Reviewed by Cliff Homewood
It sounds like a computer game; classic Indy never did alliteration.
Today’s history lesson is Archimedes.
Good to see the Aliethiometer again. Oops, wrong franchise, the Antikythera mechanism (dial of destiny), is a real device, purported to be designed by Archimedes. Regarded as the first computer. I thought Babbage’s was, but not surprised the ancient Greeks got there first. They frequently did. My favourite, discovering the Earth was round by the shadow of the Earth on the Moon. In reality the Antikythera predicted eclipses, assisted celestial navigation and is the McMuffin for this film (I know it’s McGuffin but a McMuffin chase is much more fun!)
Harrison Ford, 80, asked why it’s the last Indiana Jones movie, replied “Isn’t it obvious?” Classic Star Trek movies stopped when the studio feared a cast member might die before completion.
The first Indiana Jones film that Steven Spielberg hasn’t directed, he stated “It’s really, really a good Indiana Jones film. I’m really proud of what Jim has done with it” He then said during a screening “Damn! I thought I was the only one who knew how to make one of these.” He chose the director and was involved as executive producer so maybe he’s biased.
The director, James Mangold, uses practical effects wherever possible. CGI was used for the beginning, which follows Indy after The Last Crusade, and works mostly. Harrison Ford wanted to do all his stunts but was talked around, the script generally avoids stunts for him. Possibly its best action sequence is him driving a tuk-tuk.
It has some good action sequences. Train-top fights always work. But gets muddled on who’s chasing whom and why. The film’s too long (2hr 34m) and drags past the 2 hour mark (the length of other Indy films). Mads Mikkelson’s a good actor but like The Crimes of Grindewald feels miscast, vivacious energy is required to pep up the Nazi scenes as Indy’s starting to feel old hat. Phoebe Waller collapsing Bridge is her usual delightful self. Phoebe holds your attention as does Short Round mk II, Ethan Isidore. The back story worked as fresh. Indy has some heart wrenching moments allowing Harrison to shine and Toby Jones is always reliable. John Rhys Davies (Sallah) turned down a cameo in Kingdom of Crystal Skull but returns here. Antonio Banderas plays Indy’s old friend; Indiana Jones was indeed inspired by Zorro.
Reviews indicated that it’s this film’s job to make Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull look good. Put me in a fridge and roll me down a hill but I liked Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (perhaps you’d prefer to throw a nuclear bomb at me!) My sense of belief broke in the fridge (Temple of Doom had the incredulous dinghy drop but was brief and thrilling) but I found it entertaining and as a sci-fi fan I love aliens! Dial of Destiny drags but didn’t challenge credibility so it depends on your preference.
Harrison Ford stated “When I’m gone, he’s gone” … going by it underperforming he could well be right.