I just watched my first Indiana Jones movie yesterday - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I wasn't the kind of child that enjoyed action flicks... the closest I ever ventured towards the genre was Help! (yeah, being randomly chased around the world is action, too!) and reruns of The Monkees.
All I can say about this movie is that I was terribly disappointed by it. I was already expecting little from it before the play button was pressed: not only was I watching a VHS from 1984, but the movie did come out in 1984, and visual effects were nothing like what we are treated to today. I've also never held George Lucas' work in high esteem, though he is the first to admit that his movies aren't known for having anywhere near engaging dialogue. The character development was extremely shallow.
What most frustrated me about this film was the female lead, Wilhelmina (eww) "Willie" Scott, played by Kate Capshaw. Why did it not surprise me to find that she is currently married to Steven Spielberg, and that this is the film set they met on? All I can say is that I was insulted from the first moment she spoke. She was whiny, bitchy and needy, not to mention incredibly easy. When she's not verbally degrading Dr.Jones ("I'd rather sleep with snakes than with you" - we all know how Indiana hates snakes), she's screaming her head off. Here's the trailer for Temple of Doom -- it gives you a glimpse of her acting prowess:
Sure, women in action films (that is, when they are not a lead character, as in Tomb Raider, or The Mummy) were meant to have roles that amplified the men's heroic actions. Willie truly has no purpose in the film; she is merely a budding actress trying to get her career started by working at an upscale bar (called "Obi-Wan".... get it? oh haha you're so cheeky Mr. Lucas!) in Shanghai who gets tagged along as a hostage by Dr.Jones, whom she nicknames "Indy." As she's taken along for the ride, she only gets worse. Somehow Indiana's clothes fit her perfectly enough that she can parade around in them for several days. At one point, while they are riding elephants through the jungles of India, she pour perfume on the animal... where that bottle came from, I HAVE NO CLUE! She snubs foreign cultures and screams at everything - bugs, snakes, Indy, high speed out-of-control vehicles, human sacrifices - that it totally amazed me that Indy would still want to have sex with her. Never once does she ever paint Indy with praise, with the exception of the last scene in which she smooches his amongst Indian villagers. What's worse is that Short Round, Dr.Jones' sidekick, is never thanked by her either.
It's no wonder that this is the biggest credit (aside from spawning 5 children with Spielberg) to her name. She was shredded in reviews, and the film was banned in India (lucky them). The following is an excerpt of the May 1984 review by Leonard Maltin, in which he gave the film 3 out of 10:
"The leading lady, played by Kate Capshaw, is a silly outmoded, dumbbell stereotype."
If aliens were to find this DVD and base upon it the nature of all human beings, they would find women to be stupid, shrill, powerless and useless (except as sex toys). I'll save for another blog what Indiana Jones teaches us about men.