'Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny' review: A fond farewell to the fedora


'The Dial Of Destiny' gives Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. the fond farewell he deserves. — Photos: Walt Disney Company Malaysia

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny
Director: James Mangold
Cast: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, Ethann Isidore and Mads Mikkelsen.

Midway through this movie, Indiana Jones takes a pause to think about his past exploits and says that after all the strange things he has done in his life, he’s come to realise that “It’s not what you believe, but how hard you believe it”.

Well, I tried hard to believe that Indiana Jones could have a grand sending off with his final movie as well, but I guess I’ll have to settle for it being just a ‘good enough’ goodbye.

Set in 1969, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is now a crotchety old and retiring professor with quite a bit of emotional baggage. But he is forced to don the fedora once again when his god daughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) shows up looking for an ancient dial called the Antikythera which Indy and her father Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) retrieved from Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) back in 1944. Voller wants the dial back, as he believes it may hold the key to changing the world to one more of his own liking.

Well, at least I don’t have to put up with Shia and his CGI monkeys anymore.Well, at least I don’t have to put up with Shia and his CGI monkeys anymore.

The Dial Of Destiny isn’t a bad film. In fact, it’s quite entertaining, and hits the correct beats you expect it to hit when it comes to an Indy film, and dials up the nostalgia factor as well.

But somehow, there just seems to be something missing from this latest and quite possibly final installment of the beloved franchise. It’s lacking a little bit of soul, and its heart feels like it was ripped out by Kali and put back with a few bits missing.

Maybe it’s the fact that at 80, Ford just isn’t the action hero you want him to be anymore. His movements are slower, which makes the action a little more forced, his voice is more slurred, which makes Indy’s lines seem a bit forced. But that crooked smirk is still there, and boy does he wear that fedora well.

Please place your bets and try to ignore the big bad Nazi over there.Please place your bets and try to ignore the big bad Nazi over there.

It’s not that Ford can’t carry the role anymore, but in trying to replicate the frenetic, fast-paced adventures of the first three films from the 1980s, director James Mangold has somehow created an Indiana Jones movie in which Indy himself seems to be a bystander in his own movie.

It’s a conundrum that Steven Spielberg struggled with in 2008’s much-maligned Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, in which he had to pair a then-65 year old Ford with Shia LeBeouf in order to keep things going.

While the spirited Waller-Bridge does a much better job of supporting Ford this time around compared to Shia Lebeouf, it still feels awkward to see an 80-year-old Ford still trying to do the things a 38-year-old Indy used to do in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

Maybe it's time I sail off into the sunset too...Maybe it's time I sail off into the sunset too...

It also doesn’t help that many of the set-pieces either drag on for too long (especially the seemingly never-ending prologue featuring a digitally de-aged Ford fighting Nazis atop a train in 1944), while other parts of the 154-minute-long film will have you looking at the dial on your wrist constantly. Granted, things do pick up in the final third of the movie, but couldn’t they get to it at least 20 minutes sooner?

Still, at least this gives Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr. the fond farewell he deserves. And like Indy learns in The Last Crusade, even if you want or love something really badly, sometimes you just have to let it go.

7 10

Summary:

A fun if over-long last crusade.

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