June 26, 2023

CINEMA | 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny' Turns Back the Clock

"Give 'em hell, Indiana Jones!"
Harrison Ford James Mangold | Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Walt Disney Pictures / Lucasfilm
Journeyman filmmaker James Mangold takes over the creative reigns from Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (both executive producers) for the famed title archeologist adventurer's fifth and final film. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny stars an eighty-year-old Harrison Ford, reprising his signature iconic role, in a return to a more standalone serial mission featuring new characters.

Co-starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen as Indy's goddaughter sidekick and another evil Nazi scientist, both looking for the two halves of a time-altering Archimedes Dial, most of the action takes place in 1969 with a retired, sad sack Jones past his prime, alone, grieving, and a man out of time. We flash back twenty-five years earlier through the magic of CGI de-aging during the fall of Nazi Germany at the end of WWII when times were better.

Mangold directs with enough verve and energy, but it's hard not to miss the magic of Spielberg. The character work here with Ford is easily the best part of the film, while the repetitive sequences of the good guys escaping the bad guys before and after an endless string of chases loses steam halfway through. However, a truly wild third act brings the supernatural tinge to the series to exciting new heights.

Scripted Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp, and Mangold himself, Dial of Destiny really moves and has enough familiar adventurous fun to hold our attention. Ford is game and Waller-Bridge continues to delight yet it's just missing that specific Spielberg/Lucas charm.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny tries to reclaim the eponymous character's glory days after the disappointing legacy of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Mangold has made an entertaining effort full of nostalgia and looking back, but it fails to bring the character anywhere new or particularly interesting.

More | YVArcade / Inverse / Polygon / Uproxx

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