To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is an action-adventure film directed by James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari) from a screenplay written by Mangold, Jez & John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow) and David Koepp. Featuring Harrison Ford, John Rhys-Davies, and Karen Allen who reprise their roles from earlier films alongside newcomers Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Ethann Isidore, and Mads Mikkelsen; the film is a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and the fifth installment in the Indiana Jones film series. The story follows American professor, archaeologist, and part-time adventurer, Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, Jr. as he is swept up into a new adventure with his god-daughter Helena Shaw to find the missing half of the mysterious Antikythera, an ancient machine that is rumored to be able to locate portals in time.
In 1944, Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) and his superior Colonel Weber (Thomas Kretschmann) look over a cache of valuable artifacts collected for Hitler from around the world. One of the relics is the Spear of Longinus, a weapon alleged to have pierced the side of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. After an explosion outside shakes the building Voller briefly touches the weapon before the two decide to leave by train. Unbeknownst to them Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) has infiltrated the facility with his colleague Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) to recover the infamous spear.
After the building is destroyed by a bomb, Basil is captured by the Nazis and taken to the train for questioning. Indy disguises himself as a Nazi to board the locomotive and save him. Aboard the train, Voller tells Colonel Weber that the Spear of Longinus is a fake, having deduced after touching it that the metal composition is too modern. He then tells him that there is a more valuable item included in the treasure; the Antikythera but is rebuffed by the Colonel. Once Indy also realizes the spear is a fake he makes his way through the train to find Basil. After saving his friend’s life the pair run into Voller and Indy incapacitates him with a punch to the face. Basil takes the Antikythera and they escape the train.
I have never been a die-hard fan of the Indiana Jones movies, but they have always been enjoyable to watch. I consider every movie a fun adventure that the entire family can enjoy. I even enjoy Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. My favorite entries in the franchise are Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1984). There’s just something about watching Indy hunt for Biblical artifacts that I enjoy.
Harrison Ford gets top marks as an older disillusioned grizzled Indy. His life has taken a turn for the worst since we last saw him. He is no longer with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) and his son Henry “Mutt” Jones III (Shia LaBeouf) is also out of the picture. The reason for their absence is pretty heartbreaking and adds layers to Indy’s current depressive state. To keep audiences from being too sad is Jones’ god-daughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Clearly inserted as the replacement for Mutt, but her character works in spades. Shaw is shady, manipulative, funny, intelligent, and confident. Her character is reminiscent of Garth from the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Shaw is in it for the money and is fine using people to get what she wants. She even has a little sidekick named Teddy (Ethann Isidore) who is similar to Short Round. The rest of the cast also turn in solid performances.
James Mangold taking over for Steven Spielberg in the director’s chair works out well. The film series has such a unique stamp at this point that I feel any director could step in. Mangold captures the essence of what makes the older films so beloved. The score, cinematography, and production design are all great. This picture looks and sounds like a classic Indy adventure. Composer John Williams returning makes a lot of sense as he has scored every film in the franchise to date. Phedon Papamichael (3:10 to Yuma) has worked with Mangold on many of his other projects so his inclusion also makes sense. The way he sets up the wide shots evokes a sense of awe and wonder that this franchise is known for
The only major issue with the film is the de-aging effects used on Harrison Ford during the prologue and another flashback. It’s very noticeable especially when you look into his dead digital eyes. The thing is, if they didn’t linger on it for so long it would not be as detrimental to the film. Also, when you see Indy’s younger face and hear the voice of an older Ford it’s jarring, to say the least. They should have used deepfake instead of de-aging as the process is easier to hide and Respeecher on his voice to make him sound younger.
If you are a fan of Indiana Jones then this movie should make you happy. It’s a fun treasure-hunting adventure movie that takes the franchise back to its Nazi-fighting roots. I give Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny a Decent 7.7/10. I know this is supposed to be the final Indiana Jones adventure, but money talks. If they did go the deepfake route a plethora of prequels, midquels, and sequels could be made no problem. I would enjoy seeing Indy reunite with Short Round. Especially now since Ke Huy Quan is an Oscar-winning actor. There are tons of stories they can adapt including Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings, and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis just to name a few.