Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

The second review exercise I completed whilst doing work experience at Empire Magazine. Write a review in no more than 150 words. Here it is in 146 baby…

Indy’s second big-screen adventure hastily establishes its “anything goes” attitude and barely stops to breathe until the credits roll. A huge departure from Raiders, Doom (formerly ‘Death’) is a more bombastic, camp kind of movie which sees our hero rescuing a sacred Indian stone from a sadistic ancient cult. This is Spielberg at his most cartoonish and giddy, revelling in the sort of action, comedy and horror that young boys go gaga for. The mid-point ritual sequences are perhaps a shade too dark for the series - including the plucky Short-Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) receiving one of the most stinging back-hands in cinema - but the more sinister tone makes this an incredibly thrilling sequel. The stakes are high as can be (“COVER YOUR HEART!”) and it has all of the fedora wearing, whip cracking, roller-coaster fun that we have come to expect from Indy’s exploits.

Verdict: ****

Director: Steven Spielberg 

Screenwriter: Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz

Cast: Harrison Ford, Kate Capshaw, Jonathan Ke Quan

Certificate: 12

Runtime: 118 min 

Release Date: Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray


______________________________________________________________________________ Indiana Jones Temple of doom Movie Review Excercise Empire Magazine

Jaws (1975)

I spent a fantastic week as a ‘workie’ at Empire Magazine and I was asked to write a review of a film which I knew inside out. Naturally…

There is something about watching movies as an impressionable youngster – the age when repeated viewings are preferred (finish, rewind, play) –which causes incidental, non-essential moments stand out. Just as when a word is repeated until it becomes abstract,  (‘towel’ is a good one), snippets of dialogue, the twitch of a hand, the lost face of an extra who has forgotten he is on camera, become the transcendental personal reasons that you love film as an adult.

Jaws is a beautiful tapestry of such moments; a note played on a harmonica at a beach party, the sing-song cadence of Richard Dreyfuss’ “That’s not funny, that’s not funny at all”, a big tooth bending as a mechanical jaw breaks Robert Shaw down into bite-size chunks. There are the stars, the excitement, the time in history into which Jaws was born - all aspects of the film that have earned it it’s sterling reputation - but it is these almost inconsequential moments that make you smile or cry or quote along; moments that make Jaws yours.

The story - production, reception, legacy – has been reprinted ad nauseum, and when that happens a film’s Greatness can lapse into cliché. Do yourself a favour: if you haven’t seen it in while or (grit teeth) never seen it, go and watch Jaws (available in endorphin pumping high-def) because this story of a menacing Great White Shark and the three men determined to catch it (“the whole darn thing”) really is a phenomenal experience.

It is not perfect (let me finish), but its imperfections are part of its beauty and every frame is infused with a twentysomething Steven Spielberg’s adoration for storytelling and cinema. He shares his enthusiasm with anyone who will listen, compounding a mix-tape of his favourite tricks with from Hitchcock to Tobe Hooper. It has a freshness, a buoyancy, and whilst there is no denying Jaws’ ability to shock – that poor little Kitner boy – the lasting impression is one of intimacy and warmth. Remember the story you wrote in your writing book in Year 1 about why you love your Stretch Armstrong so much? It feels like that.

Whilst borne out of technical difficulties, the restraint that the film has with its Big Bad feels perfectly calibrated, Peter Benchley and Carl Gottlieb’s script is snappily written, the score is legendary and the triumvirate of actors – Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss, the fan-fucking-tastic Robert Shaw – have legendary chemistry.

Verdict: A family film, a horror classic, an adventure, the arrival of The Blockbuster. This is what the movies were made for. *****


Director: Steven Spielberg 

Screenwriter: Peter Benchley, Carl Gottlieb 

Cast: Roy Schneider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw 

Certificate: 12

Runtime: 124 min 

Release Date: Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray


______________________________________________________________________________ Jaws Steven Spielberg Movie Review Film Blockbuster Horror

Approachable film reviews from Andy Wilson. _________________

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