We recently attended the New Zealand premiere screening of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and it was quite an enjoyable film. In an era where many big blockbusters lack originality and tend to be generic, this movie stood out as a refreshing exception. While it may not have reached the same level of enjoyment as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse or Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, it still offered a decent experience. However, despite its enjoyability, there were certain aspects that fell short.
One of the main issues we had with the film was the questionable plot choices and twists. Some of them seemed out of place and didn’t quite align with the essence of an Indiana Jones adventure. Additionally, the way the characters were brought together and their motivations felt rushed. There needed to be more depth and development, leaving some characters feeling underutilized, like the one played by Mads Mikkelsen, who had limited screen time and a poorly developed role.
It’s worth noting that this film is supposedly the last in the Indiana Jones series with Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. The movie cleverly incorporated callbacks to the original trilogy, providing fanservice and nostalgia. Harrison Ford delivered a solid performance as Indiana Jones, despite his age, and even made jokes about it within the film. Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s portrayal as a chaotic companion to Indiana Jones brought a fresh dynamic to the character. She added a fun and mischievous element to the relationship, contrasting with the grumpy archaeologist. However, Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal as the villain followed a familiar pattern seen in his previous roles, lacking depth and motivation.
In terms of visual effects, the movie had its hits and misses. While some scenes showcased impressive CGI, there were instances where it fell short, particularly during high-action sequences. Indiana Jones films traditionally rely more on practical effects, and this one followed suit to a certain extent. The standout aspect of the film was John Williams’ fantastic score, which included the iconic Indiana Jones theme. Hearing the familiar music in the theater added to the overall experience and captured the essence of the franchise.
Although we enjoyed the film as a good time at the cinema, it missed the opportunity to delve into emotional angles and provide deeper characterization. The lack of emotional weight in the action sequences made it difficult to care about the events unfolding on screen. This is in contrast to films like “Spider-Verse,” which successfully incorporated emotional depth into its action. The story itself, while adventurous, felt lacking compared to the original Indiana Jones films, with a scattered plot and an excess of running around the world.
The de-aging technology used on Harrison Ford was a mixed bag. While it was impressive in certain scenes, there were times when it felt more like a video game character. Blending practical sets and action with CGI helped mask some of the flaws and added to the overall visual quality. The production design was impeccable, capturing the time period and creating an authentic feel with real locations, cars, and costumes.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny provided an enjoyable cinema experience, but it had its flaws. While it paid homage to the beloved character and delivered on certain aspects, such as the score and production design, it fell short in terms of plot choices, character development, and emotional depth. The film had the potential to be more impactful, but it failed to capitalize on those opportunities. With Harrison Ford likely making his final appearance as Indiana Jones, the character’s story was wrapped up effectively, but I wished for more exploration of his pain and sorrow throughout his life. I would give this film a rating of 6 out of 10, as it offered entertainment but lacked the depth and cohesiveness of the original trilogy.
Review by: James & Nayan
Disclaimer: This film review has been summarized with the assistance of an AI language model.