Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
|• Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
|Action Adventure Sequel IMAX
|2 hr. 34 min.
|Year of Release:
June 30, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: December 5, 2023
Harrison Ford’s final portrayal of fictional archaeologist Indiana Jones and the end of the Indiana Jones franchise
Ford was digitally de-aged for the film’s 1944 opening sequence to depict his appearance during the first three Indiana Jones films.
“Dial of Destiny” is the only film in the series that is neither directed by Steven Spielberg nor written by George Lucas.
It is also the only film in the series not to be distributed by Paramount Pictures, following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm that transferred film rights for future sequels.
The film's MacGuffin, the fictional Archimedes Dial, was inspired by research that director Mangold conducted into the Antikythera mechanism. Artistic liberty was taken with the film’s dial to suit the story. The dial is named after Greek inventor Archimedes, who is believed to have played a role in the creation of the real Antikythera.
Evil Nazi plan to replay history to win WWII
Harrison Ford … Henry Jones Jr. / Indiana Jones
Karen Allen … Marion Ravenwood
Phoebe Waller-Bridge … Helena Shaw
Mads Mikkelsen … Dr. Jürgen Voller
Boyd Holbrook … Klaber
Antonio Banderas … Renaldo
John Rhys-Davies … Sallah
Toby Jones … Basil Shaw
Billy Postlethwaite … Prof. Donner
Thomas Kretschmann … Colonel Weber
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Walt Disney Pictures
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|Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
In the final days of World War II, Nazi’s are scrambling to escape with as much of their stolen treasures as they can. Indiana Jones and his partner, archeologist Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), are after one of those treasures and end up with a part of the fabled ‘Archimedes Dial’. An artifact that Schmidt, a Nazi physicist, believes may unlock passages through time and make the owner god.
Fast forward to 1969, and the United States is celebrating the return of the Apollo 11 astronauts from the moon. But for Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) it’s just another day of teaching a room full of disinterested college students. After class, Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) the daughter of his old friend enters his life after not seeing him for almost 18-years. She is on a quest to find the Archimedes Dial, but so are a group of heavily armed Germans working for Dr. Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen).
“…Dial of Destiny” thrusts a retiring Indiana Jones back into an adventure that will take him to Tangiers and beyond in search of the lost treasure. Indy’s goal is mainly to keep it from being sold on the black market and put it where it belongs, namely in a museum. However, his god-daughter is not exactly as she appears and has very different plans, as does the decorated German physicist Voller (aka Schmidt) who uses the men at his command to kill anyone that stands in the way of his destiny.
VIOLENCE: Heavy. The death toll is heavy and varied including people being shot, crushed, impaled, burned, thrown from moving cars, crashing, exploding, and there is an attempted hanging. Schmidt’s henchmen are as cold blooded as the Nazis they revere and are shown heartlessly shooting bystanders and even comrades at point blank range. A young boy is shown killing one of the Nazis by drowning.
LANGUAGE: Moderate. The Lord’s name is taken in vain in the form of J*sus (1), G*d (3), G*d-d**n (1), d**n (2), p*ss (1), and h*ll is exclaimed the most throughout the film (9 times), several times comically as during an anti-war protest when it is chanted, “H*ll no we won’t go!”. Admittedly the film has a lower than average number of curses when compared to most PG-13 rated films. Helena refers lasciviously to a shirtless man as “promising”.
SEX/NUDITY: Mild. There is no sex or nudity shown and only one instance of gentle kissing. Helena is shown twice ogling men in unnecessary, throw away scenes. Indy is shirtless when he first wakes up and one of the divers is shown shirtless as he is getting into his wet suit.
WOKENESS: Moderate. In one scene they are arguing over who the Archimedes Dial belongs to, and Helena sums it up by saying everyone steals from everyone, “That’s capitalism!”. Helena is the epitome of the strong empowered feminist who can duke it out, gamble and drink with the best of them and dates gangsters. Several times Helena is shown doing stunts that border on so improbable that even a younger Indiana Jones would be hard pressed to get away with them. The concept of “my truth” is subtly touched upon by our hero, but more on that later.
IDOLATRY. At its core almost everyone in the film idolizes something. Helena and her teenage sidekick, Teddy (Ethann Isidore), idolize money. Archimedes, as he is presented here, held mathematics in such high regard that he believed he could predict and even use nature itself. Schmidt worships power and hopes the artifact can literally make him a god as he would have mastery over time and in turn the world.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.’ —Colossians 3:5
There is an unexpected side affect of having such a passion for the temporal things of this world:
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.’ —Jonah 2:8
FAITH. As Indiana Jones says to Helena, “I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe, but how hard you believe it.” Indy is suggesting here that the subject of your belief (faith) is irrelevant, that what matters more is the strength of your conviction. Following this ‘logic’ your ‘belief’ can and will create or manifest the results or reality that you desire.
Believing that you can alter your personal reality and that truth is not absolute and can be determined by your whims, is fundamental to the “my truth” mindset that many have been lied to by the world’s media and academia.
The benefit of knowing the truth was also known by Dr. Martin Luther King when he quoted John 8:32, in saying,
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Scripture further explains that,
MARRIAGE. During a low moment in Indiana’s life, he realizes that if he is alone, who does he have to live for? From the very beginning God did not create us to be alone.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” —Genesis 2:18
“For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.’ —Isaiah 62:5
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” sees Harrison Ford’s long-overdue return to his iconic role 15-years after his last turn in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Today’s question is, are his adventures still worth the price of admission?
On the plus side, the character of Indiana Jones is easily the most developed and consistent character of the film, due in no small measure to Harrison Ford’s on-screen presence and charisma. The same cannot be said of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena, whose transition from very unlikeable foe to dependable ally is unconvincing. Vital lines of exposition and heartfelt moments could have been used to explain her change of heart, but without those scenes the character comes off as conflicted and the tonal shifts sometimes jarring. As a character we are meant to like, Teddy (Ethann Isidore) should have been better developed.
John Williams returns to masterfully score Indiana Jones, and it is difficult to imagine an Indy film without him or Harrison Ford, although no new themes stood out or were noticed by this reviewer. What was noticeable was the poor CGI at times, such as when Indy is running atop the train.
Fantasy and adventure films often ask for some ‘suspension of disbelief’ to make occasional plot contrivances work, but done too often, as it happens here, pulls the audience away from immersing in the story. One cannot learn how to fly a plane after hearing someone describe all the steps needed, no more than you can play a flight simulator program and successfully take off on your own. “Dial of Destiny” needed some judicious script doctoring before actual production. Let us hope there is a ‘Directors Cut’ in the future that addresses the film’s issues.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” has a touching emotional payout at the end for Indy that should please many fans, but may be brought low by comparisons to the earlier films featuring a younger, naturally more robust action hero. The movie is hampered by its narrative and woke elements, but manages to bring a satisfying final chapter to the Indiana Jones franchise.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.