“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” Delivers a Nostalgic Farewell for Harrison Ford

by Ethan Kim
swashbuckling adventure

In the realm of Hollywood franchises, goodbyes often hold little weight. Death is no longer a definitive end for characters or even actors, thanks to technology, nostalgia, and the persistent recycling of brands and intellectual properties. This disheartening cycle has tainted our beloved memories, tarnishing what we hold dear.

Yet, when Harrison Ford declares his retirement from the iconic Indiana Jones role, there’s a genuine belief that this is indeed farewell, for better or worse. Producer Frank Marshall claims they won’t replace Ford in the role, though the promise seems questionable and subject to the whims of future executives hungry for a reboot.

Nonetheless, it’s challenging to approach “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” premiering in theaters this Friday, without a tinge of melancholy. This emotional backdrop is far from ideal for a movie that should primarily be a fun-filled summer blockbuster, but it does lend a poignant air to the entire endeavor, regardless of the film’s merits.

If only the movie didn’t begin with the perplexing use of de-aging technology, albeit the best we’ve ever seen, which still manages to unsettle. We’re presented with a 45-year-old Indiana Jones performing daring stunts atop a speeding train—perhaps to introduce the film’s MacGuffin, the Archimedes Antikythera, a genuine ancient device with extraordinary predictive powers, now bestowed with supernatural abilities within the story.

However, the true purpose is clear—to let us gaze upon that familiar face and embark on one final adventure with the Indy of our childhood before returning to reality, where an almost 80-year-old Ford (he turns 81 in July) portrays a septuagenarian Indy.

While this isn’t inherently sad, Dr. Jones’ reintroduction couldn’t be less glamorous: he’s shown sleeping in a reclining chair in a somber New York apartment, clutching a glass of alcohol, and clad in threadbare boxer shorts. He personifies depression, having retired from a university where the students barely acknowledge his presence (gone are the days of eyelid confessions), estranged from Karen Allen’s Marion, and observing a world gone mad with space fever.

We witness him gradually reclaim his adventurous spirit, without the need for training montages but with a plane ticket, his timeless attire (still fitting!), and his improvisational genius. The convoluted plot, credited to Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp, and Mangold, struggles to justify the quest for the Antikythera. The FBI, Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller (played by Mads Mikkelsen), for whom the war hasn’t ended, and Basil’s daughter (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), who has gone mad chasing the gadget, all vie for its possession. The film becomes excessively intricate, accompanied by action sequences that are visually murky and overly elaborate, such as the train scene in 1944 and the deep-sea diving with killer eels. However, the movie shines when it embraces its tactile, classic action moments, like the brilliantly executed rickshaw chase in Tangier.

Waller-Bridge’s Helena is an immensely enjoyable character—a brilliant archaeologist herself who has chosen a more glamorous yet dangerous existence, dealing in stolen antiquities and escaping debt. Introduced as a wild card, she brings tension to the story as we wonder whether Indy should trust her. Their sharp-witted camaraderie, devoid of romance, creates a compelling dynamic between two kindred spirits from different generations. However, in a film spanning nearly two and a half hours, there should have been more time devoted to beloved returning characters like John Rhys-Davies’ Sallah, although he does have a few standout moments.

It’s uncertain if anyone truly yearned to know Indiana Jones’ recent exploits, but at least this installment provides closure superior to “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Perhaps Ford desired to bid farewell to one of his iconic characters, finally freeing himself from endless inquiries.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” may not reach the heights of “Raiders” or “The Last Crusade,” but it delivers a solid, swashbuckling summer experience and provides a dignified farewell to one of cinema’s most perfectly cast roles.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” distributed by Walt Disney Co., hits theaters on Friday and is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for its language, action sequences, violence, and smoking. The running time is 144 minutes. Rating: Two and a half stars out of four.

MPA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about swashbuckling adventure

Is “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” the final Indiana Jones movie?

While it is presented as a farewell to Harrison Ford’s portrayal of Indiana Jones, the future of the franchise remains uncertain. Producer Frank Marshall has stated they won’t recast the character, but plans could change if a new executive demands a reboot.

How does “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” compare to previous Indiana Jones films?

While it may not reach the heights of classics like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “The Last Crusade,” the film provides a solid and swashbuckling summer blockbuster experience. It aims to deliver a dignified sendoff to one of cinema’s most iconic roles.

Are there any notable new characters in the movie?

Yes, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character, Helena, is a brilliant archaeologist who adds an enjoyable dynamic to the story. She brings tension as audiences wonder if Indiana Jones should trust her. Their non-romantic pairing creates a compelling camaraderie between two sharp-witted individuals from different generations.

What is the rating and runtime of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”?

The movie is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association for language, action, sequences of violence, and smoking. The runtime of the film is approximately 144 minutes.

Does the movie rely on de-aging technology for Harrison Ford’s character?

Yes, the movie utilizes de-aging technology to present a younger version of Indiana Jones. While the technology is the best it has ever looked, it can still be somewhat unsettling for viewers. This technique allows audiences to see a younger Indy in action before transitioning to the present-day, with an almost 80-year-old Harrison Ford portraying the character.

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IndyFan4Life July 1, 2023 - 7:14 am

the de-aging technology is gonna be super cool! can’t wait to see young indy again. and of course, harrison ford is a legend, even at almost 80! gonna be a swashbuckling adventure, just like the old days!

FilmGeek87 July 1, 2023 - 7:58 am

I’m a huge indiana jones fan and i’ve been waiting for this movie for like forever! the nostalgia and the farewell to harrison ford’s indiana jones is gonna hit me right in the feels. can’t wait to see it!

CinemaAddict22 July 1, 2023 - 8:50 am

omg phoebe waller-bridge is in this?! love her!! so excited for her character and her chemistry with harrison ford. gonna be epic!! indiana jones forever!

AdventureSeeker July 1, 2023 - 2:06 pm

indiana jones is like soooooo legendary, and harrison ford is the best indiana jones ever!!! hope this movie is as good as the old ones, gonna be so cool to see indy back in action!!

MovieFan93 July 1, 2023 - 5:24 pm

lindsey bahr is awesome she always gives good reviews! indiana jones is such a cool character cant wait to see this one! hope it lives up to the old ones!


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