Temple of Doom: The Indiana Jones defined by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s darkest moment

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom holds a strange place in the heart of every Indiana Jones fan. The clumsy middle child, Temple of Doom is a dark, problematic prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, one that takes the series in a stranger, wilder direction – and manages to have one of the biggest openings of any action movie ever realize.

It is often assumed today that contemporary critics were not enamored with the second collaboration between director Steven Spielberg and writer George Lucas, but that is somewhat misleading; Pauline Kael of the New Yorker preferred Temple to Raiders because it fully embraced “ridiculous” and “unbelievable,” although she also writes that her friends called it “heartless” and “overbearing.” Meanwhile, Roger Ebert gave the film a perfect four stars, while People magazine warned that it could traumatize children.

Kael and her friends’ analysis perhaps best summarizes why The Temple of Doom…