Indiana Jones Rides Again
A bad guy in a movie has a lot of latitude for acting. He can walk up the wall, crawl across the ceiling, go piss in the corner and everybody will say, “Fantastic!” But somebody’s going to have to catch that sucker. Somebody’s going to have to play the guy who gets him in the end. And that’s a better part.
I’ve always loved old school film making – character driven stories with great acting, fabulous locations, astute direction and lighting and immersive story lines. Harrison Ford is one of the last great action heroes and personally I believe Disney’s Marvel superhero juggernaut fades by comparison.
Indiana Jones disappeared about fifteen years ago but he’s now back in The Dial of Destiny. It’s 1969 and Jones has had a gutful of disinterested, cynical archaeology students who have zero interest in learning about the the past.
Fortunately his goddaughter – Helena Shaw played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge – invades his life and drags him off to Tangiers. She’s in search of the missing half of an artifact fictionally created by Archimedes the ancient Greek scientist.
Archimedes was a brilliant man – an inventor, mathematician, astronomer and engineer. He lived in Syracuse and scenes for the movie were filmed in Sicily. Using an actual location definitely adds authenticity to the movie.
Apparently Harrison Ford has a thing for Italian food and to the delight of one restaurant owner he dined there most days.
Mads Mikkelsen plays Nazi treasure hunter the sinister Jurgen Voller. And as we know, Indiana Jones just hates Nazis. Ditto anything resembling a snake – but there will be no spoilers here!
At the cinema we’d been upgraded to premium seating. This meant we adults could sit like kids in outsized luxurious lounge chairs with our feet resting on raised leg supports. It’s a marathon movie of nearly three hours and several folk had armed themselves with rations to last the distance.
The bloke sitting on my left was well equipped with mega sized popcorn, baked goods, sandwiches and three different beverages. He was in no danger of running out of food and noisily munched and slurped during the entire film. I guess we should have been grateful he left his seat to field phone calls. Heads turned and I got the distinct impression some members of the audience could cheerfully have strangled him. Indiana Jones has that effect on film buffs.
It was great to have another chance to admire the way Harrison Ford does the sly eyebrow lift accompanied by a lip curl when he’s totally disgusted with his fellow humans.
Jones self-containment and emotional restraint provided a glimpse into the repressed grief about his failed marriage. When Helena asks him what he’d do if he could turn back time Jones replies he’d prevent his son enlisting.
‘I would tell him that he would die, that his mother would be overcome with a grief so intense that his father would be unable to console her, and that it would end their marriage.’
I really enjoyed The Dial of Destiny – but I did feel it could have been edited down to about two hours or so. And at times I found Waller-Bridge’s interpretation of Helena a tad tedious. Admittedly she redeemed herself somewhat towards the end.
photo: Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones attire – usually a stylish fedora hat accessorized by a stock whip. Although in The Dial of Destiny he disguises himself by wearing a Nazi uniform.