Friday, March 9, 2012

Temple of Doom, in defense of Willie Scott

You'll have to forgive me a moment for being a little reactionary with this, but it's something I've needed to get off my chest since about 2002. This completely pompous jerk I had to suffer through 3 different classes with (in school, I've seen that he's since become a faculty member, God help the rest of you) made the outrageous claim that Temple of Doom was not a good film, and this was mostly because Spielberg was so ridiculously infatuated with Kate Capshaw that he refused to direct the film properly and allowed her to overact and badly deliver everything she did.

I don't agree.

Something simple, like soup?
This film is incredible. You could talk about the genius of the opening segment, which among other things pays homage to some pretty serious filmmaking and historical links of the era it was representing i.e., Gold Diggers of 1933, while also doing some hat-tipping to Star Wars (Lao Che's establishment is Club Obi Wan) and Gunga Din, another influence. The brilliance of John Williams' score. The interesting menu choices enjoyed (or not) in the dining room of Pankot Palace.

And then there's this scene, my favorite scene. Part of what I like about it is that it shows Indiana Jones losing his shit a little, that fist, shaking out of the opening as he yells at Willie, "DO IT, NOW!" just might be one of my favorite gestures of all time. Not to mention the whole, "We. Are going. To DIE!" bit that comes just after. Willie Scott is annoying, and Capshaw plays her just that way, but she gets the job done and without her there would be no comedy in this scene at all. Throughout the entire film she acts and reacts as any pampered brat legitimately would (plus survives that damned dinner, the bug room, the lava pit, and stomps on Mola Ram's hands at the end, causing him to fall further down the bridge where Indy can finish him off). I like her a lot.