Film Review: “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”


  • Starring:  Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads MikMikkelsen
  • Directed by:  James Mangold
  • Rated:  PG 13
  • Running time:  2 hrs 34 mins
  • Walt Disney Pictures

If Adventure has a name…it must be Indiana Jones.  A great tag line for 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”   Nearly four decades later, those words still ring true.


Our story begins in 1939, where once again Dr. Henry Jones, Jr – Indy to his friends – (Ford) is battling his old nemesis, the Nazi Parry.  This time the bad guys are trying to posses the lance that pierced Jesus on the Cross.  They also have a little something something created by the great mathematician Archimedes that, if the story is true, can be used to influence time.  Not a bad trinket to have on your shelf.


Packed with non-stop action from beginning to end, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” gives our hero one last adventure, and it’s a doozy.  The story picks up in 1969.  Man has just returned from the moon, thanks in part to a German mathematician (Mikkelsen) who may or may not have had a run in or two with Dr. Jones.  While the astronauts have their parade, Dr. Jones is teaching his last class, heading into what he believes will be a quiet retirement.  But a surprise visit from his Goddaughter, Helena (Waller-Bridge) gives him one last chance to put on the fedora.



Though I really enjoyed it, many fans were disappointed in 2008s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which was directed by the master Steven Spielberg.  What would a film directed by the man best known for “Walk the Line” and “Cop Land” offer fans?  The answer?  Plenty!  Mangold sets a frantic pace throughout the film, breaking up major action set pieces with brief moments of conversation to give the audience time to catch its collective breath.


The cast is stellar, with Ford once again at his adventurous and wisecracking self.  Waller-Bridge matches him stunt for stunt, and is a great Ying to Ford’s Yang.  Supporting work by Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas and young Ethann Isidore keep the film moving when the action slows down.  It’s a cliché, but I would pay to see Mads Mikkelsen read the phone book.  In films as diverse as “Casino Royale” and “The Hunt,” he has given some masterful performances.  His work here is another triumph.


Though rated PG 13, the film is a little darker than other films in the series (and I say that knowing that a character had his heart pulled from his chest in “Temple of Doom,” helping to usher in the PG 13 rating.  There are some violent scenes in “Dial of Destiny,” and that well-known sound effect called the “Wilhelm Scream” gets quite a workout.


That being said, it’s a true pleasure to see Indiana Jones back on the big screen, where he and his adventures belong.  After all, it’s not the years.  It’s the miles!


On a scale of zero to five, I give “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” five stars.  



One Reply to “Film Review: “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny””

  1. Well, you’re the *second* long-time pal to give a rave to this movie! I’ve heard….things. Bad things. Disappointing things. Infuriating things, particularly vis-a-vis the role Waller-Bridge’s character plays in the ending. But I trust you (and Marc Sanders). Unfortunately, I had rehearsal and the Twinses tonight, and Miles and Lily all day and all night tomorrow. So I won’t be able to see “…Dial of Destiny” until late Saturday afternoon at the *earliest*!! Here’s hoping my FOMO doesn’t get the better of me until then!!


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