“Legends of the Hidden Temple” always had a fun Indiana Jones vibe to it, and was often well loved despite being notoriously difficult for its contestants who deemed it almost impossible to topple. I am one of the many nineties kids who spent a lot of time watching “Legends of the Hidden Temple” and immersing myself in the imaginative obstacles and fun history lessons. While the game show will never be revived for modern audiences, 2016’s cinematic adaptation is a perfect fit for an audience that loved the game show and for everyone else tuning in to see a good fantasy adventure movie. “Legends of the Hidden Temple” garners the right amount of menace and awe that the game show held, and evokes classic adventure films like “The Goonies.”
Sadie, Dudley, and Noah are thrust in to an inadvertent adventure when Legends of the Hidden Temple fan Noah is given an old map by ex-adventurer Kirk Fogg. Deciding to go in to the temple to learn about its mysteries, they’re tasked with helping enigmatic statue Olmec, a sentient being who was once a king. The film adaptation is a neat cross between “Zathura” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” as the trio of siblings travail the legendary hidden temple to stop the unearthing of an evil emperor, along with his evil temple guards. With the use of pendants they find along the way, they hope to revive Olmec, and restore peace to the temple. Thankfully the writers integrate as many elements from the game show as possible, right down to the temple run, elbow pads, helmets and all. One of the funniest moments of the movie, and easily one of the best nods to the show, features our characters toppling almost every temple obstacle, save for the shrine of the silver monkey.
The deceptively simple game involves assembling three pieces of a silver monkey statue, to which it takes four hours for the characters to complete. Anyone who’s seen the show knows how insanely frustrating it was to watch contestants lose time while trying to assemble that damn statue. All things considered “Legends of the Hidden Temple” is a simple and quick moving adaptation. It speeds through exposition to get our characters in the temple, and once they do most of the elements from the show become interesting obstacles. I especially enjoyed how they took the medusa head and turned it in to a devious foe. Granted, I wouldn’t have minded twenty more minutes of character focus, but “The Legends of the Hidden Temple” ends as an entertaining bit of light fantasy fare with great set design, and a hilarious final scene.