He’s Back!

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Stars: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Toby Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Antonio Banderas, John Rhys-Davies, Boyd Holbrook, Tehann Isidore and Karen Allen
Director: James Mangold
Composer: John Williams
Cinematography: Phedon Papamichael
Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd
Rated: PG 13
|Running Length: 155 Minutes

What else can you say? After waiting so long, Harrison Ford appears as Indiana Jones again. Ageless and still ready for action.  In this film, the time line ranges from 1944 to 1969. Harrison Ford has run with the character of Indiana Jones for over 40 years. This is the fifth film in the series and of all of them, my favorite is still the first, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” That Ark may be lost, but that type of  Raiders are still here. Someone else is familiar, none other than Karen Allen. as Marion. James Mangold is the new director and not Steven Spielberg. However – hark – who does the music?  Yes, John Williams is at the music helm. What makes this whole film fall into place? Harrison Ford keeps cool and goes with the flow.  What did this film cost? Three hundred million dollars, so fans get ready for two trips to the movie theater. You may not get it all in at one sitting. If by any chance this is your first “Indiana Jones” film, there is plenty of time to catch the other films streaming somewhere on the planet.

Now for the story. We begin in the early part of the 1940’s with the Allies trying to free Europe from the Nazi’s. Indiana Jones and friend, Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) are caught. They are trying to get the Dial of Destiny, which dates back to the time of Archimedes and is supposed to be linked to time travel.  What a prize this would be. Of course, all during this time and a great part of the film, are escapes, captures, chase scenes and everything that adds up to adventure and to keep the audience on the edge of their theater seats. Back to Jones, what he and Basil were looking for turns out to be fake, but, on a train, full of antique goods the Nazi’s are trying to hide stolen art (remember the film “Monument Men”). Jones and friend do get the Dial of Destiny.

Fast forward to 1969, and Indiana is separated from his wife, Marion (Karen Allen) and this is a stressful and emotional time for them. Indiana begins easing into retirement at his college. Who should appear, but his god-daughter, Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), her father being Basil. She studies archeology, also, getting her degrees there, and wants to get the Dial for selfish reasons. Turns out the Dial is in two pieces  and so the chase begins again.  The villain is Voller (Mads Mikkelsen who does a villain so well) and he now works for NASA and their space program. He has a special reason for wanting the Dial. So, the chases begin with Indiana and Helena and even an old boyfriend of hers, Rahim. The travels include Greece, Sicily and even to a certain War.  All the while after the Dial and trying to change time and this is why the film is 150 minutes long.

The special effects are very well done, especially the plane ones. Harrison Ford holds up to the bravery that is characteristic of Indiana Jones. Though he is famous for his action films including the “Star Wars” movies, my favorite film is “Witness” where the character he plays is falling in love with someone he can’t have.  Ford’s trademarks are his slight smirk at just the right moment, a touch of sarcasm and he is already looking over the next hill.  This is what the audience gets in this film. Other actors are fine, including Mads Mikkelsen’s “Voller” as a villain trying to be almost nice. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays a deceptive Helen and you never quite know what she is up to. However, in the long run, she doesn’t quite have the tenacity the role requires.  Karen Allen, as Marion Ravenwood is always a pleasure to watch, and you wish there were more of her in the film.

The movie does seem to go on and on at times, and the Dial of Destiny is quite a name for this special object they are chasing. No space aliens and motherships hovering overhead. But, the film gains momentum in the second half and then all hands on deck and away we go. I especially enjoyed the first 25 minutes that sets the tone for the film and shows that no matter what your age, if you began as an actor, at age 80 you are still an actor. As Harrison Ford is quoted as saying, “All I ever wanted to be was an actor.”  Aim for 100, Harrison, and your audience will still be with you.

Copyright 2023 Marie Asner