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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
 
Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny
| Thursday, 07.06.2023, 04:36 PM |   (316 views)


With Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the 40+ year-old franchise concludes with a bang.  Director James Mangold was just 19 years old when Raiders kicked off Indy's quest to rid the world of the Nazi scourge, and you can tell the saga holds a special place in Mangold's heart.  Clocking in at over 140 minutes, the action never stops, whether it's clickety-clacking on a train filled with Nazi scum or rolling back the seal on a cave filled with ... well, not snakes this time but something close to it. 

Harrison Ford returns as the iconic archaeologist, and no matter how many years have gone by, the fedora still fits.  Is he doing his own stunts this time?  Not important.  What is key is that Indy's single-minded objective - to rescue an artifact before it falls into the wrong hands, remains ever-present.  Also key - the bullwhip and the social awkwardness Indy continues to have when dealing with any woman.  He's handsome, he's heroic, and he's still a bit of a social geek. What's not to love?  This is the second time Ford and Mangold have collaborated on a film, the first being 2020's The Call of the Wild

Along for the adventure is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who plays Helena Shaw, Indy's goddaughter. Shaw is the daughter of Jones' close friend, Basil "Baz" Shaw, once again played by Toby Jones, who over the years became completely obsessed with the Dial of Destiny.  Shaw believed that if you connected both halves of this ancient machine, you could travel through time, and he may have passed that obsession down to his daughter.  Time travel is fine if you just want to stop in and visit, but if you're using it to change the course of history so that the bad guys win, well, of course you must be stopped.

Helena is an archaeologist in her own right, following in her father's footsteps.  However, when we are first introduced to the adult Helena, she does not have the reverence for the ancient artifacts like her father and Indy held.  She's selling anything she finds on the black market.  Financial gain is her motivation, not saving the world from doom or preserving history.  Which is truly disappointing to Indiana Jones. 

This time around, the sinister forces are led by Mads Mikkelsen as Chief Nazi, Dr. Voller.  He doesn't just want to take over the world as it is, he wants to change the course of history.  And Voller believes that if he holds the Dial, created by the ancient mathematician and inventor Archimedes, in his grip, he could reroute Hitler's failures.  The Nazi's would win the war and take over the world.  Says Voller, "Hitler made mistakes, with this I will correct them all." Fiendish doesn't begin to scratch the surface.

As far as wickedness goes, nothing and no one can be more supremely evil than Ronald Lacey in 1981's Raiders.  But Voller definitely gives badness a run for its money.  NASA has no idea of Voller's master plan, and has, in fact, recruited the prominent ex-Nazi scientist, to help put a man on the moon.  Apparently, US governmental vetting leaves something to be desired.  

When Dial begins, we are celebrating "Moon Day", feting the successful Apollo space mission.  In the background we hear Bowie's classic tune, Space Oddity and Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles   Indiana is in his last days of educating students at NY's Hunter College.  He's lost his son, his wife has left him.  He feels old and useless; his days of glory are long-past, finding solace in the bottle.  What's an explorer to do when the world is now looking towards conquering the future and the stars, ignoring the lessons of the past?

We're quickly thrust decades backwards, flash-backing to when Indy and Baz first crossed paths with Voller and the Dial of Destiny, the Dial thought to be nothing more than a fantastical story.  There's an exciting action sequence on a Nazi-filled train, rattling through the dark mountains, filled with Nazi plunder.  In one scene, though he is hanging upside down, Indy's 'magical hat' never falls off his head.  Miraculous!

Jump to 1969, where we're treated to another fantastic action sequence, smack-dab in the middle of the parade for the returning astronauts.  A later sequence includes a rotating plane, so reminiscent of previous Indy scenes.  As always, when Spielberg and Lucas go big, they pull no punches.  A fight on a plane flying where it simply should not exist.  There's even a gun-battle and chase through a collection of artifacts - will we get a glimpse of the Ark of the Covenant, long secreted in US Governmental bowels?  

You'll have to join the new adventure to find out. 

Other iconic characters in the beloved franchise return for their encores, but again, you'll have to pay your money and take your chances.  I guarantee, you won't be disappointed.

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In Focus-Magazine.com.  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, a highly-rated nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper. 



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