Movie Review 影評 – Indiana Jones and the temple of doom 《印第安納鍾斯與魔宮傳奇》 – 2 out of 6

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆
評分: ★★☆☆☆☆

Long before ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,’ Spielberg showed the world that he should never direct a sequel with ‘Temple of Doom.’

在《侏儸紀公園2:失落的世界》和《印第安納鍾斯和水晶骷髏王國》出現之先,史提芬 •史匹堡就證明了他根本不應該導演《魔宮傳奇》。

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Subscene.com

Before 1984 when he directed ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,’ Steven Spielberg was already one of the greatest directors of his time. Just one film such as ‘Jaws,’ ‘Close Encounters of a Third Kind’ or ‘E.T.’ would cement most directors as one of the all time greats, but Spielberg had made all of them. And then he made ‘Temple of Doom’ a movie which showed that even the American master of cinema could do wrong. It’s not like he hadn’t made a flop before. The movie ‘1941’ didn’t exactly set the world on fire. But ‘Temple of Doom,’ the sequel to 1981’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ is a profound disappointment.

The opening takes place in Shanghai, clearly inspired by Sean Connery-era James Bond films, complete with an elaborate opening song playing over the credits before Indiana Jones appears in a white tux bickering back and forth with a Chinese gang leader. It’s great stuff. In the following action sequence, Indiana gets poisoned and tries to grab the antidote while it’s kicked around by panicking bystanders. There’s a fun car chase down Shanghai’s alleyways and markets. And one of the gangsters shoots at Indiana, who cowards behind a rolling steel gong with a Tommy gun.

The whole sequence is exciting, you may understandably miss that the film in this sequence introduces its most contemptuous elements. Meet Willie and Short Round the film’s two main supporting characters. Short Round, an orphaned Chinese kid tagging along on Indy’s adventures, is mostly grating because of his broken English. It does seem out of character for Indy to have a small child tag along on what are almost always life-threatening adventures but over the course of the film they do at least develop some semblance of a bond.

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Sky.com

As for Willie, I wasn’t kidding when I said the intro is a homage to early James Bond-films because its depiction of the ONE woman who has a speaking role in the film may also be the single worst female character in any film. Willie is vain, she shrieks, she’s materialistic to a fault and she’s full of herself. She doesn’t even grow as a character other than of course finally realising that Indiana Jones is a man’s man and she should probably make out with him. In a camping scene, as he tries to tell the myth of the Shankala Stones – this movie’s big McGuffin treasure – her sole role is to scream at wild animals seemingly not aware she’s in the middle of the jungle. The film even veers into some rather ugly misogynistic territory with Indiana Jones insisting on calling her ‘doll’ through the first half of the movie.

Another problem is the film’s villain. The main plot revolves around an ancient cult of Indian Kali worshippers who have kidnapped all of the children from a local village and stolen a ritualistic stone – the aforementioned Shankala stone – with which they hope to dominate the world. That all sounds pretty great on paper. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ had Nazis so it only seems natural to up the ante with occult worshippers who perform human sacrifices by ripping the victim’s heart out. But there really aren’t any characters to represent this evil.

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Fcc.gctnetwork.com

In ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ you had all these amazing villains like Belloq and Major Toht who were evil not just because they were Nazis or in opposition to Indiana, but because they were great characters in their own right. Meanwhile ‘Temple of Doom’s antagonist, Mola Ram, the Kali high priest, barely has any speaking lines and is first introduced almost halfway through the movie. Sure his maniacal laughter is amazing and his mere presence is bone-chilling but he doesn’t have a character.

This also means that the Indian people in the film are presented as being alien. As they are portrayed through everything from voodooism, human sacrifice and blood magic it paints a broader picture of Indians as being ‘savages,’ which is problematic. It reminds me of old Tintin comics where every culture outside of Western Europe was crooked, “exotic” and antagonistic.

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Blueshots.com

These issues of racial insensitivity and misogyny can of course be ignored if you’re just here for the action scenes and the film certainly has those in spades – one particular chase-scene involving minecarts is a series highlight – but they are indicative of a larger problem which is that ‘Temple of Doom’ is simply a poorly written film. Its many attempts at humour fall flat, characters are introduced only to be brushed aside minutes later and the characters who do stick around aren’t particularly engaging.

It never hits a consistent tone either, as it swings wildly from farce comedy to goddamn child slavery and Short Round getting whipped unconscious. Yikes.

Much like Willie, sobbing in a pool of water complaining how awesome her life was back in Shanghai, all I want to do is get the hell away from ‘Temple of Doom’ and just re-watch ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. You should probably do the same.   

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Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Subscene.com

在1984年導演《印第安納鍾斯和魔宮傳奇》(《魔宮傳奇》)之前,史提芬·史匹堡已經證明了他是當時最偉大的導演之一。隨便一套電影例如《大白鯊》、《第三類接觸》或者《E.T.》已經足以奠定偉大導演的地位,而史匹堡則全部包攬了。他所導演的《魔宮傳奇》只是證實了偉大導演也會有犯錯的時候,而且那並不是第一次:電影《1941》並沒有如預想的受歡迎,但《魔宮傳奇》則是讓人咋舌的失望。

電影的開首發生在上海,明顯是被辛康納利時期的占士邦電影所啟發。音樂從開頭一直播放到鍾斯身穿白色禮服出現並與中國黑社會頭目爭吵、暫時這看起來還沒有什麼不妥。在接下來的動作場面,鍾斯被下毒並嘗試在一群慌亂失措的旁人之間尋找解藥。一場有趣的車輛追逐在上海的小巷和市集於焉展開,其中一個黑社會向鍾斯開槍的同時手握衝鋒槍並躲在在滾動的銅鑼後面。

所有場面都很豐富,並不禁讓你忘記了這電影介紹了最被人輕視的角色:衛莉和小滑溜兩個主要的支援角色。小滑溜的設定是一個中國孤兒並在鍾斯的冒險中陪伴在旁。因為他破爛的英語,讓他成為了最不討喜的角色。在這裡,鍾斯的角色設定看起來有點突兀:在他攸關生死的冒險中帶著一個小孩子到處跑 – 不過起碼他們似乎在電影中建立了感情。

而當我說這電影是向占士邦電影致敬的時候, 我並沒有開玩笑,因為衛莉的出現絕對是一個證明:她不只是這不電影裡面唯一一個有對白的女角色,同事可能是其他電影裡面最爛的女角色。衛莉很「嬌弱」,很容易就會尖叫,滿腦子充滿物質並非常自我中心。她的角色甚至不能構成一個實在的角色 – 當然,當她發現鍾斯是男人中的男人的時候,她非常傾向跟鍾斯發生親密的關係。在露營的一幕當中,當鍾斯嘗試述說香格拉之石的神話(電影中最重要的元素!)的時候,她唯一的反應就是向野生動物尖叫並表現驚訝(完全忘記了自己在露營)。當鍾斯在電影頭半段一直戲稱她為「娃娃」的時候,這套電影似乎是在向著「厭惡女性」的方向進發。

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Sky.com

另一個問題是電影中的壞蛋角色。電影的主線圍繞印度濕婆狂熱崇拜者為了侵佔世界綁架了本地村落裡面所有小孩並且偷取了香格拉之石。這個安排聽起來是不錯了:似乎只有《法櫃奇兵》裡面出現的納粹黨,使用人類做獻祭並活省省挖心臟的狂熱崇拜教徒似乎才能與之並視。但是電影裡面並沒有任何一個角色表達到這種邪惡。

在《法櫃奇兵》裡面你可以找到不少充滿深度的壞人例如貝洛克和杜阿諾上校,他們並不只是邪惡而且具有層次;而在《魔宮傳奇》裡面的壞人,也就是濕婆教的大祭司Mola Ram甚至連第一句對白都是在電影過半之後。當然他那瘋狂的笑聲讓人非常印象深刻,但這並不代表他已經是一個塑造圓滿的角色。

與此同時這也代表著電影裡面所有的印度人都是外星人一般奇怪:喜好詛咒,活人獻祭和血的的魔法等,這些都是在描繪他們與野人無異 – 這已經是一個嚴重的問題。這讓我聯想起《丁丁歷險記》漫畫中所有除西方文化以外的文明都是扭曲的、「充滿異國色彩」但同時也是充滿仇恨的這個問題。

Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom (1984), Lucasfilm Ltd. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Assets.neogafllc.netdna-cdn.com

如果你只是為了看動作片段的話,當然種族問題和性別問題都可以被輕輕帶過。其中一場礦場卡車的場景最是精彩 – 當然這同時也表明了《魔宮傳奇》是一套爛電影:很多嘗試幽默的地方都不好笑;所有被介紹的角色在數分鐘以後就毫無用處;在場景中出現的角色甚至連出場的原因都沒有。

這電影甚至連主題都不一致:它從一套鬧/喜劇變為一套孩奴的電影,而小滑溜甚至被打到失去知覺 – 非常糟糕!

衛莉的狀況也相去不遠:在一池冷水裡面哭著抱怨自己以前在上海的生活有多美好。我想做的就是把《魔宮傳奇》關掉然後重看《法櫃奇兵》 – 你也應該跟我做同樣的事情。

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