TORONTO, Julys4, 2023 – Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ingeniously begins by evoking a wave of nostalgia, taking us on a delightful trip down memory lane to the time when Indiana Jones first captivated our hearts. It effortlessly conjures up recollections of my eight year old self, sitting in Winnipeg’s Garden City Cinema, indulging in delectable buttered popcorn and an enormous Coke, while watching “Indiana Jones & The Raiders of the Lost Ark.” This charming throwback feels like a heartfelt present, especially considering I had just celebrated my 50th birthday.
During the premiere night, I find myself standing in a queue alongside my thirteen year-old son and eighty year-old mother, filled with excitement and anticipation. We are eagerly awaiting the legendary Harrison Ford and the masterful collaboration of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who are about to whisk us away on a final, mesmerizing adventure with the charismatic swashbuckling hero, Indiana Jones. The sight is truly remarkable, with hundreds of fans lining up, many of whom likely had been young boys when the first films were released. Those movies had a profound impact on the landscape of filmmaking and left an indelible mark on the lives of an entire generation.
In this latest adventure, Harrison Ford returns as an aging Indiana Jones, an 80-year-old grappling with the challenges of a changing world and his own personal losses. The film effectively portrays Indy as a grumpy old man, still clinging to his adventurous spirit but feeling out of place in the modern era. Ford’s performance brings depth and authenticity to the character, showcasing his resilience and determination even in the face of personal tragedy.
The plot centres around the search for the Dial of Destiny, an ancient artifact with immense power. Indy’s goddaughter, nicknamed “Wombat,” initially seeks his help, but their motivations diverge as the story unfolds. Meanwhile, an old Nazi doctor, driven by his twisted ideology, also seeks the relic to alter history in favour of the Nazis.
Fifteen years ago, I believe the plot would have had a greater impact. Back then, the atrocities of the Nazis and harrowing details of WWII were still forefront in our minds. However, in today’s world, we find ourselves inundated with round the clock news coverage from channels like CNN, CBC, MSNBC, and FOX, unfortunately exposing us to real time images of wars, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine. We witness the grim reality of bombs dropping on innocent people, and courageous soldiers fighting their battles with their last breath. In 2023, war has become an unfortunate and undeniable part of the fabric of our society.
Perhaps this is why watching an aging Harrison Ford run around like he’s thirty, no longer feels as believable or as thrilling when we witness the real life events unfolding on news channels throughout the day. It could be attributed to the so called “Trump effect” of attempting to ‘Make America Great Again’ or the lingering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with countless lives lost and many individuals battling long COVID and PTSD, haunted by the lingering effects of the disease that continue to plague our thoughts.
All of these factors combined have made the once exciting chase sequences and epic fight scenes glorified by Indiana Jones harder to watch and most importantly, harder to fathom.
Although I wasn’t alive during World War II, I can’t believe how people found the will to watch movies depicting the Allies’ struggles when the war dominated the news. Perhaps television wasn’t as pervasive, and radio forced us to utilize our imaginations. However, in today’s world, with minute by minute television reports and the vast reach of the internet, films about the Nazis no longer evoke the same level of emotion among the general population once the projector starts rolling.
While this film successfully blends nostalgia with a fresh narrative, there are moments when the pacing feels uneven. Some scenes could have benefited from tighter editing to maintain a consistent momentum. However, the charismatic performances, engaging storyline, and well crafted action sequences compensate for these minor shortcomings.
Overall, “Indiana Jones & The Dial of Destiny” offers a thrilling adventure that will captivate long-time fans while introducing a new generation to the rich lore of these revered films. While it may not reach the heights of the original movies, it provides an enjoyable and nostalgic experience that respects the franchise’s legacy.
So don your fedora, grab your whip, and embark on Indiana Jones’ final quest—this is a ride you won’t want to miss.
by Myles Shane