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  • Writer's pictureSteve

Indiana Jones & The Dial of Destiny (2023)

First up, this has been reviewed better by those maybe less jaded than I am about the whole proceedings. Those that would proudly hail a less dispassionate bent towards the franchise that we can now safely assume (never say never again) has finally concluded. Admittedly, this is catnip to many reviewers who indeed know more than is healthy about this enduring franchise and like to tell you about it too. No bad thing, but I would ask that you remember that rose-tinted spectacles are just as effective as beer-goggles, more often than not.

You don't need me to tell you what happens either, so I'm not going to. If you're reading this then you have either seen this already, or are excited enough to at least have a look in anticipation. No spoilers here, so worry not.

The question we are all really asking is if James Mangold and Harrison Ford can pull this off. To create the same magic that Spielberg dreamed into existence before de-aging was even an idea, far less an actual tool that could be used, for good or ill, depending on your point of view. The fourth of the series probably did more harm than good morally speaking and unveiled a more distasteful side to Hollywood and the franchise that was, up until then, purely and unequivocally innocent and magical (dependent upon your age and if you saw Star Wars first or not).

Now I don't know what conversations were had in order for you and I to have to sit through it, but I'm guessing by now that nobody was suggesting it had to be done in order to provide closure that hordes of people were screaming rabidly about whilst at the same time animatedly waving wads of cash, begging the makers to take their money. The draw for everyone was indeed money, not duty, after all. If you believe anything else, then I have this lovely bridge to sell you.

Suffice to say, without a hint of surprise, that the answer to that question is no. Not a hard, bold, capitalised 'No', however. This is still bags of fun, is a bit too long, has some nice surprises and cameos and the performances by the main players are fine. It isn't sprinkled with magical fairy dust, to be fair to it, but it's no mean feat to meet the expectations of millions (billions?) of individual memories of a more innocent time. In that regard, failure is practically unavoidable.

In short, not as good as the first three, but still better than the fourth. And yes, you will probably find yourself watching this again with your kids/grandkids (delete as applicable) in twenty years on a Sunday afternoon on Netflix. Mangold is a safe pair of hands, thankfully, which was needed for something that was a bit of a stretch to begin with.


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