FILM REVIEW — Nostalgia saves newest “Indiana Jones” adventure

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 30, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

Walt Disney Pictures

Directed by James Mangold

Starring Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones and Mads Mikkelsen

Rated PG-13

2 1/2 Stars

Harrison Ford is 80 years old.

I bring this up because he has a new movie, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and many of the best and the worst elements of the film stem from the fact that this is an action adventure made with somebody who is too old to believably handle the film’s many stunt sequences.

Sure, it’s great to see Ford slip into his trademark leather jacket and fedora once again, but his presence also creates problems that the film can’t quite gloss over.

From mediocre CGI work to some less-than-thrilling action sequences, there are times when this latest adventure seems a little long in the tooth.

Which means the film is a little bit of a disappointment, but I hasten to add that whenever Indy cracks his whip and John Williams’ iconic musical theme starts to play, all of my doubts are quickly forgotten.

This is the fifth movie in the series. It starts off in the late sixties with Professor Jones (Ford) living the sedentary lifestyle of a college professor. This tranquility is blown up when his goddaughter (Phoebe Waller Bridge) arrives with information about a mystical relic that might allow somebody to travel back in time and change world history.

It turns out a neo-Nazi (Mads Mikkelsen) is also chasing the artifact, with the thought of going back to correct Hitler’s mistakes.

That’s right, Nazis! Why did it have to be Nazis?

The film quickly turns into a mad dash across the globe to find both pieces of the time travel relic thingy and thus save the world. Along the way we get horseback and motorcycle chases, plenty of derring do and even a dive to the bottom of the ocean. These action sequences are mostly thrilling, but they also feature some glaringly mediocre special effects. Some of the backgrounds are obviously green screened, some of the character’s mouths don’t quite match their words and a few of the computer-generated creatures look laughably fake.

Ford is also given a computer-generated de-ageing effect that is quite good, making him appear convincingly as a much younger man in a few scenes. Also adding some youth to the proceedings is Waller Bridge, who energizes the film with her presence and keeps the energy from flagging. That’s a good thing as the film clocks in at nearly two and a half hours.

All of which makes for a decidedly mixed night at the movies. Personally, I loved catching up with this beloved character, but I hated seeing Indy in several less-than-stellar sequences. I thoroughly enjoyed Waller Bridge’s goddaughter character, but Mikkelsen’s villain never quite rose to be truly menacing. If heroes are measured by the bad buys they defeat, then a mediocre villain frequently makes for a mediocre movie.

I wish the film had been edited down to a tighter running time and I think some of the latter action set pieces don’t feel inspired. Yet, despite these negatives, I still grin whenever I hear the musical theme and listen to another droll quip by Indiana Jones.

“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” might be a bit of a disappointment at times, but its nostalgia factor is off the charts. For my money, that’s the most important thing.

Plus, it’s far superior to the mythical “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” movie, so at least the series will go out on a good note.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Orange Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at