The Temple of Doom

The second movie in the Indiana Jones series is certainly an interesting one, but it brings up a few questions as well. While it was a great movie, I don’t think it was as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark.

First off, the movie starts with the whole “Anything Goes” sequence. While I appreciate the use of the scene to introduce us to Willie as a character in the movie and as an opportunity to get all the initial credits out of the way, the sequence doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the movie. The rest of the scene in the nightclub only advances the plot a little bit, but being the beginning of the movie, my guess would be that it was a great way to ease into the movie, unlike in Raiders where you had spiders and skeletons within the first ten minutes.

Fortunately, we leave the nightclub and head in a car driven by Short Round to the airport and a flight out of Shanghai operated by the same guy we were just dealing with in the nightclub. That leads us towards the main plot of the movie – a crash landing into India, and the search for the stone.

However, there is a major problem – poor special effects. I’ll try to explain it in words, but a video would really help here. Unfortunately, I’ve tried to upload the clip three times now and I’ve had no luck, so here goes 😉

The first problem is that when the plane crashes into the mountain, you see the fireball, but there isn’t much evidence of the plane crashing apart. I know it’s being picky and pedantic, but it’s just not convincing. Then, as they go down the mountain in the snow, the raft has this magic quality of constantly changing colors between bright yellow and dull yellow. Back and forth, and really no purpose to it. Then, you see the raft hit the dirt, but fortunately they thought of throwing some dirt in front of the raft to make it seem like they were on dirt.

However, where that didn’t go too well, the rest of the movie was quite good, especially, as in with Raiders, mixing the adventure and the creep-you-out factor. Particularly when Willie is trying to get the trap room to stop closing in on Indy and Shorty and she has everything crawling around and on her, then having to reach through the bugs and things to hit the lever is sensational and freaky.

Another great “creepy” moment is when they’re presented with the meal in the dining hall. With everything from snakes filled with eels to claimed monkey brains, it’s everything a horror film could have asked for. Lest we forget that there were also the scenes where you have Mola Ram pulling hearts out of people which then spontaneously combusts when the hapless victim hits the molten rock below the platform.

While I could go into a full discussion of child labor, I’ll just leave it at it’s wrong, especially if they’re being chained up in order to do the work.

A couple of questions –
– Since the movie was set in 1935, we know that it’s a prequel to Raiders. In that case, what happened to Short Round and Willie? Did they fall off of the face of the earth?
– When was the auto-inflating plane raft invented? I would have sworn that those were invented after 1935.

All in all, it was a really good movie. It did seem to move a bit slow at times (particularly the opening scene). But like I had said at the outset, I liked Raiders more than this one, but both are definitely on the list of movies you need to watch at least once.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

If you’re like me and haven’t watched this movie before, you need to watch it. You will not be sorry. Honestly, it’s one of those essential movies that you need to watch to have experienced the world. And seriously, you should stop reading and go watch it. I’ll wait for you. 🙂

Having said that, those of us (now that I can include myself in this group) who have seen the movie know why it’s such a great work. Here’s my take on why I think it’s so good.

Mixing of adventure and scare

Ok, so maybe “scare” isn’t the best word for it, but there are definitely some moments that make you tingle. For example, right at the beginning of the movie when Indiana and his Peruvian counterpart are exploring the cave and all of a sudden tarantulas appear on their backs. Like I said the other day, I don’t mind small tiny spiders that don’t do much, but tarantulas give me the creeps! Of course, then the wall comes out with the decomposing skeleton hanging off of it. Which moves. Need I say more about that?

From there you move to the adventure of grabbing the idol and getting it out of the cave, and the escape from the rainforest. That leads into the race to get the Ark and trying to beat the German expedition team (I’m not sure that they were referred to as Nazis in 1936, even though it is three years into Hitler’s rule).

Then, when Indiana finds the Ark’s true location (the Germans having erred on the calculation on the height of the staph), he finds a pit of snakes. Nothing but snakes which are slithering along the floor. He even faces down a (what looks to be) cobra, but they just mention asps in the dialogue. Then Marian falls into the pit, and while leaving, she winds up in a hall of more moving skeletons, including one that has a snake coming out of the mouth. Again, very creepy!

However, it all winds up balancing perfectly as there are only a couple of moments where you want to ball up but the rest of the movie keeps you so engaged that you keep your focus on the movie and nothing else.

Little bits of humor

You could say that all movies have some elements of humor in them, but Spielberg is one of the best to do it. For example, when Indiana is teaching after his quest for the idol, he gets distracted – first by his head teacher, and then by a girl who has put “LOVE YOU” on her eyelids. Even today, that’s a pretty creative way to signal your feeling, and one that is very blunt but would probably land you in hot water for sexual harassment. Then, after Indy gets out of the Well of Souls and gets back to Sallah, he says that he’s going to get the truck. How? Sallah asks. “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.” Simple line, and in the context of the movie, completely accurate, but it’s worthy of a chuckle.

The rock chase

Now, even if you haven’t seen the movie (What are you doing reading down here if that’s the case? I told you to stop reading and watch it! ;)), you are probably familiar with this scene. I had been under the impression that it came towards the end of the movie, but it comes right at the start. It’s still amazing to think that Indiana didn’t get run over by it. Of course, it’s been immortalized as part of the ride at Disneyland, which I took when I was there in 2001. One of the things that they said is that there are infinite combinations of the ride to go on. As it happens, I wound up on the one where you go past a wall of snakes, which do move. Below is a great clip of the ride and the area around it – there are a couple of other videos on Youtube of the ride, but this is the best of the ones I watched.

A couple of questions
– Why did Indiana keep the monkey after he was the cause of the first attack in Cairo? (Of course, not that it was a bad thing considering that it found the “bad” dates)
– What happened to the ship that Sallah had hired to take the Ark, Indiana and Marion to London after the encounter with the U-Boat?

The Movies I’ve Watched

I got to thinking tonight about the movies that I have watched over the last year, and it’s interesting to look at what I’ve actually watched. Some of them I’ve reviewed on the blog, others I haven’t. Some of them are movies that most people have watched, others are ones that were wildly popular in some parts of the world and never made that big of a splash here, and others are just good movies.

This is the list of movies that I’ve watched over the last year or so; if I’ve done a review, I’ll have it linked:

The next movies in my queue for watching however, are BlueThunder (though I suspect I’ve gotten the fullscreen version instead of the proper widescreen version), The Blue Lagoon, and the Indiana Jones trilogy.

I’d love to hear your suggestions for movies that I should/have to/need to watch. Don’t be afraid to make obvious suggestions; chances are that I haven’t seen it (and may not have even heard of it). The last movie I watched in a theatre was (if I’m remembering correctly) The Santa Clause.

200th post

Well, this is something that I should have hit a long time ago, but like I had said a while ago, I’ve been busy with a few other things, so the blog’s been on the back burner for a while. Actually, if I had kept myself to the one post a day theme, I would have hit this mark in March, but it’s May and I’ve made it! 🙂

I’d like to take a look back for the benefit of those of you who haven’t been reading since the beginning, with some of my favourite posts over the last few months.

When I started, the main posts on here were my Tuesday & Wednesday posts about Rockstar Supernova, with my unique insights into the performances of the show. One such post that sticks out is my commentary on the 10th week’s results show, where I got, shall we say, a little annoyed at the constant plugs:

And we see the rockers coming into Television City in a bunch of H***a E*****t S*s, surrounded by throngs of people there for the show, including one person who had their hands in the shape of a heart. I guess I missed that memo 😉 Back in the studio and Brooke announces that the encore performer gets the car they came in! Whoa! Free pub baby!

Of those people, how many do you think were there for this show, and how many were there for The Price is Right?

3 mentions of the name of the car so far before the break, then we see the adboard for it, then we see the AD for it

After Rockstar was over, I had to search for stuff to post about. So I discussed some of the more interesting things that I have been doing. I also discussed some of the things that I’ve discovered in my continuing quest to make it down under.

Something that I haven’t done for a while is watch some movies. I’d intended on actually getting a list of the movies I haven’t watched but need to watch, but that’s gone to the far back burner, especially since I’ve discovered The West Wing. 😉 I would definitely encourage you to go through my posts labeled movies for some reviews I did in the past. I think you’ll like them 🙂

You’ll also notice that I’ve changed the look of some things here, including adding a widget for BUMPzee, which I joined a little while ago, and don’t really have much of an idea of how to get things going there. I’m also thinking of putting a thing for MyBlogLog on here as well.

This is my current settings for my site feed. I used to have it as a full feed, but after discovering that there may be sites out there (aside from legitimate feed readers such as Bloglines and Google Reader) which take your content without your permission and make money off of it, I switched to a partial feed.

The other day, I read in a list of tips to become a better blogger that you should have a full site feed to become better. They don’t exactly explain why it’s better to have a full feed, though there are some good arguements towards publishing a full feed, and I’m inclined to agree with their viewpoint – I know that I prefer to have a full post in my Google Reader – it makes things easier for me because I’m not juggling tabs to view different posts with it all there for me to see. I’ve turned the full feeds back on for the blog now and restored the little message I had on the bottom of my posts (you’ll see it only if you subscribe via RSS).

So, here’s to the next 200 posts coming quite a bit faster than the first 200, and for those that keep looking, here’s a picture of Dilana’s nude face

A bus trip across the desert…

It’s been a while since I’ve been on a bus, but this isn’t about me. It’s about a movie based on this concept – Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Basically, it’s a story of two drag queens and a transvestite who are summoned from their base in Sydney to Alice Springs to perform at a hotel/casino. Now, anyone familiar with even the basics of transport in Australia will know that it it’s a long, hard slog to get from one city to the other, involving long periods of (for the lack of a better term) lonliness, even when travelling with mates.

In fact, during the movie, there are two journeys going on – the one at the centre of the movie, and the running gag – the “Philips Coast-to-Coast Classic”, and somehow, the two paths meet up a couple of times during the movie. Clearly, she is a fast runner. 😉

However, the main journey does encounter some delays, most notably when it is decided to take the shortcut (essentially an unimproved track through the desert) instead of staying on the sealed roads while heading toward Port Augusta. Thus, they are led through the outback (the filming of which featured many of the creatures that are native to the desert lands) and the result is predictable – the dust clogs up the engine and they wind up stranded. Bernadette (the transvestite) heads off for help, finds it, but once they come upon the scene of the bus, now painted purple (or lavender, but it looked pink), they run off quite quickly. Eventually help is found, a pink kite (which later ends up somewhere else in Southeast Asia) is used to locate them, and they hobble their way to a small roadhouse, then onwards to Coober Pedy and to Alice Springs.

One of the recurring themes is that of tolerance. It all starts out well in Sydney where the type of show that they do is generally well-received. However, in Broken Hill, they receive a harsh lesson in how intolerant people can be when after they finish their stay in the hotel, they find their bus adorned with the phrase “AIDS Fuckers Go Home”. At the roadhouse (where they were suggested to perform by the mechanic who helped them out of being stranded), they were essentially booed off of the stage, preferring to be entertained by the wife of the mechanic who did this amazing trick with some pingpong balls. Interestingly, the only people in the country who really tolerated them (aside from some folks in Alice Springs) were a group of Aboriginals who asked them to attend their camp and they put on a show that ended up in the two groups essentially merging their music.

It’s a movie that discusses (indirectly) some interesting aspects of modern society – particularly the acceptance of people who choose to live their lives differently than the rest of us. I personally do accept the fact that there are people who do choose to live this way; if that’s what they think is the right way of living for them, then they should go for it.