Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)
July 1, 2023 3:54 PM - Subscribe

It’s 1969, and archaeology Professor Jones is on the eve of his retirement when he is pulled into an adventure to retrieve a purportedly powerful ancient artifact before dangerous and ruthless enemies get their hands on it.

Nazis get punched.
posted by fimbulvetr (28 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It wasn’t a travesty. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was snappy, although her character isn’t quite set up correctly, so that too much time is spent re-establishing how she relates to Indy or whether she’s bad or good. Yes, Harrison ford is elderly. Many vehicles of poor or working-class people are stolen and destroyed by our heroes. Disregard for human life, including that of innocent bystanders, is rampant. But it’s mechanically well done, if overlong.

The time gap was bizarre. The movie begins in 1945, goes to 1969 and Indiana Jones has aged about 50 years.

As for the fundamental question of whether it needed to be made, well, no. But it’s a light drizzle of good entertainment with no fatal flaws. Goes well with popcorn.
posted by argybarg at 10:09 PM on July 1, 2023 [4 favorites]

Me looking at watch, seeing there’s only 15 minutes left: WHAT is going on here?!?!!!

It was not awful but it wasn’t very good either. A screenwriter friend described it as “inert and unengaging” which I have to second. I was never enraptured by the action sequences nor delighted by any comedic moments. Again, I’m not saying it’s terrible, I’m glad people like it, but as a huge fan of the first three (yes, I like a lot of Temple of Doom, even) this was another disappointment.

One thing that really grated was just how brutal the movie was. So many people are killed! Did we really need to spend so long with that machine gun in the train ripping through the carriages? Or see the heavy being handcuffed underwater to drown ?
posted by adrianhon at 2:56 AM on July 2, 2023 [7 favorites]

I went to see it today in Tokyo. I fell in love with Harrison Ford when I was 8 years old (Han Solo) and have been a fan ever since. I enjoyed it, it was a romp, and I cried a bit at the end. Yes, suspension of disbelief becomes hard at times but it was heck of a lot better than the fourth installment, so overall I enjoyed it and right now I'm just kind of really glad I've been able to follow my first favorite movie star's career up to this point.
posted by misozaki at 5:07 AM on July 2, 2023 [8 favorites]

I enjoyed this, although I still think Last Crusade was the perfect Indiana Jones movie and everything since has been extraneous.

I'd seen an interview with Harrison Ford talking about wanting to do an Indiana Jones movie that really addressed aging, and I think this movie does that pretty well. That cut first cut to 1960s Indy after the de-aged Nazi castle/train/bridge opener is pretty powerful. I think the movie does a decent job of showing his regrets without getting overly depressing.

The plot is held together with chewing gum (like the tuk tuk engine...) but it mostly chugs along in an entertaining fashion. It was cool to get an exploring a shipwreck scene, although I felt they went a little heavy on the eels.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge was fun, but I didn't feel like her relationship with Harrison Ford had much depth, adorable wombat nickname aside. I would rather have gotten more of Marion Ravenwood, and I gather at one point before Mangold took over, this was envisioned as more of an Indy and Marion story. I never got to see that movie, so maybe it would have been worse, but knowing Karen Allen was available and basically just got a cameo is a disappointment.

I know we don't have to hide spoilers in fanfare, but thoughts on the ending 4 comments in when I've seen pretty mixed reviews and assume people will pop in to see if it's worth their time feel like they can go behind a
wee arrow.

I thought it was pretty funny that this successful rocket scientist who put people on the moon was willing to throw it all away to go back in time and kill Hitler so the Nazis could succeed. Extremely bad priorities, Mads. Good job not trying to complicate/sympathize with a fucking Nazi in our current political environment, film makers.

I like the time travel element to the plot, for how it ties into the themes of aging and regrets. Also, the way Indy's love of history seems out of step with the times, as everyone celebrates the moon landing, the exciting promises of the future, etc. The temptation to stay with Archimedes feels genuine.

But I did not like that Indy doesn't ultimately decide to return to his time, but instead gets knocked out and dragged back by Helena, who also brings back Marion to reconcile with Indy while he's unconscious. I don't feel like there was anything in Helena's character development or the development of her relationship with Indy that earned that. I like the idea of her forcing him to come to terms with the hand he's dealt and make the most of it - that forced choice card trick, you see - but I think the end needed more breathing room to make it feel like he had more agency in accepting his lot.

posted by the primroses were over at 5:40 AM on July 2, 2023 [12 favorites]

I only have one thing to say: Antonio Banderas???
posted by cendawanita at 9:03 AM on July 2, 2023 [7 favorites]

Yeah, but he was only a 4/10 or so on the Banderas scale.

I thought this was alright. It didn't tickle any massive nostalgia buttons for me but by god it was better than the last one. I only realised after that the dead son he talks about must be Shia LaBeouf, so not all doom and gloom. Mads makes a good nazi, so dapper.

PWB makes for a better action star than I would have thought likely if you had told me someone was going to set her up as an action star.
posted by biffa at 11:28 AM on July 2, 2023 [3 favorites]

I enjoyed much of it, but yeah, it was 40 minutes too long, and had 400% too many casual deaths.

Concur it would have been better with more Marion.

I entertained myself with the logical gaps: how did anyone cross the bridge in the cave after the big galoot fell through it? How could there be a bridge in the cave that was still sound enough to walk after 2000 years?

... I did like the Linear B bit, though: at least they didn't make Helena or Indy suddenly solve Linear B!

But oh, way too many passersby got killed, and yet Indy really only seems upset about the secretary in the college and his old friend the diving-boat captain.
posted by suelac at 6:25 PM on July 2, 2023 [2 favorites]

The movie begins in 1945, goes to 1969 and Indiana Jones has aged about 50 years.

Must be the long-term impact of all that radiation he absorbed at the last movie's a-bomb test site.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:57 AM on July 3, 2023 [7 favorites]

Felt way, WAY too long for what little it delivered. Say what you want about Spielberg but there's no way he would have let some of the scenes in this movie drag on as long as they did. The Morocco chase scene felt like an utter eternity. And that final act was just nonsense, bonkers writing that felt like they had a totally different ending in mind and scrapped it at the last minute.

The biggest problem for me beyond the length was that it just felt joyless and emotionally inert. Which, if that's your thing, fine- go with it! Show us exactly what it means to be a 70-something nobody former globetrotting adventurer/professor whose life is at best a shambles and whose best days are now long behind him. I felt like for a brief moment there was going to be a more introspective Indy, when he first gets out of bed and we see how much the world has moved on from what it was. A meditation on a depressed, hard-drinking, bitter Indiana Jones gearing up, reluctantly, for one final go could have, maybe, possibly, made for at least an interesting movie if not a successful one. But that mostly went out the window as soon as the plot shenanigans kicked in, and we're left with something cold and lifeless with a lotta punching and things blowing up but no emotional core. I missed the humor and the pathos of the original trilogy- this felt like it was just going through the motions.
posted by 40 Watt at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2023 [2 favorites]

this is the third best Indiana Jones movie. I was entertained, loved the ending scene(s), was surprised by how much I liked the back in time bits.


It was chock full of the longest chase sequences. You can tell Mangold loves cars. So many cars in the background and foreground just being cars.They spent most of the movie jumping into vehicles and driving places and some of these sequences felt overlong.

The ear of Dionysius confused me because I know it's a tourist attraction, but opening an archeological tourist attraction and not doing things like looking around to see if there are secret caves felt like an oversight. Also overly simplistic puzzle design.

Couldn't figure out why folks just gave up looking for more treasure at the shipwreck. Like you could see it from the boat, but everyone just shrugged and went about their day. It needed puss in boots to bring his boat around with some hoses to go get the real-deal stuff.

I had to explain to my son that you should never do what they did to get to the surface, and then had a talk about the bends.

Definitely worth watching. Better than crystal skull? Assuredly. Better than temple of doom? Yes, but there are still some fun scenes in TOD. Better than the others? Nope.

Required theater viewing? Not particularly. Will I watch it again? Not paid VOD, but I might watch it when it's on disney+.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2023 [5 favorites]

I thought it would have worked better thematically to have Indy stay in the past, as a nod to the fact that by 1969 he didn't really have a place in the modern world anymore. I get that they traded that for a Marian reunion, which, OK.

Also, huge fail to not bring back Short Round for a scene, if this is for certain the last Indy movie.

A decent popcorn movie, but I don't see the necessity for the overall grim tone of old Indiana Jones. Sallah still had the right spirit, everybody else was just depressing.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:53 PM on July 3, 2023 [3 favorites]

I saw the 1st movie on the big screen and, for an autistic teen who was at her wit's end on how to cope with life, it was simultaneously a much needed relief and an unhealthy focus that manifested how lost I was morally.

In my fifties now, I contemplated seeing this new one ... but thank you God I'm not that lost-in-fantasy teenager anymore.

I'm glad Ford is still around and is arguably doing his best work now. But I'll save my big screen bucks for the Dune sequel coming out later this year, God willing. And I think there's a nonfiction book calling my name right now.
posted by rabia.elizabeth at 12:12 AM on July 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

Much better than I'd feared - - though I do wish they'd cut an hour out of one of the car chases and added it to the Nazis v. Romans segment.
posted by fairmettle at 12:04 AM on July 6, 2023 [4 favorites]

Indy is asked about what he'd do if he could go back:

Indy: something to the effect of not letting his son [Mutt] enlist, which he acknowledges Mutt did to piss him off; telling Mutt that he would die, etc.

Me: How about you go back and be the sort of father whose son doesn't actively want to piss off?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:31 PM on July 6, 2023 [3 favorites]

Or maybe Mutt was just a dick? (See, for example, all the evidence in the public domain.)
posted by biffa at 12:57 PM on July 6, 2023 [6 favorites]

Definitely a moderately entertaining movie. Pretty certain that it was the best thing on at the cinema I was at the time I was there given the things I've already seen.

One thing I really liked though: a Roman soldier wearing chainmail instead of the usual banded metal armour ["lorica segmentata"]. The latter existed at certain places and times, but was much less common. So, good work from the production team and wardrobe department there!
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:02 AM on July 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

Me looking at watch, seeing there’s only 15 minutes left: WHAT is going on here?!?!!!

You did get the memo about the time fissures, didn't you?

I just saw it and am aligned with the general sentiment, not the worst of the five movies, not the best of the three good movies, but totes worth it to see my hero age semi-gracefully.

They say history doesn't repeat, but it rhymes, and there was a lot of rhyming with the history of the other movies, from the final "where doesn't it hurt" scene with Marion to Sallah singing the sea chanty to Nazis wanting a relic in a box to flying a route superimposed on a map to lecturing to distracted (in a different way) students to knowing the Nazis are digging in the wrong place because they didn't read the whole clue to the thing to having an orphaned ethnic child sidekick driver to having eels, why did it have to be eels? to random spotlights that reminded of the lights at the Ark unboxing to a corridor full of bugs to Indy riding the falling bookshelves just like he rode the falling statue in the Well of Souls .... und so weiter.

Am I sad the Paramount mountain didn't dissolve into a real peak at the start? Yes, I am.

So long Indy, you're still my hero.

MetaFilter: a little heavy on the eels
posted by chavenet at 5:50 PM on July 9, 2023 [5 favorites]

Not including Short Round was a mistake. The NYC street scene outside Indy's apartment after his return had a Volkswagen Beetle parked prominently outside, which I thought was a nice touch given that company's history.
posted by emelenjr at 7:11 PM on July 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

The secrets of Indiana Jones [nice little essay from The Economist]
posted by chavenet at 4:35 AM on July 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

This was like the Indiana Jones equivalent of Scream V and VI, which is to say very talented filmmakers who grew up on the source material delivered fan service and natural extensions/variations of previous bits in a cohesive fashion, even as the underlying structure groaned a little. I liked it well enough.

I'm a little bummed this didn't do well and we're not going to get a series of Helena Shaw movies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:16 PM on July 12, 2023 [4 favorites]

As much as Crystal Skull fell flat when I saw it, pivoting to aliens and Russians did make sense for the '50s setting. Felt like they just fell back on playing the hits for this one. Of course, there's a reason the hits are the hits.

Using the Antikythera Mechanism as the MacGuffin kinda took me out of it a bit, since IRL that is a known item stored at a known location which doesn't look like that and also is not in working order. I was thinking that I probably wouldn't have minded so much if they had only ever called it the Dial of Destiny and instead I could think "Oh they're riffing on the Antikythera Mechanism" without getting hung up on the differences.

After they found the watch I was afraid it would turn out that Indy was Archimedes (and then this fear got worse once they showed the Nazi's watch). A relief that it was just a neat trinket he found.

And of course the moment they mentioned eels I immediately thought, "Ah yes, the snakes of the sea."
posted by ckape at 8:35 PM on July 17, 2023 [3 favorites]

Best to worst Indy movies: 1) Raiders 2) Last Crusade 3) Dial of Destiny 4) Temple of Doom 5) Crystal Skull

I’d be thrilled to watch a Helena Shaw series!

Karen Allen deserved a much bigger role in this one. She was the best part of Crystal Skull.
posted by edithkeeler at 6:02 AM on July 20, 2023 [3 favorites]

The time gap was bizarre. The movie begins in 1945, goes to 1969 and Indiana Jones has aged about 50 years.

It’s not the years; it’s the mileage.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:53 PM on August 29, 2023 [7 favorites]

And of course the moment they mentioned eels I immediately thought, "Ah yes, the snakes of the sea."

Quickly followed by: "They do not getting eaten by eels at this time"

I’d be thrilled to watch a Helena Shaw series!
In theory? Hell yes.
Based off this particular showing?? Well... no, actually. As much as I love the actress the character wasn't given much anything fun to do, was just.. Very Smart.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:56 PM on September 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I thought it was fun!

I had no expectations going in (other than knowing its box office of $384 million was considered 'disappointing') so it was a welcome diversion for me.

I really liked the new cast (Phoebe Waller-Bridge was great, as was Mads Mikkelsen) and the look of the film really grabbed me.

The de-aging was… incredible (note to Scorcese: paste the head on a younger body) but the voice broke that illusion. Voices age too and audio really influences what we see.

Anyways, in my eyes this officially makes the Indiana Jones series a trilogy.
posted by mazola at 7:44 AM on December 9, 2023

And that final act was just nonsense, bonkers writing that felt like they had a totally different ending in mind and scrapped it at the last minute.

It looks like everyone, including the screenwriters, forgot that Dr. Jones was a suspect in several murders when he fled NYC (which is lampshaded by someone saying that the police will assume he's guilty if he flees!). And it would have been relatively easy to have Agent Mason survive her gunshot wound and surface to clear everything up, which would have also avoided wasting one of the film's most interesting characters.

I agree it isn't the worst Indiana Jones film, but I was underwhlemed.
posted by Gelatin at 9:51 AM on January 2

I enjoyed the music. CGI effects, "de-aging" effects, are not good enough for an Indiana Jones movie. It takes me out of the scene every time.

Why is Indiana in a chase scene in Manhattan? A long set-piece with Indiana Jones in Manhattan. This could be any modern junk movie. So many deaths, so many cars, so many ridiculously improbable stunts. it's a Fast & The Furious movie. The actual tomb raiding was boring. I honestly can't remember where he went. Italy or Greece, I think?

Also, this is definitely not better than Temple of Doom, or even Skull. The supporting cast in Dial was weak. Sala briefly provided the only touching moments.

I don't understand why Ford allows his films to release below standard. He has the experience and the clout to say, "Why is Indiana Jones riding a horse in the subway? What tombs are down there? No."
posted by Brocktoon at 12:21 PM on January 6

Finally got around to watching this one, which I was kinda dreading after the shit show that was Crystal Skull. I liked it quite a lot.

Crystal Skull did not feel like an Indiana Jones film at all, more like some weird knockoff made by somebody who had never actually seen an Indiana Jones film. Dial of Destiny, on the other hand, felt very much like a classic Indy flick. It was almost a bit too much with some of the sound effects they threw in for fanservice, but I thought it did well at being a somewhat campy action adventure pulp novel turned into a film.

I do agree with the complaint that it ran overly long, though. In places it felt like they had contracted for exactly x minutes of VFX work and by God they were going to put every second of it on screen. Still, I'd call it approximately as entertaining as Last Crusade, which is a pretty high mark in my book.

In short, I'm glad they finally decided to make a fourth Indiana Jones film, even with the 24 year gap between releases. Would have been nice if they could have done something maybe 10 years earlier.
posted by wierdo at 11:07 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

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