film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny 2023 * * * Stars


Let's get this right out of the way shall we, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fourth best entry in the franchise's 42-year canon. That basically means it's better than "Crystal Skull" (basically). "Dial's" running time is almost two and a half hours but it doesn't feel like it. And there's plenty of loud, bone-crunching stuff even though you can't fully see who's shooting and/or punching who.

Now am I going to recommend Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny? I am but for reasons other than that rip-roaring, caper medium. Yup, "Dial" feels just like an Indiana Jones pic until it well, doesn't. The incorporation of time travel and everyone's favorite archaeologist, yeah I can dig it.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny takes place in 1969 with an opening flashback via World War II. James Mangold takes over the reins as director from Steven Spielberg. Yeah I'm not going to lie, Mangold is a solid storyteller and the way "Dial" unfolds in its last act is truly awesome and invigorating. As for the look of the film, well it too is solid, all glistening and shiny and CGI'd to the hilt.

What Mangold lacks however, is Spielberg's aptness for staging action sequences, you know the attention to detail, the editing, the spine-chilling progression (revert back to first paragraph). Heck, "Dial" isn't really action adventure, it's more like a revealing family dramatization coupled with elongated chase concatenations. It's as if James Mangold couldn't let Ford v Ferrari go.

Oh well. "Dial" is overall, fast-faced and mostly entertaining (if you can suspend a little aerodynamic disbelief). "Raiders" had the ark, "Temple of Doom" had the stones, "Last Crusade" had the Holy Grail, and "Crystal Skull" had the gulp, alien skull (ugh). Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has the pursuit of an Archimedes Dial (there's always a pursuit).

With star Harrison Ford at an all-time curmudgeon level (what'd you expect, he's 80) and co-star Phoebe Waller-Bridge dutifully on board (she plays goddaughter Helena Shaw), "Dial" is a summer movie that's an open mind alternative to DC and Marvel fodder (that would be Spidey and The Flash). Manifest "destiny".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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