It has been 15 years since the last Indiana Jones movie, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That movie ended with an already aging Indiana Jones finally getting married to his original squeeze, Marion. It also introduced us to their grown-up son, Mutt, played by Shia LaBeouf with the intention of perhaps handing over the reign to a younger star to carry the franchise further. That plan did not quite work out as anticipated. Shia LaBeouf did not turn out to become Hollywood’s next bright star while the movie itself was less than enthusiastically received. Indeed, Crystal Skull was my personal least favorite in the series.
The big question for this latest Indiana Jones adventure is whether a close to 80 years old Herrison Ford keep up with the pace? Happily, the answer is a rousing YES!! The Dial of Destiny starts off with computer graphics aided de-aged younger version of Harrison Ford in an extended flash back sequence that takes place in 1944. Technology has improved so much that we see a very convincing younger version of Indiana Jones and could barely tell or care for the wizardy behind the magic. This opening gambit runs for well over 20 minutes and is a lovingly crafted homage to Indy’s heydays. What a treat! It also serves to set the stage for the plot as it introduced us to the film’s main villain Mads Mikkelsen’s antagonist Voller and the titular Archimedes Dial, which has the power to open a portal for time travelling!
After that we see an older version of Indy some 25 years later. It does not take long before we see Indy being caught up in another adventure together with his estranged and plucky goddaughter Helena Shaw (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). The action set piece that sees Jones flee from his pursuers into an elaborately staged parade celebrating the Apollo 11 astronauts is another highlight in the movie. There are so many elements happening simultaneously as the frantic chase takes us from above ground down through the New York City Subway tunnels. In addition to these amazing action sequences and stunts, we are treated to some exotic locales as well including Morocco and Sicily. In the process we meet some familiar faces from the earlier Indy movies and the usual references to them like the Indy’s fear of snakes and his famous trademark whip and hat. Even the inclusion of a lovable young boy Teddy in Morocco who is a side kick to Helena, is a throwback to the streetwise kid character of Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
But all the action and scenery in the world would not amount to much if it isn’t tied together with a coherent and interesting plot. Thankfully Dial of Destiny does not suffer from this as its predecessor The Kingdom of the Cystal Skull did. The inevitable time travel sequence in its final act offered an unexpected twist to the story and I thought the film makers cleverly brought the whole story to a loving and tender conclusion with a cameo by Karen Allen reprising her role as Marion. Hopefully this will truly mark the final chapter in the Indiana Jones saga and we put our hero to rest. It would be cruel to otherwise, subject a now 80 years old Harrison Ford to another high-spirited adventure.