Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Anna Kane, Online News Editor, discusses the wonderfully nostalgic and feel-good elements of the new Indiana Jones.
I was persuaded by die-hard Harrison Ford fans (my dad and brother) to join them at the cinema to watch Indiana Jones and the The Dial of Destiny. Old memories of having to sit through Raiders of the Lost Ark haunted me, but I couldn’t bare to deprive my dad of the nostalgic experience that this was bound to be.
My apprehensions were ill-founded, as it turned out to be a fantastic, feel-good adventure story.
The film used unseen footage of a young Harrison Ford, using CGI to make it seem as though the now 81-year-old actor hadn’t aged. The opening scene saw the younger, familiar Indiana attempt to retrieve a valuable archaeological object from a moving train. The effect was so realistic that it was a shock when the next scene opened with the older Indy, resulting in a comedic comparison of the former’s energy with the latter’s crankiness.
The effect was so realistic that it was a shock when the next scene opened with the older Indy, resulting in a comedic comparison of the former’s energy with the latter’s crankiness.
The director, James Mangold, certainly succeeded in cementing the adventure element. There were two chase scenes that stood out to me. The first involved Indiana riding a horse through New York, and the second, a tuk-tuk in Morocco. These were defined by their interesting settings and wit.
The simplicity of the plot was effective as it made it accessible for younger watchers — an important factor considering the film’s 12A rating. It followed the classic Indiana Jones storyline of a search for long-lost powerful archaeological objects. This time, the objects were sections of the ‘Antikythera’- a dial made by Archimedes that allows its owner to travel through time. This was an interesting choice, as it allowed the history of Nazism- which informed some of the earlier movies- to be reexplored as the antagonist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) seeks to time-travel back to Nazi Germany to change the course of the war.
The supernatural element this created, involving Indy and his companions ending up at the Siege of Syracuse, annoyed me at first. It was only after remembering that a magical element was present in all the Indiana Jones films that I re-considered my attitude. Indiana’s elation on arriving in ancient Greece, and his reluctance to leave, was also wholesome. This scene is what made me fonder of Indiana’s companion, Helena Shaw (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Where I at first found her stubborn personality grating, her decision to knock Indiana out to make sure he made it back to the present-day made me appreciate her. It also meant that we didn’t have to endure another iconic Harrison Ford character death (Star Wars fans will know my pain).
It was only after remembering that a magical element was present in all the Indiana Jones films that I re-considered my attitude.
The dénouement contained a beautiful moment of tenderness. Indiana was reunited with his iconic love, Marion Ravenwood (played by Karen Allen), which rounded off the Jones saga perfectly. It was pleasing to see her feature, given the ageism debates surrounding Kelly McGillis’ absence from the recent Top Gun.
Though I have never been taken in by the Indiana Jones franchise, I enjoyed this film. My greatest enjoyment however, came from witnessing the nostalgia it provoked which really, was its point.