complicated in the novelization. However, it's possible that the movie's knock-down, drag-out fight was a bit more entertaining to me than I had thought it might, probably because I hadn't quite realised that Indy's opponent had already featured as a prominent "heavy" in the movie. One thought not quite dwelling on the movie itself did impress itself on me, though. The optical compositing special effects did seem a little "obvious," and having remembered that the Indiana Jones movies had been cleaned up for their DVD release, I felt just a little more confident that "Vintage Editions
" of the Star Wars movies would have looked "obvious" in the same way even if they'd been restored in the same fashion...