Life & Culture

Indiana Jones And The Dial of Destiny review: Saga ends with a whimper

Great performances from Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge can't rescue a film that runs out of steam


Indiana Jones And The Dial of Destiny
CERT: 12A, Out Now | ★★★✩✩

This is the first Indiana Jones movie not to be directed by Steven Spielberg or written by George Lucas. Instead what is expected to be the fifth and final film in the series is directed by James Mangold, feted for Girl Interrupted and Walk the Line.

The year is 1944 and we are are in Germany. American archaeologist Indiana Jones, played by a digitally de-aged octogenarian Harrison Ford, and his colleague Basil Shaw plan to recover artefacts stolen by the Nazis.

In this they are successful. The intrepid pair retrieve one half of the Antikythera, an ancient dial built by Archimedes, from the hands of Nazi scientist Jürgen Voller, who is brilliantly played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Fast forward 25 years and Jones is feeling uneasy that the US authorities have recruited former Nazis to help beat the Soviet Union in the Space Race.

One of them is, you guessed it, Voller, Now a member of Nasa who is involved in the Apollo Moon-landing programme, the villain is also intent on getting the dial back. His quest pits him against Jones for a second time.

In an attempt to defeat the former Nazi once and for all, Indiana teams up with Basil’s daughter Helena, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and her trusty sidekick Teddy.
Waller-Bridge is excellent, bringing more than a little Fleabag insubordination to Helena’s character.

But overall, Indy lovers will be disappointed by the final chapter of the franchise. It fails to recapture the great fun and adventure of the series’ heyday, the thrill of its earlier instalments. And it is also let down by a decidedly sub-par storyline

In fact, far from recalling the Spielbergian sense of adventure we have come to expect from the series, the film runs out of steam just as we get into the nuts and bolts of the second act. Thank goodness Ford is on typically brilliant form.

Conclusion? While this is, for the most part, very watchable, it is sad to see this much-loved film series end with a whimper rather than the bang we were all expecting.

Meanwhile, it probably does not need stating that it is always a pleasure to be reunited with everyone’s favourite grumpy archeologist.

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