When you see Indiana Jones is back on the big screen, you might think “haven’t we already been here? Didn’t they already try a reboot with those glad-wrapped aliens that were mocked mercilessly?”
You’d be right. That was in 2008 (15 years ago for those unafraid to do the math) with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There were high hopes Shia Labeouf (Honey Boy, Transformers) would take on the mantle Harrison Ford was laying down, but those plans didn’t quite work out, and so now – with enough time having passed – we get Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
This time Indy is racing to retrieve a legendary relic that has the potential to change the course of human history. Tempting as it might be to use it to revisit events any archaeologist would dream of witnessing firsthand, Indiana and his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) have to stop it getting into the hands of Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), a former Nazi who works for NASA.
Familiar faces are brought back into the fold giving the movie a nostalgic kick, but what it focuses on at the heart is how an ageing whip-wielding adventurer fits in the modern world of excess and convenience.
Indiana Jones is in a league of his own as far as heroes go. He doesn’t have any superpowers, isn’t flashy or well-kept, he’s a down-to-earth old school explorer who relies on good sense and curiosity to guide him.
There are no gadgets in his satchel, just a whip and a hat, and that’s always been enough.
It’s a trait that prompts us to ask ourselves, what do we really need to thrive in life? We’re told it takes a lot to be happy, be “enough”, be admired or talented, but in Indiana we see it’s his skills and not power that’s his true asset.
The movie preserves enough of the original Indiana Jones identity to feel familiar to fans.
Do we really need more, or just a better ability to use what we already have well?
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is appealing because it’s fun and well told, but there’s also something calming about watching a hero who requires little fanfare to truly be incredible.
There are times where the CGI leaves you feeling disconnected from the action when you can clearly tell Indiana and Helena are safely bouncing around in a tuk-tuk secured to a studio floor, but the movie preserves enough of the original Indiana Jones identity to feel familiar to fans.
Let’s also be honest: Harrison Ford is an 80-year-old screen icon, so no one wants to be responsible for giving him another on-set injury.
Whether you’re a longtime fan or interested in being a new one, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a worthwhile revisitation of a type of character we’ve been missing for a long time.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is in cinemas now. Rated M
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