Throwback Thursday: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The wonderful thing about the movies is the ability to take us away from our daily lives for a short time. The not so wonderful thing about movies is that stereotypes can easily be spread.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984. This chapter of the Indiana Jones narrative takes place in 1935 in India, which was then part of the British Empire. When a mystical stone is taken from a small village, Indy (Harrison Ford) teams up with Wilhelmina “Willie” Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) to find the rock. It has been taken by a secret cult who is driven by death and slavery.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. As an adventure film, it’s fine. Ford is at his finest as the title character. I understand that this is a heightened reality that would never exist in real life. The one thing that stands out to me how extremely annoying Capshaw’s character is. She is whiny, she is needy, and she contributes nothing to the story other than being the obligatory female. I don’t understand how Capshaw and co-screenwriter Gloria Katz could bring this 2D character, who is completely unlikable, to life. I was also struck by the portrayal of the Indian people. I wish this image had been a little close to the truth and less of a caricature. While I appreciate the inclusion of Short Round, it does little to improve my opinion.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.


Flashback Friday: National Treasure (2004)

The idea that our ancestors hid treasure across the world has been a potent idea for generations, sending many on an adventure to find it before someone else does.

The 2004 movie, National Treasure, is based on this concept. Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) comes from a long line of historians and treasure hunters. As a boy, he was told about a treasure that has been hidden since the founding of the United States. According to the legend, there are clues scattered across the country. When his former associate Ian Howe (Sean Bean) betrays him, Ben turns to his partner Riley Poole (Justin Bartha) and a reluctant Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Their goal is to figure out what the clues mean and find whatever it is they are looking for before Ian does.

This is the kind of film that you watch because it is on, but it is merely background noise. I would describe as an almost second rate American version of Indiana Jones. While it is reasonably entertaining, I wouldn’t call it memorable.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Dig Movie Review

From the outside looking it, archeology may appear to be akin to an Indiana Jones movie. But anyone with any amount of knowledge of this subject will tell you otherwise.

The Dig premiered yesterday on Netflix. As World War II rumbles in the distance in 1939, Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) is a self trained and unorthodox archeologist. He has been hired by Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) to excavate her land and see if he can find buried historical treasure. What he discovers will be known as Sutton Hoo, an Anglo-Saxon burial ship rich in previously unknown artefacts. But with war on the horizon and Basil’s expertise questioned, it looks as if the ship and her objects will remain buried.

I wanted to like this movie. The premise seemed interesting and the cast is stellar. It is a BPD (British Period Drama) with a narrative that is unusual for the genre. The problem is that I was bored, whatever promises that were made in the trailer did not come to fruition.

Do I recommend it? No.

The Dig is available for streaming on Netflix.

Flashback Friday-Legends of the Hidden Temple (1993-1995)

TV game shows have existed since the beginning of television. But it takes a unique program to stand out within the genre.

Legends of the Hidden Temple aired on Nickelodeon from 1993-1995 and was hosted by Kirk Fogg. The premise of the show was that there was a fictional Mayan temple filled with gold, jewels, and other treasures. Guarded by Olmec (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), the young contestants were challenged by physical and academic challenges relating to history, geography, and mythology.

As I remember it, Legends of the Hidden Temple was fun to watch. It would have been easy to create another game show that is made up of just physical or academic challenges. But in combining both and adding an Indiana Jones sensibility, this program was able to stand out for the two years that it was on the air.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Flashback Friday-Actor Spotlight-Harrison Ford- Six Days Seven Nights (1998), Air Force One (1997) & Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

Harrison Ford is an American icon. A man’s man, he is known for iconic, rugged, masculine roles that have defined a generation.

The first movie I am going to write about tonight is Six Days, Seven Nights (1998). Robin Monroe (Anne Heche) is a New York journalist who is on vacation with her boyfriend. Not wanting to miss out on a story, she hires Quinn Harris (Harrison Ford) to take her a remote island, which she hopes to be the subject of her next story. Quinn is not too happy, but agrees to take her. Then the plane crashes and Robin and Quinn must find a way to coexist until they are rescued.

This movie straddles the line of romantic comedy and action film. Where some films do not succeed by blending the genres, this movie straddles both genres perfectly. There is almost a Elizabeth Bennet/Fitzwilliam Darcy relationship between Robin and Quinn, which helps to nicely balance the action with the comedy and the traditional Hollywood happy ending.

The second film I am going to write about is Air Force One (1997). ┬áPresident James Marshall (Harrison Ford) is returning from Moscow after making an anti-terrorism speech. Then his plane is taken over by Russian hijackers. They threaten to execute the passengers one by one (including The First Lady and The First Daughter) until their demands are met. But they don’t anticipate that President Marshall is a bad ass who will not go down without a fight.

This movie is an old fashioned, in your face action film. Ford is in his element as an action hero. After 18 years, this film still holds up as a standard bearer for the genre.

And finally, the film that will always be linked to Harrison Ford: Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981). Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has been given the task by the government of find the Lost Ark Of The Covenant. But he is racing against the clock as the Nazis are also seeking this ancient treasure. Can Indy find the ark or will the Nazis beat him to it?

In terms of film franchises and action heroes, Indiana Jones is one of the greats. The film series holds up because the films are well made, entertaining and build upon the previous films instead of rehashing old plot lines.

Do I recommend all three? Absolutely.

%d bloggers like this: