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DVD REVIEW

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom  (1984)

 

Starring: Harrison Ford, Cate Capshaw, Ke Huy Quan

Director: Steven Spielberg

Rating: PG

Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

Release Date: October 21, 2003
Review posted: November 18, 2003

Spoilers: None

 

Reviewed by Dennis Landmann

 

Synopsis

 

After a daring escape from an unmanned airplane, Indiana Jones (Ford) finds himself in rural India where he agrees to look for a village's lost magic stone and the people's children, but in the process encounters the secret and dangerous Thuggee cult.

 

Critique

 

"Nothing shocks me. I'm a scientist." - Indiana Jones

 

I don't dislike Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but I don't love it either. It's just not on par with the other two films. Granted, Doom stands well on its own. It's a completely different story, that is, it's not really an adventure, and takes place in basically one large location. The location works in favor of the film. The story is pretty straightforward, but it's not terribly interesting as a whole. Some aspects of it are intriguing, such as the hidden doorway to the Thuggee's ceremony, the first 20 minutes and the last 30 minutes that provides one hell of an exciting chase. Other than that, there is not a great sense of adventure to the film.

 

Yet Doom also has its strengths. The acting is strong, especially Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw and youngster Ke Huy Quan. Aside from them there aren't any interesting characters or performances. Most of the comedy plays to Capshaw's character and that's fine. Quan's Short Round also has some funny lines, especially his advice to Indiana. Doom requires Ford to be much more versatile than in Raiders or Crusade, because of the implications imposed on the character in the story. Ford handles this pretty well. Steven Spielberg also continues his visual style and timing, creating a beautifully shot film. John Williams adds a transition to the score as well, and it works.

 

Despite its flaws, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is still a good film. Its strengths ultimately outweigh its flaws, but not by a whole lot. Even though the film is my least favorite Indiana Jones installment, I still like it for its main character, action and comedy.

 

The Video

 

"I keep telling you, you listen to me more, you live longer!" - Short Round

 

Paramount presents all three Indiana Jones films in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Gorgeous! The transfer is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of clarity is simply top notch. Hell, darker scenes still carry some grain and whatnot, but the rest of the print quality is top notch. Colors are very vibrant and bright, not to mention very well saturated. Color detail is quite sharp. The transfer accentuates all daylight scenes very nicely.

 

That is, the picture has never been this bright. Looking at the beautiful images shot by director of photography Douglas Slocombe is very refreshing and greatly enhances the viewing experience. Darker scenes also look very good. Sharpness is pretty good. I didn't notice any major print flaws or concerns. All in all, this digitally mastered picture quality is as superior and clear as it's going to get. Did I mention it looks gorgeous?!

 

The Audio

 

"Those aren't big birds, sweetheart! They're giant vampire bats!" - Indiana Jones

 

Paramount presents all three Indiana Jones films in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. Fantastic! Terrific! Okay, to be more specific, this THX-certified, digitally remastered soundtrack offers a great surround sound experience. The soundtrack has been "stereoized" as LucasFilm puts it. In fact, this presentation is the nicest surround sound experience I've had in a while. The soundfield is penetrated by speakers from all sides. Both front channels emit all sounds with a lot of bass and dynamic range. Dialog is clear and easy to understand, except for a few quiet spots. Sound reproduction across the front channels and rear channels are well defined.

 

Rear speakers add a lot of noise to the overall presentation. All the major sound effects, as well as some of the more subtle ones, come alive with a lot of depth. John Williams' epic and classic score is probably the most notable. Yet the sound effects, like the noise of crickets, gunfire, shooting arrows, smashing stones, explosions, and many other incredible sounds, are also very noteworthy as they also carry good bass and range. To sum up this presentation in a nutshell: most excellent sound quality. I had a really great time here.

 

Additional sound options include French and Spanish Dolby Surround dubs.

 

The Extras

 

All of the extras are found on disc 4.

 

You can select to view all the film with optional English, French and Spanish subtitles. The 118-minute feature is organized into thirty-one chapters.

 

Overall

 

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is not great, but it's not bad either. The film's main character doesn't disappoint while the action and comedy are pretty good. Video/audio quality is terrific.

 

>>Continued: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

 

RATINGS SUMMARY

 

THE TEMPLE OF DOOM 8
THE VIDEO 10

THE AUDIO

10

 

VERDICT: MOVIEFREAK.COM's

DVD COLLECTOR'S SERIES

 


 

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