“Raiders Of The Lost Ark” was an instant classic, but the follow up, “The Temple Of Doom”, was to me, a let down. I think the main problem is that the style and sense of joyous adventure in the first film is replaced by a dark and murky story as well as more violence and moments of queasiness. Also I found that the imagination of the filmmakers seemed to be ahead of what visual effects at the time could do. But it does have Harrison Ford in another strong turn as Dr. Jones.
The story this time involves Dr. Jones, asked to find a sacred stone for a desolate village in India. From there he stumbles across a religious cult that uses child slavery, and indulges in ritual human sacrifice. At one point we are treated to a ceremony where a human heart is extracted from a man’s chest. Before this we get a nice dinner where the guests eat some of the most disgusting foods I have ever seen.
Spielberg’s direction doesn’t feel as free as it did in the first film. Here he seems forced, as if George Lucas had his children kidnapped, and his ransom was for Steven to do this movie. This looks more like a straight forward action thriller then a stylish adventure film.
For me, this film just didn’t work. It has moments that I liked, as when Jones finds himself in a room with spiked walls, that is closing in on him. That is a classic scenario that Indiana seems to always find himself in. Most everything else does not.