Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Peter Malone MSC 4 July 2023

Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.

INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY, US, 2023. Starring Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Ethann Isidore, Antonio Banderas, Karen Allen, John Rhys-Davies, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook. Directed by James Mangold. 154 minutes. Rated M (Frequent action violence).

It looks as though Indiana Jones has been part of our movie destinies, for more than 40 years for those who were surprised and excited in 1981, discovering the Raiders of the Lost Ark and the sequels during the 1980s. But, this is the fifth and final instalment, full of action, seeing Indy when he was younger during World War II (and CGI able to make Harrison Ford look that age), moving on to 1969 and the day of the moon landing, where Harrison Ford is able to look his age (actually filming at age 80). But, this time Steven Spielberg, after directing the other four episodes, executive produces but hands over directing to Mangold, who has had a 25-year plus career directing a range of films (as did Spielberg), some of his best being Copland, Girl Interrupted, Walk the Line, Ford vs Ferrari.

This episode goes straight into action, Indiana Jones and his British archaeologist friend, Basil Shore (Jones) are caught by the Nazis trying to find the lance that pierced Jesus among a hoard of stolen treasures. While the lance proves to be a fake, there is, however, half of the Antikythera, a time-warping machine, made by the Greek philosopher, Archimedes. It is meant to be a gift for Hitler. However, there is a sinister professor on board the train, Dr Voller (Mikkelsen), and the film goes immediately into action – fights on the roof of the train, menacing tunnels, a bombed bridge and Indy and Basil diving into a river where the Antikythera sinks. So, no Lost Ark, just half of the Antikythera, the Dial of Destiny. So far, so exciting.

The action does not let up. Who should arrive at Prof Jones’ lecture but Basil’s daughter, Helena, played by Waller-Bridge (of Fleabag popularity) who contributed to the screenplay. She is strong-minded, to say the least, and her motives are less than worthy as she tries to recover the half of the dial from Indy, who is her godfather. But, who else should be in New York, but the Professor who has contributed to the rockets taking Armstrong and Aldrin to the moon. The trailer shows Indy on a horse galloping through a parade in Manhattan – and, there are shootings, Helena leaping from roof to roof, Indy on the horse… Long story short, action takes them to Tangiers, to an auction for the Dial, but auction thwarted, then a pursuit through Tangiers, and, before we know it we are in the Aegean with a diving expedition led by Antonio Banderas, Nazis in pursuit, the help of a young thief whom Helena had befriended, then to Syracuse, an expedition into the caves to find Archimedes. What more could we want.

Of course, the Nazis turn up again, fights in the caves, and the possibility of going back in time, the Professor donning Nazi uniform, merely wanting to go back to 20 August 1939 to thwart Hitler and invade Poland himself. It doesn’t quite work out that way and there is more action and stunt work to be seen, planes, helicopters, crashing, Archimedes, and Indy having to decide where he wants to spend the rest of his days.

Within a week of its release, the online trolls have been at it again, determined to attack, the ‘Dial of Disappointment’, not the way that the series should end . . . And even more rampaging hostility. However, this reviewer saw the film with a rather larger suburban audience than usual, who seemed to be more than satisfied with their nostalgia, with their enjoyment, and, a nice ending, just emotionally right, as we say farewell to Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.

Released 28 June


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