Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tends to get a bad rap for the most left field of reasons. Left field being the gore and violence that this movie had which didn’t please parents.
Many drink the Kool Aid while others see the positive side of it.
It made roughly the same amount as Raiders of the Lost Ark, but could have made more if the reviews at the time were more positive. It was heavily criticized for its stereotyping and darker elements. People were upset by the violence and the content considering its PG rating at the time.
YouTubers, including Chris Stuckmann, mention that this movie, starring Harrison Ford, is the reason why we have the PG-13 ratings in movies while going into detail about the violence. Parents didn’t expect a bloody mess.
Director Steven Spielberg must have noticed something as Stuckmann and Oliver Harper explains that the director made the recommendation for the rating system following the Temple of Doom.
Harper primarily talks about the after effect from the movie. Stuckmann also adds on with Harper that we don’t see the same kind of action from Spielberg movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom or Jaws. Spielberg changed it up after Temple of Doom with the way he handled violence in notable historic movies like Munich, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List. It wasn’t entertainment anymore for him.
Temple of Doom is, I think a movie that affected Spielberg and the reception to it. The fact that people were very repulsed by its violence, the fact that there was a lot of controversy surrounding its rating. I think it deeply affected him and not in a positive way because his films after that started to take violence very seriously.
It is clear that Stuckmann is a fan based on his journey to watch the movie against his family’s wishes as a child. He shares a story on how he got his hands on the Temple of Doom VHS tape through a friend’s mother that made the assumption that it is a kid’s movie.
Chris Stuckmann, Oliver Harper, Double Toasted, and Nostalgia Critic all explain that the Temple of Doom starts off with a Star Wars type of vibe which makes sense from the works of musical composer John Williams and the storylines of George Lucas.
What also helped the Star Wars vibe is the bar jingle in the beginning which all, but Harper mention, none of which are fans of.
Something that Double Toasted brought up an interesting point and that is that whatever type of action wasn’t in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, it was put into the Temple of Doom after Raiders had too much action and didn’t want to overdo it.
There are two big elephants in the room in which all four YouTubers mention and that is the Short Round character is an asian stereotype and would not fly if the movie was made in 2020. It is not a favored character by half the YouTubers.
While many fans found Short Round to be offensive, one of the members from Double Toasted along with Stuckmann didn’t find him offensive, but found him useful for Indiana.
Double Toasted also brought up that not a lot of people found Willie offensive despite actress Kate Capshaw, who played Willie, put down the character she played in the movie.
She described it and I quote, a dumb screaming blonde. That is how she described her character. I am not even saying it. She was ashamed of playing it afterwards.
While Double Toasted found Willie offensive, it was unanimous that all four YouTubers found her to basically be useless and basically dead weight for the trio.
We have successfully insulted both women and Chinese and we haven’t got to the Indians stereotypes yet.
The other elephant wouldn’t get the a-ok by all four movie YouTubers is the way the movie portrayed Indians, partly with eyeball soup and monkey brains that they eat and feed to Indiana, Short Round and Willie Scott. This is before Indiana discovers a creepy statue covered in severed fingers, a great cutaway into monkey brains and eyeball soup.
What also wasn’t given a free pass by the YouTubers was Indiana, Short Round and Willie escaping the pilotless plane on a raft, mid-air, crashing on the mountains unharmed when in reality would practically be a fly on a windshield. It is very unrealistic and it didn’t get a pass from Stuckmamn, Double Toasted and Nostalgia Critic.
Double Toasted adds a great point that fans possibly didn’t expect violence as Spielberg was coming off E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, close to a 180 from the two movies. While the Kali Ma chant becomes somewhat of a classic, no one expected to watch a man have his heart ripped out of his chest as he dies a fiery death following a cute alien with a lit finger.
In the end, while the Temple of Doom got mixed reviews, it is no different from these four YouTubers, but each one is different and each one explains it in a different way. This movie took a lot of heat from the violence and gore, to the stereotypes, to the pressure of the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark.