You know, all my life, I'd been longing to see a film where a guy is pursued by an army of sword-waving Thuggees up the side of a sheer mountain cliff on a rickety old bridge that has been cut in half right over the top of a thundering torrent full of ravenous crocodiles, and also with the forces of the British Raj thundering up the other side of the mountain to rescue him by shooting down the sword-waving Thuggees and not to mention as well the arrow-shooting Thuggees on the opposite cliff, but only if that guy is being attacked from right above him by a powerful priest of Kali who is attempting to rip his heart out by means of an eldritch magical spell uttered in an ancient Indian dialect. Just for the novelty value.
Well tonight, I realised that I'd already seen that film. And loved it; it had long been one of my favourite films as a kid: it was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Only tonight I couldn't really see the point of all that sword-waving-arrow-firing-spell-chanting-hungry-crocodilian activity. It really did seem like a lot of superfluous detail at once. Get a camera, shoot an action movie, and confront a hero with a sword-waving enemy: there you've got danger, thrills, terror, and adventure, in one handy shot. Then confront that hero with a hundred sword-waving enemies, and you don't have more danger, thrills, terror, and adventure: you compound the ridiculousness without increasing the enjoyment.
And the whole last quarter of Temple of Doom is like that, concluding with a chase scene that is not only incredible, but interminable. What was Spielberg thinking?
It's not all bad though. I still love the lurid, fabulous, and gorgeous scene-setting that leads up to the proto-comic-book chase scene. There is a great set piece right at the start of the film, with a Cole Porter song being sung in a combination of Chinese, French, and English, and Chinese dancers. The central idea - of a kind of descent into, and escape from, hell - is strong. The banquet scene (with live snakes being devoured by gigantic turbaned guards, and grotesque, grilled, gargantuan beetles, and chilled monkey brains) still works (I think it's that scene that really stuck in my memory from my childhood, a kind of Babette's feast for little-boys-who-like-eating.)
Yes, but were my snorts ripped? Were my buckles swashed? Were my spills chilled and thrilled? Oh, all right then, yes. I just wish the film had been shorter. Only half an hour or so.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2015 (106)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- Deadlines? I spit on deadlines!
- Ignoring the behemothian beam in my own ocular cav...
- Working-class interlude
- Prepare to enter the temple of poorly-thought-out ...
- Issue two!
- They'll be big twits, too
- Wonders of Australian geography!
- Let's have a little torque
- In memory of the unremembered
- Word word word word word word picture
- Train trip haiku
- Never underestimate misunderestimation
- If people were like cats
- Thoughts after attending the book launch of Miscel...
- On the relephance of elephants
- The day the day off took the day off
- I do like a good fnargle
- Art criticism
- Water way to run a station
- ▼ April (23)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)