Monday, June 20, 2011

"Hey, Lady, You Call Him Doctor Jones!"

It's been awhile since I wrote about a movie, so I thought I'd share with you some thoughts on Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Now, this summer marks the 30th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is a perfectly wonderful installation in the series. However, because some of my earliest cinematic memories revolve around Temple of Doom, I've chosen to focus on that title.

Truth: This movie used to scare the hell out of me.

 This dude is fucking terrifying.

But, being young, I didn't want to admit this to my parents, lest they should take away my movie privileges. (The Indiana Jones series was a regular feature at our house, and I just confessed to my mother last year.) The fact is, I was totally, completely enamored of Willie Scott, the American singer who tags along with Indy on his trek to Pankot Palace. Because, really, she totally stole the show, by which I mean the opening sequence.

There are so many visually awesome things about the first ten or so minutes of the film. There's a deco club in Shanghai, an American girl done up in an Asia-by-way-of-Classic-Hollywood gown (red and gold dress, mandarin collar), the Busby Berkeley dance sequence featuring an impossible kick line, an enormous diamond, a flaming rack of barbecue, balloons falling from the ceiling as panic ensues, and one of the greatest escapes in movie history.

But let's get back to that dance sequence. Kate Capshaw, the actress who played Willie, actually learned how to sing "Anything Goes" in Mandarin Chinese just for the film. And she runs around with her flowing scarves and her red gloves, and then these girls are tap dancing in silver outfits, and it is just such good, cheesy fun, particularly for those of us who swoon over classic musicals and dance numbers. To this day, I get excited when the movie starts because I know--I just know--I'm going to enjoy what unfolds. 

Sure, the film has its problems. I won't get into them here, although I will say that the racism is obvious and the lack of regard for females is troubling, and I'm honestly surprised I never had nightmares about the incredibly violent bit in the middle. But there's also some phenomenal music (seriously, this is one of my favorite film scores EVER). Oh, and then there's this:

Need I say more?


PS And did I mention the awesome reference to Obi-Wan Kenobi? Keep an eye out for it next time you watch!

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