Movie Review of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

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Indiana Jones is back. The new action-adventure film features an 80-year-old Harrison Ford donning the hat and whip for the last time in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate. This film marks 42 years since he first played the character in The Raiders of the Lost Ark. It follows our iconic hero on one more adventure as he teams up with his goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to find a Magical dial that can change the course of history. This is the first time Ford has portrayed the character since the critical mix Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Unfortunately, the new opus is not much better.

It gives me no pleasure to say that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate is a disappointing conclusion to Ford’s tenure as a legendary archaeologist. There are many moments in the film that are funny, especially a chase sequence through Tangier. However, the film ultimately fails to recapture the magic created by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas with the original trilogy in the 1980s. These three films were the epitome of action-adventure, defining the genre with its mixture of action, humor, drama and horror. Like most of the other films of the genre that have come since, this film looks like an imitation of that.

 

The film begins with a flashback to previous decades, where we see a young Indy shortly after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The opening action sequence is excellent. It has an aged Indy, which is one of the most beautiful uses of technology. Although it is noticeable, and there are times when the dialogue does not match the movement of the lips, it looks great. Seeing a young Indiana Jones ride a horse, action people on trains and break his smile makes it a classic Indy adventure. Phedon Papamichael’s filmtography effectively takes on the World debate II feel of Spielberg’s work with Douglas Slocombe.

Dial of Destiny is directed by James Mangold, who has already directed a variety of films, such as Logan, Ford v. Ferrari and Girl, Interrupted. With such a diverse filmography, he seems to be the perfect replacement for Spielberg, who left the director’s chair in 2020. He has a great sense of staging and editing the action, as seen in the first train sequence, the Tangier chase, and a chase scene that sees Indy escape from the bad guys by a parade on horseback. However, although it is much better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the film is still not as visually stunning as this original trilogy. In a movie like The Raiders of the Lost Ark, every scene feels like the best possible version of that scene. With this film, every scene looks like 75% of the best possible version.

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