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‘Indiana Jones 5’ Is A Surprisingly Watchable Sequel

Roughly four months after strikes involving the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild started, it continues to look like there is no end in sight for the strikes.  Since launching, the strikes have now cost thousands of people associated with Hollywood’s major studios their jobs.  It has also halted production on countless television series and movies, with some studios pushing their slates back as far as 2025.  That means as the final months of 2023 wind down, odds are audiences are not going to see many (if any) new offerings on screen in the near future.  That makes what movies are left all the more important, including and not limited to Paramount and Lucasfilm’s latest (and hopefully last) entry in the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.  Released late this past June, the movie came home to digital release Aug. 29.  Its physical home release is under consideration.  This newest entry in the adventures of Indiana Jones, it is an intriguing presentation that actually somehow manages to succeed.  That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The acting actually plays into the movie’s success, too.  This will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new home release is also of its own importance and will also be examined later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny a surprisingly engaging and entertaining entry (and hopefully truly last entry) in the Indiana Jones franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the latest and hopefully last entry in Paramount and Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones franchise is a surprisingly interesting offering from the long-running series.  Despite concerns about how it would turn out, considering Disney owns and controls Lucasfilm, it proves worth watching at least once.  That is due at least in part to its featured story.  The early word on the movie’s story, ahead of its premiere, was that it was just another time travel plot.  That is only partially true.  The story centers on Indiana’s attempts to stop former Nazi scientist Dr. Voller (Mad Mikkelson – Doctor StrangeHannibalThe Hunt) from getting hold of Archimedes’ Antikythera mechanism.  Dr. Voller wants to use the machine to find a rift in time that would allow him to travel back to 1939 and take Hitler’s place as the head of the Nazi regime.  The device itself is not a time travel device, but according to Voller (and apparently in real life to many conspiracy theorists) a compass that leads to rifts in the time space continuum.  That the story would actually take a real device and base Voller’s own aspirations on what so many theorists want to believe actually turns the all-too-often-used time travel plot device somewhat on its ear.  Indy’s attempts to put the mechanism together first and stop Voller take him from New York overseas to Europe and eventually farther back in history than he has ever been (not to give away too much).  The story does run into a little bit of a stumbling block in its final act as it begins to utilize elements of Indy’s past adventures.  They make the story start to seem somewhat like little more than fan service, but thankfully those elements are limited, and in turn keep the movie from becoming unbearable.  In the bigger picture, one cannot help but wonder in hindsight if the story was really meant as a way to make up to audiences for the utter failure that was 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls.  That movie was and still is completely forgettable in all of its science fiction camp.  While there are moments in this movie’s story that are a little bit campy, the story and its feel are collectively so much different from that of its predecessor and that honorably throws back to the original Indiana Jones franchise.  To that end, the story featured in this movie actually is a positive part of its whole.

Just as positive to note is the work of Mikkelson and of co-star Harrison Ford.  Throughout the course of the story, Mikkelson makes Dr. Voller so cold and calculating.  That is especially evident as he so calmly shoots Indy’s friend, Renaldo (Antonio Banderas – The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, Puss N Boots) when Renaldo stands up to him.  He shows no emotion as he simply points the gun and pulls the trigger.  The moments when he just as coldly holds Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge – SoloA Star Wars StoryFleabagKilling Eve) hostage to get information from Indy.  That cold, calculating, confidence makes just as powerful, Voller’s reaction late in the story when he realizes that his plan has not gone quite as he planned after he goes back in time.  Mikkelson’s talent shines through here just as much as in so many points throughout the story and does plenty to keep viewers engaged.

On the same note, Ford does just as well as he portrays Indy as someone who is a man out of time both literally and metaphorically.  His ability to show how much time has worn on Indy emotionally and physically early on makes Indy such a wonderfully sympathetic character.  In the same vein, his change as he becomes embroiled in his globe hopping journey shows just as much emotion on the other side from Indy.  The whole of Ford’s performance is fully believable.  The result is that his performance and that of Mikkelson makes for just as much engagement and entertainment as the movie’s story.  Keeping all of that in mind, the whole of the acting and story collectively makes for reason enough for audiences to give this movie a chance.

As much as the movie’s primary and secondary content do to make it worth watching, the movie’s bonus content actually offers its own share of importance to the presentation.  That is because it reminds audiences of one very key aspect of the movie even among all of the back patting that the cast does in its interviews.  That aspect in question is that the CG was kept to an extreme minimum throughout the movie in favor of actual on-location shooting and actual visual effects.  Yes, there were some blue screens, but in comparison to the amount of video-based special effects used in so many major blockbusters today, seeing how little was used here is so refreshing.  It makes for so much respect for director James Mangold and all involved in the movie’s creation.  That revelation alone builds even more into the presentation in hindsight.  When this is considered along with the surprisingly intriguing story and the equally positive work of Ford and Mikkelson, the whole makes this latest entry in the adventures of Indiana Jones maybe not the best but also not its worst.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the latest entry in Paramount and Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones franchise is an interesting new adventure from the famed professor/adventurer.  Its interest comes in part through its featured story, which surprisingly is not just another science fiction time travel story.  It centers on the overarching existential question of what one would do if one could turn back time.  It uses a real historical item and real theories about said item to draw up the plot, making for some believability.  The acting work from Harrison Ford and co-star Mads Mikkelson adds to the engagement and entertainment.  That is because of the believability therein.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new home digital release makes the major revelation that so little CG was used in the movie, which is so refreshing.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie’s presentation.  All things considered they make the movie a surprisingly watchable movie that should it finally be the last Indy adventure is a fitting finale for the franchise.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is available digitally now.  More information on this and other titles from Lucasfilm is available at: