Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny starring Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge marks the fifth and final appearance of the beloved edgy archaeologist. To briefly summarize, It has been quite some time since Indiana Jones has been on an adventure and has endured a lot of life challenges. However, once again, he is now caught between the Nazis and their quest for world domination through the use of mystical artifacts. Let’s break this film down and explore why Dial of Destiny feels like a true Indiana Jones film, while simultaneously feeling like it shouldn’t have been made in the first place.
To start off, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny utilizes the de-aging technology for the first 20 minutes of the film and honestly, the first 20 minutes, was exactly what fans wanted to see from Indiana Jones. The action, the tension, the witty remarks. It was exhilarating and it felt as if we were thrown back in time with a young Harrison Ford. It was all there but I feel this sets a dangerous precedent. Although it is amazing how powerful the de-aging technology is, this can lead to films no longer needing actors and just utilizing the computer generated images of the actors themselves (if you have watched the latest episode of Black Mirror Season 6 Episode 1, you will know what I am talking about). Now after 20 minutes, this is where things took a rough turn.
With Harrison Ford at the age of 80, and don’t get me wrong, the amount of work he has put in this film and work should not be overseen, it is spectacular that he still dedicates his body and talent to play a beloved character. Unfortunately, it starts to become a little hard to convince the audience that this older and almost-retired Indiana Jones is able to hold his ground with much younger and physically fit enemies. It took me in and out of the film. Although cinemagoers will always cherish Mr. Harrison Ford, this should definitely be his last outing as Dr. Jones.
Of course, with any beloved character from the 80s, there is a passing of the torch and this obviously is handed off to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character, Helena Shaw. Sadly, from my perspective, it doesn’t seem as if her character will be able to continue to carry this franchise in the intended different direction. As an audience member, I felt that I was unable to connect with Helena and that might be because this is an Indiana Jones film and our attention is fixated on the main protagonist but there were not a lot of things about her character that made it intriguing for us. One of the biggest issues with the Indiana Jones franchise, are the side characters that have a vital role and are never seen again *cough* Short-Round *cough*. I think SNL even has a skit about that as well.
You can always count on Mads Mikkelsen to play a solid villain. You can’t go wrong with that choice.
The film was able to have all of the amazing tropes that make Indiana Jones films, though it didn’t feel like it was a satisfying end for the hero that multiple generations grew up watching. The production did its best with what they were tasked to do and with what they had. Unfortunately, I think there could have been more added to properly send off this character.
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