A statement with which you will all agree: "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is to the Indiana Jones movies as Return of the Jedi is to the Star Wars movies." A statement with which you will not only disagree but will use as a reason to burn me in effigy: "Since Return of the Jedi is hands down the BEST STAR WARS MOVIE EVER, then Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the BEST INDIANA JONES MOVIE EVER." Let the flame wars begin! (You started it, dear readers, with your h8 comments! Don't h8! Don't h8!)
I drew the ire of a nation by defending those goddamn adorable Ewoks and took my lumps like a man, so I'm not afraid to stand up for Short Round (Temple of Doom's one-boy version of the Ewoks!) and the entire sequel. I was 11 when I first saw Temple of Doom, and I hadn't had an experience that great since...well...Return of the Jedi, which was released one year earlier. At 11, there was much to love. The thrilling action sequences (the Shanghai club fight! the mine cart chase! the bridge cut in half!), the scary cult (Mola Ram's big, evil eyes! the sacrifice victim's heart removal!), the dark tone (this was the film that prompted the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating!), and, of course, Jonathan Ke Quan as the adorable sidekick ("You call him Dr. Jones, doll!").
I am now in my 30s, and I suppose I could approach Temple of Doom with a critical eye—one that possesses years of experience as a moviegoer and artist and socially conscious individual. But you know what? I DON'T WANT TO. With this movie and with Jedi, I regress. I see them through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. Try it some time, you old coots!
If I step back, sure, I can recognize that Raiders of the Lost Ark is the finest entry in the series. But that's what you would say if you were 70. Now I'm not one of bash the seniors, but the day my favorite movies start overlapping with my parents?—shoot me, please.