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Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (PG-13) ★★★

By June 30, 2023July 20th, 2023Backstage Pass

Harrison Ford stars as Indiana Jones, the multi persona hero—a world-traveler explorer who is also a nerdy archeologist professor in the final movie of the series, which premiered in 1981 with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The ever-popular series followed up with “Temple of Doom” (1984), “Last Crusade” (1989); and finally, “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008). Entertaining with homages to prior films, a terrific Harrison Ford, at 80 years young, takes his final bow in his iconic role. We meet a new character, Indy’s Goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridges), known for “Fleabag,” a British comedy-drama TV series, where she served as a writer and the main performer. Toby Jones plays her father, Indy’s teaching colleague. She tells Indy she plans to find the ‘dial of destiny,’ the relic her father became obsessed with; or, as I refer to it, the “time travel dial.”

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The director is James Mangold (Walk the Line) 2005, (Ford vs Ferrari) 2019. Steven Spielberg directed the first four movies he served as producer. Writers include Mangold, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and David Koepp.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

You’ll see several chase scenes that are thrilling—I especially enjoyed the wild horseback riding one an ode to the market chase scenes in the prior films. The main problems involve the script as the timeline is hard to follow as not enough information is given to viewers. Also, time notice should have been given during the opening scene as the year is 1944, Indy is de-aged using his own print footage from prior films, the CGI is admirable, yet would have been better received if viewers knew the time frame.

The current time frame is primarily 1969; Jones is separated from his wife Marion, as the death of their son Mutt a soldier in the Vietnam War, was so hard to accept. We view a retirement party for Jones at Hunter College, although he’s smug about leaving. Shortly after Helena approaches him and inquires about the Dial her father was so obsessed with. He and Helena set out to find the Dial, Jones wants to destroy it, and Helena secretly wants to auction it on the black market. They retrieve one-half of the Dial from the university storeroom. No sooner do they finish their discussions and they are both attacked by a henchman sent by Jürgon Voller, played by Mads Mikkelsen, who ironically works for NASA under an alias; he’s assisted by a CIA group led by Agent Mason, Shaunette Renee Wilson.

(L-R): Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The chase scenes begin in the New York City Subway, then on to Tangier, where we meet the spunky Moroccan kid, Ethann Isidore (Teddy Kumar), who helps them using an automatized rickshaw or tuk tuk.  Next, Jones, Helena, and Teddy  follow Voller to Athens, Greece, where they enlist the aid of Jones’s deep-sea diver friend Renaldo. While there, a tablet is found in the Aegean Sea with instructions on how to find the other half of the Dial. Next, they travel to Sicily, where they find Archimedes’s grave. It’s an underwater scene that is filmed stunningly, all while capturing Indy on the hunt when he suddenly encounters eels— an ode to his loathing of snakes in the prior films. Continuing with the reassembled Dial and Voller in charge, the rest of the movie will be kept secret.

My favorite scene appears near the end with Marion (Karen Allen), Indy’s wife. I won’t write about what’s happening in the scene as I don’t want to spoil the ending; what I can say is that any scene Karen Allen appears in is a breath of fresh air. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her twice in person and spending time with her during film screenings. She’s a lovely person, and I was excited to see her in the movie, although it’s a shame she didn’t have more screen time. All and all, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” is a film for all teens and adults, the final movie is a tribute to the incredible series that many have grown up with and have awesome movie theater memories, and at 80 years old Ford shows he’s still got what it takes to crack his whip, wear his cool fedora hat, and to fight Hitler’s Nazi’s.

Karen Allen interview: 2008

Sarah Knight Adamson© July 29, 2023