‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Review: Harrison Ford Cracks the Whip One Last Time in a Final Chapter Short on Both Thrills and Fun (2023)

There was genuine curiosity for many of us whenJames Mangoldwas confirmed as director onIndiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the fifth and final entry in the beloved franchise that started with a bang in 1981 when Steven Spielberg and George Lucas reimagined the Saturday matinee adventure serials they grew up with for a new generation that couldn’t get enough. Mangold, after all, was the man who not only resuscitated the weary Wolverine but gave the character a genuinely poignant sendoff that was thoughtful, textured, even profound in 2017’sLogan.

Maybe the Indiana Jones films, with their appealing combination of laughs and close-shave thrills built around a rugged, quick-thinking archeologist in a fedora and leather jacket, were never going to be a great fit for that kind of gritty treatment. But it seemed fair to hope for at least some kind of fresh take beyond the rinse-and-repeat formula of chases and gunfights strung together in different locations across the globe — or even just an invigorating back-to-basics course correction after the polarizingIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The Bottom LineButt-dial.

Venue:Cannes Film Festival(Out of Competition)
Release date: Friday, June 30
Cast:Harrison Ford,Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Oliver Richters, Ethann Isidore,Mads Mikkelsen
Director: James Mangold
Screenwriters: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp, James Mangold
Rated PG-13,2 hours 34 minutes

What the new film — scripted by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp and Mangold, with the feel of something written by committee — does have is a sweet blast of pure nostalgia in the closing scene, a welcome reappearance foreshadowed with a couple visual clues early on. That heartening return is also suggested by a moment when Harrison Ford’s Dr. Jones, yanked out of retirement after 10 years teaching at New York’s Hunter College, stops to reflect on the personal mistakes of his past. Which is pretty much the first time the movie pauses for breath, and it happens an hour and 20 minutes into the bloated 2½ hour run time.

That nonstop pacing might sound ideal, but it’s mostly an exhausting slog. WhenDial of Destinygives an explicit throwback nod to earlier episodes — Indy remembering drinking the Blood of Kali, enduring voodoo torture or getting shot nine times; or he and his new companions squeezing through a narrow stone corridor and discovering midway that it’s alive with creepy-crawlies — it’s a reminder of how much fun those early movies were. And still are, despite some eyebrow-raising racist caricatures that belong to a simpler, less culturally sensitive time.

Part of what dims the enjoyment of this concluding chapter is just how glaringly fake so much of it looks. Ford is digitally — and convincingly — de-aged in an opening sequence that finds him back among the Nazis at the end of World War II. Hitler has already fled to his bunker and Gestapo gold-diggers are preparing for defeat by loading up a plunder train full of priceless antiquities and various stolen loot.

Scurrying to save himself and rescue his professorial Brit pal Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), Indy ends up in a death match with a Third Reich heavy on top of the train as it speeds through a long mountain pass. But any adrenaline rush that extended set-piece might have generated is killed by the ugly distraction of some truly terrible CG backgrounds. The foundations of this series are in Spielberg’s overgrown-kid playfulness with practical effects. The more the films have come to rely on a digital paintbrush, the less hair-raising their adventures have become.

Another problem here is the tendency to over-complicate everything. That starts with the red herring of the opening scenes, the Lance of Longinus, said to have pierced the side of Christ on the cross. A whole lot of talk about this holy relic turns out to be mere distraction until we get to the real treasure, Archimedes Dial, a device believed to hold the power to locate fissures in time. The best Indiana Jones movies all have a supernatural element, so why not time travel? Well, you see why in the messy climactic stretch.

The bulk of the action takes place in 1969, when Indiana feels the strain even getting up out of his recliner (and Ford commendably shrugs off vanity, making no effort to hide his age). The unexpected return into his life of the late Basil’s daughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), whom Indy hasn’t seen since her childhood, revives thoughts of Archimedes’ golden double-discus gizmo and whether its purported properties might actually work. Helena claims to have chosen the legendary doodad as the subject of her doctorate thesis.

The dial was split in half by its inventor to avoid it slipping into the wrong hands — or to help flesh out a laborious new installment requiring multiple destinations — so half of it sits in an archeological vault, courtesy of Dr. Jones, and the other half lies in parts unknown. But Helena isn’t the only one interested.

It also brings Nazi physicist Dr. Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), who had a previous brush with Indy 25 years ago, out of hiding. He’s been living under an alias and working for the NASA space program, developing the technology that took the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Turns out he changed his name but not his political persuasion, so going back in time would allow him to “correct” history.

Helena, whose intentions are not what they seem, hops a flight to Tangiers with half the dial, reconnecting with her junior associate Teddy (Ethann Isidore) and setting up a private auction to sell the relic to the highest bidder. Indiana follows to stop her, and she’s unapologetic about valuing cash above all else. But as the half-disc slips from one set of hands into another, they all end up trying to outrun Voller and his vicious goons (Boyd Holbrook and Olivier Richters), following clues to locate the missing half and test-drive Archimedes’ invention.

Mangold goes from one set-piece to another without much connective tissue. They include a chase on horseback and motorcycle through the streets of Manhattan that crashes through an anti-Vietnam protest and an Apollo 11 “Welcome Home” ticker-tape parade before continuing in the subway tunnels. There’s also a frantic flight in Moroccan tuk tuks and a dive to the bottom of the sea off the coast of Greece to find a coded guide to Archimedes’ tomb. By that time, you’ll likely have given up following the contorted plot mechanics and just be zoning in and out with each new location.

Or maybe you’ll spend time wondering what drew third-billed Antonio Banderas to such an insignificant role as Renaldo, Indy’s old fisherman buddy, whose diving expertise provides a crucial assist while getting Indy into a tangle with a bunch of outsize CG eels so sloppily rendered thatDisneycan relax about anyLittle Mermaidsniping. Renaldo has a crew stacked with male models who have bodies that didn’t exist in the late ‘60s, which seems an intriguing detail, though he’s not around long enough to shed light on it.

Sadly, none of this amounts to much more than a talented director slumming it with mind-numbingly rote videogame plotting. Waller-Bridge makes Helena quick with a wisecrack, handy with her fists and a demon behind the wheel, and as is de rigueur in these less restrictively gender-coded times, she’s unflappably resourceful, never helpless. But only toward the end, when Helena has put aside her mercenary instincts long enough to show genuine concern and affection for Indiana, her godfather, does the chemistry between Waller-Bridge and Ford yield some pleasure.

Mikkelsen can be a fabulously debonair villain (see:Casino Royale), but any interesting idiosyncrasies the character might have exhibited are drowned in convoluted plot. This calls for a larger-than-life bad guy, and he’s somehow smaller. Filling the plucky young sidekick spot, Isidore’s Teddy is, well, let’s just say he’s no Short Round and leave it at that.

This is a big, bombastic movie that goes through the motions but never finds much joy in the process, despite John Williams’ hard-working score continuously pushing our nostalgia buttons and trying to convince us we’re on a wild ride. Indy ignores the inevitable jokes about his age and proves he can still handle himself in a tight spot. But Ford often seems disengaged, as if he’s weighing up whether this will restore the tarnished luster to his iconic action hero or reveal that he’s past his expiration date. Both the actor and the audience get a raw deal with this empty exercise in brand redemption.


What is the plot of Indiana Jones Dial of Destiny? ›

Movie Info

Daredevil archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary dial that can change the course of history. Accompanied by his goddaughter, he soon finds himself squaring off against Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi who works for NASA. Production Co: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Why does Harrison Ford like Indiana Jones so much? ›

It makes him relatable. It makes him so enjoyable to watch, that he is so self-deprecating and is willing to be the brunt of jokes.” Ford himself has noted that Indy's fallibility is key to his charm: “One of the pleasures is that we allow him to get in too deep,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly in 2008.

How did George Lucas get the idea for Indiana Jones? ›

During 1973, George Lucas wrote The Adventures of Indiana Smith. Like Star Wars, it was an opportunity to create a modern version of the movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s. Lucas discussed the concept with Philip Kaufman, who worked with him for several weeks and decided upon the Ark of the Covenant as the MacGuffin.

What is the plot of Raiders of the Lost Ark? ›

Is Indiana Jones appropriate for a 7 year old? ›

Parents Need to Know

There's not too much blood and gore (though many young children are likely to be scared by a climactic face-melting scene, as well as one in which a man is killed when his head hits a plane propeller), but it's still way up there in the body count department.

Who is Indiana Jones in love with? ›

Indiana Jones is famous for his adventures and his romance with Marion Ravenwood.

Does Harrison Ford prefer Indiana Jones or Han Solo? ›

Unlike the part of Han Solo, which Ford always seem skeptical to reprise, the actor always was keen to reprise Indiana Jones. Ford clearly has more affinity for Indiana Jones than Han Solo.

Which actor famously turned down the role of Indiana Jones? ›

Tom Selleck: Indiana Jones in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'

Harrison Ford took the lead role in the franchise as the archeologist, but it could've been Tom Selleck. Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood opposite Ford as Indiana Jones, revealed the Friends alum's TV career forced him to turn down the gig.

Does Harrison Ford like Indiana Jones better than Star Wars? ›

Both Are Timeless Classics—But Ford Prefers Indy

In terms of gravitas and total influence, Star Wars is the likely winner. However, it's interesting to note that Harrison Ford prefers Indiana Jones. In an interview, the actor said that he felt more connected to Indiana Jones.

Who was originally wanted for Indiana Jones? ›

Lucas wanted a relatively unknown actor, willing to commit to a trilogy of films, to play Indiana Jones. Those considered for the role included Bill Murray, Nick Nolte, Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Tim Matheson, Nick Mancuso, Peter Coyote, Jack Nicholson, Jeff Bridges, John Shea, Sam Elliott, and Harry Hamlin.

Who did George Lucas originally want to play Obi Wan? ›

While the actor was critical to the success of the original Star Wars, lending the project an air of legitimacy as the most famous face on the screen at the time, he wasn't the first choice of director George Lucas. Lucas wanted to cast Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune in the role.

Is Indiana Jones Based on a true story? ›

Indy isn't, but he may be based on a very real person — from Beloit, of all places. His name was Roy Chapman Andrews, and he was an academic, archaeologist and adventurer. His writings made him a national celebrity, and his discoveries made him a scientific hero.

What happens to the lost ark in Indiana Jones? ›

Although the archaeologist managed to acquire the Ark out from under the German expedition, it was later captured by Nazis nonetheless. Indiana Jones and Sallah find the Ark. The Ark changed hands between Indy and the Nazis several times before the Nazis took the Ark to a secret island base near Crete.

What is the climax of the story Indiana Jones? ›

Climax: Indy tries to save Marian, but Belloc calls his bluff about destroying the Ark and captures Indy as well. Climactic Moment: The Ark consumes Belloc and the Nazis. Resolution: The Ark is hidden away by the U.S. government; Indy and Marian leave together.

How many people has Indiana Jones killed? ›

He explains that around nine deaths in the original movie alone were directly caused by Indy, and around fourteen are in the second movie, and nine in the third movie.

Which Indiana Jones is the least scary? ›

Parents should note that although the Last Crusade is the mildest of the Indiana Jones films in terms of violence, it does contain frightening images likely to disturb younger children. The main message from this movie is that family must come first.

What reading level is Indiana Jones? ›

Product information
Publisher‎Scholastic Inc.; Media Tie In edition (May 1, 2008)
Reading age‎9 - 12 years
Grade level4 - 7
8 more rows

Why is Indiana Jones called Junior? ›

Junior - Used by his father, even in Indy's adulthood. After discovering that he had a son in 1957, Indiana Jones jokingly referred to Henry Jones III as Junior. Indiana - Taken from the name of his childhood dog, Indiana, often shortened to Indy.

Is Mutt Indy's son? ›

Nearly 15 years ago, Indiana Jones fans were shocked to learn that the famed archaeologist was a father. It was revealed that Indy and former flame Marion Ravenwood had a son — Henry “Mutt” Walton Jones III, played by Shia LaBeouf.

Is Indiana Jones a villain or a hero? ›

Since his first appearance in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones has become one of cinema's most famous characters. In 2003, the American Film Institute ranked him the second-greatest film hero of all time.

Who is the female villain in Indiana Jones? ›

Irina Spalko is one of two main antagonists of the film series who is not affiliated with the Nazis, the other being Mola Ram from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Did Harrison Ford make more money from Star Wars or Indiana Jones? ›

What was Harrison Ford's highest-grossing movie? Without adjusting for inflation, Harrison Ford's highest-grossing movie is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which brought in $2.06 billion. His next highest-grossing movie is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which earned $787 million.

Why was Harrison Ford picked for Han Solo? ›

George Lucas wasn't keen on using any actors from his previous film, worried that his sci-fi epic would be dismissed as 'American Graffiti in space'. Roos, however, was convinced Ford was a perfect match for the Corellian captain.

Who would win in a fight Han Solo or Indiana Jones? ›

Winner: Indiana Jones

While Han just puttered around with Chewie while hiding behind a blaster, Indy discovered a bunch of other ancient religious artifacts by using his bare hands and a little know-how. Indiana Jones would win because he was the driving force behind his adventures.

Who turned down Avatar role? ›

James Cameron has a message for Matt Damon – “Get over it!” Damon famously turned down Cameron's offer to star in the first Avatar movie, in return for 10 per cent of the box office.

Who turned down the role of Pretty Woman? ›

Molly Ringwald turned down the lead role in "Pretty Woman" because she thought the story was "icky." "Julia Roberts was wonderful in it," Ringwald said in a recent interview with The Guardian. In 2012, Ringwald said she was in casting talks in the film's early stages, but didn't recall turning it down.

Who was considered for Pretty Woman? ›

Michelle Pfeiffer turned the role down, saying she did not like the script's "tone." Daryl Hannah was also considered but believed the role was "degrading to women". Valeria Golino was in consideration, but was not selected because of her thick Italian accent, and Jennifer Jason Leigh had auditioned.

Who is the strongest person in the Star Wars franchise? ›

Darth Sidious / Emperor Palpatine

Darth Sidious was one of the destructive maniacal Sith lords and the most powerful character in Star Wars. He caused the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, using his two personas through which he was able to manipulate most events in the galaxy.

Who is the most well written character in Star Wars? ›

From a holistic point of view I'd say Anakin/Darth Vader is the best-written character overall, with Palpatine a close second. Both of these characters have some of the best lines of dialogue, as well as pivotal parts in the story (it is Anakin's story after all).

What is the most successful Star Wars? ›

That's only part of the story though. Taking ticket price inflation into account, the original 1977 Star Wars film is still the most successful one. While at the time “A New Hope” generated $775 million in worldwide box office earnings, that translates to more than $3.5 billion adjusted to today's ticket prices.

Why didn't Tom Selleck play Indiana Jones? ›

As any hardcore Indiana Jones fan would know, Tom Selleck was the main candidate for Raiders of the Lost Ark. But things didn't work out for Selleck with the franchise as he had committed to the Magnum, P.I. contract, and CBS wouldn't let him take the time off from the crime-drama TV series.

Was Indiana Jones a CIA agent? ›

Both Indiana Jones and Sophia Hapgood were OSS agents during World War II and Hapgood went on to become a CIA agent.

Where did they film Indiana Jones? ›

The movie was filmed in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Jordan, and Italy. Shots of Istanbul, Turkey can be seen shortly in the distance of a few scenes. The city of Venice was used as a filming location, including the city's library.

Did Leia know Obi-Wan in original? ›

She also knows Obi-Wan, and she knows him well. Her holographic plea for help, already iconic, will never be the same. She knows Obi-Wan's real name as well as his alias of “Ben.” When Luke comes barging into her cell and says, “I'm here with Ben Kenobi,” Leia jumps off the bunk in an instant.

Why is Obi-Wan called Ben? ›

In the story, we learn that Obi-Wan took on the name Ben because it's a nickname given to him by an old flame, the Duchess Satine Kryze. He takes on the name because it still has emotional resonance for him.

Why does Obi-Wan age so fast? ›

Why does Obi-Wan Kenobi age like that? Because he's not real, and is a fictional character played by different people. You see, Obi-Wan Kenobi is played by Alec Guinness in the original trilogy. Guinness was 62 when he filmed A New Hope, and he died in 2000.

Was Indiana Jones on the Titanic? ›

Indiana Jones and Helen Margaret Seymour had been passengers aboard the vessel, and were caught up in an adventure surrounding the Shalimar Diamond that Miss Seymour had brought aboard.

Did Indiana Jones believe in God? ›

In the first film, Indy fully rejects religion and by the third film he accepts God.

Why does Indiana Jones have a scar? ›

The well-known scar on Ford's chin has even been written into some of his movies — it was from a whip in Indiana Jones and an ear piercing gone wrong in Working Girl. In real life, Ford earned the scar when he lost control of his car putting on his seatbelt while driving.

Why did Indiana Jones tell Marion to shut her eyes? ›

Indy goes from being someone who doesn't believe in the bogyman to someone who accepts there are powers he cannot understand which is why he tells Marion to close her eyes: he has grown as a character.

Does the Ark of the Covenant still exist? ›

According to church leaders, the Ark of the Covenant has for centuries been closely guarded in Aksum at the Church of St. Mary of Zion.

What was the Ark of God in the Bible? ›

What is the Ark of the Covenant? The Ark of the Covenant is a gold-plated wooden chest that, in Jewish and Christian tradition, houses the two tablets bearing the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses by God.

What is the last line of Raiders of the Lost Ark? ›

Granted, Indy can't quite let go of it; "they don't know what they've got there" is his last line in the film.

How did Indiana Jones survive the submarine trip? ›

According to Lawrence's Kasdan's original script, the submarine only goes beneath the water far enough so that its periscope is still sticking out of water. Indy clings to this, and then uses his whip to tie himself to as it drags him through the water.

What happens to the Ark at the end of Raiders? ›

The final shot of Raiders of the Lost Ark is the warehouse in which the Ark is hidden by the U.S. government. This is later revealed in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to be Hangar 51, a government storage facility for important artifacts of supernatural or extraterrestrial importance.

Who betrayed Indiana Jones? ›

Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir (Arabic: صلاح محمد فيصل القاهر) is a fictional character played by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies in three of the Indiana Jones films: Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as well as the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the final film of the series ...

What was Indiana Jones biggest fear? ›

Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. Indiana Jones was one known victim of ophidiophobia. Although he had disliked snakes since at least 1909, it was a traumatic encounter on a circus train in 1912 that triggered Jones's ophidiophobia.

Who was the stuntman killed in Indiana Jones? ›

Bronco McLoughlin: Death of the Irish stunt legend who taught Indiana Jones to whip | Independent.ie.

Is Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny the last one? ›

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm Ltd. and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and serves as the fifth and final installment in the Indiana Jones film series.

Is Karen Allen in Dial of Destiny? ›

With the new trailer hitting for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, there are worries about whether fans will see Karen Allen in Dial of Destiny. With her not appearing, the de-aged at times Indiana Jones might be moving into this last chapter without one of his most iconic and beloved characters in tow.

What is the plot of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? ›

What is the plot of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? ›

Who betrayed Indiana Jones in the Last Crusade? ›

Elsa Schneider may have once betrayed Indiana Jones and his father in Last Crusade, but she purposely chose the wrong Grail in the film's ending. Why Dr. Elsa Schneider intentionally chose the wrong cup in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a debated topic within the famed adventure movie franchise.

Did Harrison Ford and Karen Allen get along? ›

I would say, yeah, we got along really well. I think we are both so absorbed in in getting into the film, really moving into the world of the characters in the film, that it took us a while to really kind of get to know each other.

Is Miriam in Dial of Destiny? ›

Original franchise star Karen Allen addresses whether her character, Marion Ravenwood, will appear opposite Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. After being introduced in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark as Indy's love interest, Marion wasn't included in either subsequent installment.

What ethnicity is Karen Allen? ›

Early life. Allen was born in Carrollton, Illinois, to Ruth Patricia (née Howell), a university professor, and Carroll Thompson Allen, an FBI agent. She is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh descent.

Why isn t Shia LaBeouf in Indiana Jones 5? ›

LaBeouf's departure from Indiana Jones 5 is most likely because of his contentious remarks about Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In a 2010 interview with Los Angeles Times, the actor admitted that the movie wasn't up to standard.

Why Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was bad? ›

The film was heavily criticized for its overuse of CGI, the addition of Shia LaBeouf's character as Indiana Jones' son Mutt, and the addition of aliens to the franchise. One scene in the film coined the term 'Nuking the Fridge,' now used to describe when a film franchise has gone off the rails.

Did Indiana Jones get immortality? ›

Though there is evidence that the Grail may not have made Indiana Jones truly immortal, it does seem that it may have given him some form of restorative powers. The Last Crusade does specify that the Grail only offers immortality to those who do not leave its temple.

Who is the villain in Indiana Jones Last Crusade? ›

Walter Donovan is the main antagonist of the 1989 action-adventure film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the third installment in the Indiana Jones film series.


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