So after years of turmoil, rumours, shit-stirring, fear-mongering, and near-on hysterics over Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny, we are finally here. And you know what… it wasn’t half bad! That’s right Outposters, pick your jaws off the floors because I actually really enjoyed it.
I started writing this yesterday before the Livestream (which you can watch here), but I ran out of time, so now I know what Boba Phil’s views are, I’ll try not to repeat anything he’s already done. There will be minor spoilers but they’re mainly to give you an idea about the story.
The Old Familiar Indy
So the film kicks off in the classic Indiana Jones style where we are introduced to Indy who is halfway through some caper that he has to escape from. He’s up against those pesky Nazis again and it’s 1945 at the end of WWII with the Nazis on their last legs.
We’re treated, yes I said treated, to the usual bombastic scenarios we’ve grown to love from this franchise. Copious amounts of punches to faces with that glorious sound effect, Indy doing the impossible and defying the laws of gravity and physics, and some well-timed minor slapstick comedy moments that don’t distract you from the tension, a problem that plagues modern movies (looking at you Flash). All in all, we are off to a surprisingly good start.
This is a de-aged Harrison Ford and it doesn’t look that bad, to be honest. The quality is the same as the de-aging of Tony Stark in whatever Avengers movie that was. However, my only real gripe here is the familiar problem humans have with seeing a CGI face, it just seems a little off. It works fine when he’s talking or walking, but that niggly feeling your brain generates happens when Indy is required to show anger or panic and it is a little off-putting at times.
Indy is accompanied by his pal, Basil Shaw (played by Toby Jones) and they both set off on a full-on and relentless action pursuit trying to recover an artifact from Jürgen Voller, played by the always impeccable Mads Mikkelsen. With the help of this artifact, this is Voller’s last-ditch attempt to avoid losing the war. Without spoiling it, because it’s part of the film’s synopsis, the artifact is a fake but all is not lost because it actually paves the way to them discovering half of Archimedes Dial, which is based on a real-life artifact called the Antikythera. Now this bad boy really can help Voller avoid defeat!
So now the stakes are even higher and Indy and the Nazis are going all out. I almost feel like I’m watching an Indiana Jones film. I say almost because of the use of CGI over practical effects. Real stunts are something that made the Indiana Jones films so nail-biting and exhilarating. Unfortunately, CGI never gives you that edge-of-the-seat excitement, and for something like Indiana Jones in particular, this was a poor decision by Mangold.
Indiana Jones And That Fleabag Woman
So after the craziness mentioned above, we fast forward to modern-day Indy, 1969 to be precise and there is a big ticker-tape parade happening as Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins have safely returned from
Stanley Kubrick’s movie set, I mean the moon, and America is going crazy in celebration.
Indy is now older than dirt, in a shitty little apartment, asleep in his pants in front of the TV. And this is where I start to worry that all the goodness I just witnessed is about to come crashing down in a Luke Skywalker style with our hero reduced to crap. The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour is blaring out from the apartment downstairs, which wakes Indy and sets him off on some miserable quest to tell those hippy kids to keep the noise down. I’m beginning to panic and I can hear Doomock laughing at my naivety.
I won’t go into too much detail, but it’s Indy’s last day as a professor as he’s being thrown a little retirement do. He’s grumpy and couldn’t care less so heads off to the bar and this is where we properly meet that Fleabag Woman. She starts talking to Indy and introduces herself as his Goddaughter, Helana Shaw, Basil’s daughter, who he hasn’t spoken to for years. They get reacquainted and she tells Indy she’s looking for Antikythera, something her late father was obsessed with.
Now, a lot has been made about Pheobe Waller-Bridge of late. Many seem to really hate her but I’ll be honest, I think she’s OK. Fleabag was a show the missus started watching, that I ended up actually enjoying. I think the opening scene of Fleabag where she’s in bed and turns to the audience to tell us she’s taking it up the arse, was the attention grabber I needed.
Again, no spoilers but one thing leads to another and Indy takes Helena up the arse, nope, that was the other show. Indy takes Helena back to his college and this is where the bad guys who have been watching Helena, reveal themselves which sets us up on a whole new action sequence. Again with the CGI! Let’s be done with it and start using stuntmen and practical effects again.
MacGuffins, Doomock And Online Hysterics
Now look, I could go on and on about what happens in this film but that would contain far too many spoilers and you don’t need me to dissect every little detail, so let me wrap this up. This film takes elements and lessons from the original three (Crystal Skull doesn’t count) and reworks them for Indiana Jones‘ latest and hopefully last adventure.
We have the race across the globe to find the next set of clues. We have baddies always arriving after Indy only to take his spoils. And we have some old familiar faces that have been with us from the start. It’s familiar Indiana Jones and I loved it.
Helena has a sidekick in Tommy, a young lad who hero-worships her for all the wrong reasons. He’s basically her Shortround but without the charm or charisma. I’ll put that down to Helena’s lack of moral compass who only sees the financial rewards of archeology and screwing people over. So, with that as a role model, it’s no wonder he’s left lacking.
Some will undoubtedly claim that Helena is a Mary Sue but I never found this to be the case. There are instances where Indy saves her, she saves him, and a few times, she tries to save him, only to fuck it up and she needs saving herself. She is headstrong and impulsive and the dynamic between her and Indy is not too dissimilar to Indy and his Dad in The Last Crusade. I’m not saying Indy is reduced to relying on anyone to save him, like Henry Senior, but he’s older and wiser and quite often brings Helena down a peg or two.
All in all, the dynamic between Indy, Helena, and Tommy works well. Where Helena occasionally reminds Indy of his age, he’s quick to point out her ignorance. It’s a good balance. She brings back the fire in Indy’s belly that he thought was long gone, and she gains a mentor and a new appreciation of archeology. Tommy can only benefit from both.
Doomock has been harping on for over a year about how shit this film is going to be, but overall, this was really enjoyable from start to finish. So either Doomcock’s sources are rubbish and unreliable, or he made enough noise to force Lucasfilm’s hand and make changes. We’ll never know. My advice for Mangold would be to fire the entire marketing department who worked on this film because they’ve sold him short. The trailers looked like trash and nothing was done to put people’s very worse fears to rest.
Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny was an unexpected delight and a fitting send-off. Yeah, I’m in shock too!
P.S. It loses half a star for the lack of practical effects!
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