Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

This review may contain spoilers.

The first hour of 'Dial of Destiny' is pretty meh. Then it picks up the pace, introduces classic 'Indiana Jones' tropes (creepy animals, dank caves), gets good mileage out of the MacGuffin, and finishes things off nicely with a perfect ending. Along the route, there are a few fun quips by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, some terrible action scenes, some excellent action scenes, great musical cues (thank you for the music, maestro Williams. Go and enjoy your well-earned retirement!), a Wilhelm Scream, a sadly underused Antonio Banderas, and a tear shed by Indiana Jones himself. That's a first for the series, and the reason is genuinely touching, even unsettling.

James Mangold's 'Walk the Line' is a masterpiece. 'Dial of Destiny' isn't, but it is made with sincere, obvious love for the franchise. It never resorts to cheap tricks or hollow manipulations. You could however remove Ethann Isidore from the movie, and lose nothing of value. That's not a diss to Mr. Isidore, who is a fine actor. The character just adds next to nothing to the story.

Mads Mikkelsen is amazing as always, and the de-aging used to recreate a 1940s Indy is stupendously effective. It's quite evident how proud the wizards at Lucasfilm and ILM are, because there's a solid 20+ minutes of digital Harrison Ford. Compare this to, say, the few seconds of Leia in 'Rogue One', and you can see how the tech has improved.

I can't believe we'll never get another new 'Indiana Jones' movie - a series that has been so good to us for the past 42 years. I will miss that fictional character. I don't want him to go away, but here we are.

Take a deep bow and a tip of the hat to the fedora. If adventure has a name, it was, is and will always be 'Indiana Jones'.

Julian De Backer, 28 June 2023