I have just got back from the cinema after seeing Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. There will be spoilers ahead, but I will tag them. In a nutshell… it’s not terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I was going into this was very low expectations, I mean Rise of
Skywalker Palpatine expectations. Kathleen had been all over this and I was worried. We all know about the rumors of the ending, Pheobe Waller-Bridge, and so on. Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
The movie starts off with Indy and Basil Shaw, played by Toby Jones, trying to steal something from a German castle. Well, Indy is inside, Shaw is hiding outside. The de-aged Indy is, well, it’s bad in fact. It is de-aged Luke in The Book of Boba Fett bad. In a still frame, he looks good, but when he’s moving around he’s just expressionless.
You know how Robert Patrick in Terminator 2 didn’t really show any emotion? Even when he’s fighting Arnie, his face is just a blank? It felt like that. It’s a very obvious CG Indy, and I doubt it was even Harrison Ford’s body in places, just a stunt double.
Anyway… moving on. On the train is Dr. Voller, played by Mads Mikkelsen. Both he and Indy were looking for the spear that stabbed Jesus on the cross, the Lance of Longinus. It turns out this is a fake, but also in the treasures is the Dial of Destiny, which can locate ‘wormholes’ in time and space. I had to laugh at this, since it reminded me of the map in Time Bandits.
Voller is defeated, Indy and Shaw escape and they have one-half of the Dial of Destiny. The other half is hidden somewhere else so the movie can happen.
Jump to “modern day”, which is 1969, and they are celebrating the moon landings. And here we go with KK’s influence. Indy is now an old man, living in a broken-down apartment. The young kids next door turn up some music and he goes down to give them a piece of his mind, now that he’s an old grump.
He’s teaching at a college, but instead of all the girls being in love with him, everyone is now bored and he’s a relic, like the ones he used to find. One of the students, amongst the very diverse group, is Helena Shaw, played by PWB. Her dad is now dead and she wants to find the other half of the Dial of Destiny.
This is all in the first 15 minutes, the rest of the movie I won’t spoil too much, but it follows the same routine, we need this, go here, get that, open this etc. Paint by numbers for Indiana Jones.
The Ending – Mild Spoilers
As you probably know, the end of the movie does have Romans in it and yes, they do go back in time to somewhere around 200A.D. Was this bloody silly? Yes, of course it was, but it also kind of worked. The way they get there isn’t completely unreal. The problem was the entire sequence was then just stupid. They get there in a plane and you can clearly see Roman boats fighting and flinging missiles at the enemy, but there is a range issue that doesn’t make sense here. You will see what I mean.
Also, one of the German guys on the plane just starts shooting people. I still have no idea why, but it comes across like a scene from a Vietnam movie with one of the gun-happy Yanks shooting at Gooks for the fun of it. Feels out of place.
What does NOT happen is what we all feared. Helena does not become Indie and she does not relive his best moments. Phew!
The main problem with the end was it was very sappy and then it just kind of ended. I was expecting something bigger or better, but the movie just finished on two cliches and then the credits role. It was very underwhelming.
The Main Problem
The biggest problem with the movie is PWB. As I said, they did to Indy what they did to Luke Skywalker, so Helena is better than Indy, drives better than him, can swing a punch, and is cocky and overbearing for pretty much all the time she’s on screen.
I’m sure I read they did a re-edit of the movie cutting down her time, which is amazing, since she’s pretty insufferable now, if there was more of her it would have been horrendous. I’ve never seen Fleabag and there is nothing on earth now that would make me watch it with her in it.
I said in my reviews of the other Indiana Jones movies, that the CG is part of the downfall of them when it happens. In Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, there seems to be very little that is actually real. There are good chunks of the movie that are CG, and if they aren’t, they look like they are. It’s not nice to watch.
The de-aged Indy is horrible and so are a few other scenes, like when he’s on the horse, from the trailer. In the movie it is really noticeable.
Honestly, even Ford isn’t all that good in this, but then he is in his 80s. You can see he’s in his 80s, it really shows. With Helena being the main focus of the movie, I felt that it was more like Helena Shaw and the Dial of Destiny, with a special guest star appearance by Harrison Ford.
Sallah, played by John Rhys-Davies is back, but man he looks like a stiff breeze would knock him over. Antonio Banderas was a pointless character, really stupid to be honest. Mikkelsen is solid, but then, he is in whatever he does. He seems to be the only one having fun, well, apart from PWB since the movie was about her.
James Mangold is a solid director who has made some great movies. His direction here is good, but the main problem is, he’s trying to compete with Spielberg at his best. Sorry, but there isn’t a director alive who could hold a candle to Speilberg at the height of his career. He does turn out a fun movie, but there are just too many problems with it. The story seemed to have been passed around like a cheap hooker at a rich man’s party, which left things in a mess. Every time Indy and gang would head somewhere, Voller and gang would just seem to be there too.
Even though Dial of Destiny was a mess, I feel like I was, well, entertained. I don’t know if I could get through it again, not with seeing ‘old man Indy’ playing second fiddle to the amazing Helena, but I feel like I had fun. It’s weird.
I’m giving Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 2 solid stars out of 5. On a rewatch, that might change though.
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