Visiting the Temple Again

Legends of the Hidden Temple was one of those Nickelodeon game shows that I always wanted to be on. While I wasn’t the most athletic kid, always thought I would do pretty well on the steps of knowledge and would be pretty good at figuring out the temple maze. The show was a favorite of mine: I loved the elaborate sets, the talking statue, and I thought Kirk Fogg was enthusiastic and charming.

It was with great joy that I got to sit down and watch the new Nickelodeon film version of Legends of the Hidden Temple with my wife and kids last weekend.

Let me start off by saying that it’s not a good movie, but it is a perfect movie. It is exactly as understated, in-jokey, and cheesy as it needs to be. The three child leads are fine as far as cable TV movie actors go–at least they have believable motivations, I guess.

The story begins with the three siblings Sadie, Noah, and Dudley going to the Hidden Temple theme park. Apparently this movie assumes that everything that happened on the show Legends of the Hidden Temple is canon. Or not. I really have no idea, but HOLY CRAP Kirk Fogg is there as a tour guide!

legends-of-the-hidden-temple-movie-poster-3He makes some comments about how the temple has been closed since the 90s and he’s looking for a medallion to open it… whatever. Kirk Fogg is there! I cheered. My kids didn’t understand why.

The kids end up in the Hidden Temple through a series of mishaps, and Sadie, the oldest, loses her phone in the process. The kids meet OLMEC! He’s apparently an ancient king who tried to…

You know what? Whatever. It was Olmec. He was wise and had a deep voice and was a talking head statue.

Look, this isn’t going to be a recap of the movie. Rather, I wanted to commend the movie for doing something kind of difficult. My kids and I were both laughing at jokes, but for different reasons. My kids didn’t have the context to know that the Shrine of the Silver Monkey was always a problem for game show contestants because for some reason they could never put it together correctly. My kids didn’t know about the various obstacles that contestants would have to overcome.

They didn’t know about why there were animals of many colors in the temple. Or why the temple guards were so ferocious, even though they would only grab you and shake you around a bit.

But laugh they did, even without the retro knowledge of the game show. And I laughed and cheered a lot as they not-so-subtly worked in references that made tween me very happy.

If you were a fan of the show, give it a watch. It’s a fun movie: definitely the best that Nick has put out in a long time.

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