Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth adventure for the archaeologist turned treasure hunter, taking place right after the Moon landing in 1969! Dial of Destiny is the follow-up to Spielberg’s last Indy adventure, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which took place in 1957. The reason these dates are important is because it’s also important to remember that Harrison Ford is now 80 years old and has returned for a sequel without Steven Spielberg. That’s not to say that director James Mangold was a bad choice for this franchise, but I personally feel that we’re a bit too far gone for another ride with Indiana Jones. In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film allowed Han Solo to be an older character and didn’t ask the impossible of him physically, instead leaning on his emotion. With Dial of Destiny, the film works exceptionally hard to fit around an older and slower Ford who is trying to keep up with the rest of the younger cast.
There are some painstaking moments where the gripping action slows down to a halt to allow Indy to make a narrow escape. In the real world, we know someone this old isn’t getting away from bullets and bloodthirsty bandits and it doesn’t feel real that Indy makes as many escapes as he does. We’re also treated to a digitally de-aged Harrison Ford for the first 20 minutes as we watch the setup of the Dial of Destiny some 20-30 years back. Had they not shined any light in his face, you may have been fooled by the CGI face on new young man’s body, but alas the film feels the need to shine a spotlight on the false nature of the character and it feels even more bizarre and more of a reason to not make a film with an 80-year-old.
On top of that, the adventure and treasure hunting feel far less interesting this time around and the film doesn’t feel nearly as enjoyable as the first three entries. The villain could’ve been far more involved, and the third act delves into some of the same issues people had with Crystal Skull, making Dial of Destiny even more curious of a $300 million greenlit project. I don’t see audiences connecting with this iteration anymore than the last and it serves as yet another reminder that sometimes we need to let perfect things be, and we need to move forward with new ideas and new stories.
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