Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 1984. Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm. Story by George Lucas, Screenplay by Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz. Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe. Produced by Robert Watts. Music by John Williams. Production Design by Elliot Scott. Costume Design by Anthony Powell. Film Editing by Michael Kahn. Academy Awards 1984.
Long considered the worst of the Indiana Jones trilogy, this is still a grand adventure that is fun to watch over and over again. In this installment, Jones agrees to help the residents of a village in India recover their stolen children by helping them find a magic stone that was taken by a mysterious Thuggee cult. This leads Jones to search the villains out in a fantastic, terrifying cave full of all sorts of thrills. Great visual effects, terrific sidekick characters and the lovely Kate Capshaw (who later married her director Steven Spielberg) make for a solid good time. Where it falters is its depiction of foreign culture that is limited and pretty racist; Spielberg is obviously trying to recapture the “exoticism” with which peoples of the Far East were presented in films of the 1930s, but the humourless storytelling that served so well in Raiders Of The Lost Ark is missing here. Harrison Ford is still at the top of his game in the lead role, and audiences will enjoy watching him recreate the role that made him a megastar in 1981. The film’s rather daunting violence might be a problem for some younger viewers (it was the film that created the need for the PG-13 rating), so cautious parents beware.