Films I Hate – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Steven Spielberg, 1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
There are a few films that I either can’t finish or really resent having done so. I got to the end of the recently watched second Hobbit film by a mixture of determination and a sense of having invested so much time already that it felt like a wasted investment not to. Titanic was on a list of ‘best’ films, and laden with Oscars, so I wanted to know what the deal was. The deal, it transpires, is a good beginning and end and an interminable middle section in which decent actors flounder with atrocious and utterly implausible dialogue, with special effects substituting for plot. Both of those had the dual problems of being both terrible and very long, but still I finished them.

The Goonies was a film that several people told me was ‘a Classic’, only for me to discover that their use of the word was remarkably loose, and encompassed unsympathetic characters running around, and bad special effects speeded up for ‘comic’ effect, reminiscent of cheap and nasty Saturday morning children’s TV. I barely enjoyed it for a moment, but still I watched it out.

This brings me to tonight’s attempted watch, which resembled the last mentioned film in its horribly childish outlook. I thoroughly enjoyed Raiders of the Lost Ark and loved The Last Crusade, but I just loathed this one. The opening action sequence in Shanghai was ok, though it dragged on a bit, but when Indy and his unbelievably irritating companions reached India, I lost patience. Characters (and it’s me who’s stretching the word here) I didn’t like explained the plot in strained dialogue so we could get to the big action sequence without either the writers or us having to think at all (both the other films manage to move the plot with a minimum of exposition-as-dialogue). Then there’s an unfunny comedy section to set up the final push to the extended action, so clumsily handled that I would have been happier to see the heroes die than have the scenes continue.

Liberal use of fast-forward wasn’t enough, and I admitted defeat; I wasn’t going to finish this one. I abandoned with about half an hour run-time left, and I’m going to try to forget that I ever watched any of it. If Crystal Skull is truly worse than this, as reputed, it must be a remarkably terrible movie.


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