Returning to his role as Indiana Jones for the fifth time and the first time since The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull way back in 2008 it’s easy to wonder, given that Harrison Ford is now his 80s, if Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will be like watching some old actor who’s living on past glories being wheeled out of a retirement home in order to give one last performance.
Thankfully thanks to some pretty clever computer de-aging, body doubles and a rather sprightly 80 year old, Dial of Destiny turns out to be a worthy entry in the Indian Jones series of adventures and certainly nowhere near as bad as some reports make it out to be.
Yes it’s overlong, but what film isn’t nowadays, and the plot is over complicated and even crazier than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However on the plus side it turns out to be a rip-roaring summer adventure film that you can only truly experience by going to the cinema.
Starting on a Nazi filled train in 1944 we first meet Indiana Jones (Ford de-aged back to looking as if he’s in his 30s) and his colleague Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) trying to stop Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), a Nazi scientist, from obtaining one half of the Archimedes Dial, a device capable of time travel.
Twenty years later Jones, who is now divorced, retired and living alone in New York, is forced to dawn his hat and arm himself with his bullwhip one last time when Voller, who is now working for NASA, reappears with the intention of finding the other half of the dial.
Also along for the adventure is Basil's daughter and Jones's goddaughter, Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) an archaeologist who is just as clever as Jones.
As is the way with Indiana Jones adventures we are transported from one exotic location to the next, usually by the way of an animated map with a plane flying over it. At each location Jones and Shaw usually end up in either a car chase, motor bike chase or just a chase on foot. One of the early scenes and best scenes in the film, filmed in Glasgow doubling for New York, involves Jones, on horseback, being chased through the streets as a ticker tape parade is taking place.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge has certainly split opinion amongst critics and the public, some of which I imagine haven’t even seen her performance, but I have to say I found her character to be engaging, charming and certainly a worthy sidekick for Indiana Jones.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, perhaps due to Steven Spielberg taking a back seat from directing this time and leaving it to James Mangold, isn’t quite up there with the first three films but it’s certainly better than Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and even that wasn’t half bad.