Friday, July 7, 2023

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)

First of all, a big improvement over The Crystal Skull. James Mangold and the screenwriters took the best elements of the first three and remixed them into a rousing final adventure. 

Ford left it all on the field with this one, nothing phoned it at all in a performance that's all heart and soul as aging Indy. Phoebe Waller-Bridge also held her own as Indy's "Godchild" Helena Shaw who leads him on this adventure. She reminded me of Marion and a younger version of Indy, a daughter of sorts. Mads Mikkelsen was a tad perfunctory as the Nazi scientist villain. Other supporting characters were hit and miss, unfortunately Short Round was not included in the story.

The film opens with a de-aged Ford in the waning days of WWII, eluding capture from the Nazis. His mission was to retrieve stolen art and along the way stumbled upon a relic constructed by Archimedes that contains unique properties. In 1969, Indy is divorced and living alone, still teaching but trudging along with little purpose. Helena Shaw arrives and informs him escaped Nazis are after the clock.

The action set pieces are well constructed and in the tradition of the old serials. Action moves from New York, Tangiers, Athens, and eventually Sicily. Yes, the final section involves time travel, but I thought it was handled in a surprisingly subdued and even wondrous way. 

Not everything works in the film. The story gets unwieldy at times and maybe there were too many action sequences. 

Still, with the John Williams music and its themes of finding meaning in changing times. fighting the Nazis, and a refreshing sense of adventure and discovery won me over. Mangold really channeled Spielberg's style, but also made a film in line with his previous efforts Logan and Ford v Ferrari

All in all, a meaningful and well made final chapter in this saga.