A lot of long-running franchises have one title that legendarily sucks (in some cases, more than one). However, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ain’t one of ‘em. I’m not quite sure what its naysayers were expecting, but maybe having any kind of expectations for “legacy” sequels is a bad idea to begin with. I learned that lesson long ago with The Phantom Menace.
Spielberg may not have directed this one (James Mangold takes the reins here), but if nothing else, it feels more like a real Indiana Jones movie than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull or the abominable Temple of Doom (the ongoing reverence for that one still escapes me). And while we probably didn’t need a fifth film, it does give Indy a nice send-off.
Leaving your cynicism at the door helps, of course. The film pays plenty of nostalgic fan-service through cameos, references to previous films and John Williams’ classic music cues. But aside from a flashback prologue featuring a (badly) de-aged Harrison Ford, the film makes no bones about the fact that times have changed since Indy’s glory days and he’s now an old man, and an amusingly crotchety one at that.
|"Look! The jacket still fits!"
With no expectations, I enjoyed the whole thing. Despite a daunting running time, the film is pretty fast moving and features a few impressive action set-pieces. Sure, one can point-out moments of wonky CGI, but really, every entry in the franchise has had moments where the special effects weren’t all that great. And while a skeptic with no sense of fun might balk at the franchise once-again delving into sci-fi territory, it's still more believable than a quest for magic rocks (the plot of Temple of Doom, a movie that even managed to forget about Indy’s fear of snakes).
Does Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny rank up there with the original Raiders of the Lost Ark? Of course not…what movie does? But as a nostalgic adventure with a lot of heart and humor, the film does its job quite nicely. And for some of us, it’s great to see Indy break-out the whip and fedora one last time.
THE MAKING OF INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY - Divided into 5 chapters, totaling just under an hour.