When Kingdom of the Crystal Skull released in 2008, audiences lamented the loss of Indiana Jones’ 1940s setting and iconic movie villains. Did Dial of Destiny bring back classic Indy?
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Release Date: 6/30/2023
Director: James Mangold
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Where to Watch: In theaters
Dial of Destiny, set twelve years later, reverses course from Cold War-era Russian antagonists by alluding to Operation Paperclip – the secret program that recruited Nazi scientists to work for the American aerospace industry after WWII. In this way, even though it’s set in the era of the Space Race, Indiana Jones is once again back to punching Nazis.
While some may find it far-fetched watching a 70-year-old man survive bone-cracking jolts in car chases, explosions, and deep-sea dives, it’s important to remember that Indiana Jones is essentially a cartoon character… created by George Lucas in homage to the serialized radio plays of his childhood. In spite of its stylized nature, this film still manages to take the character of Indiana Jones and his age seriously, using the opportunity to lean into his career as a professor and the toll such a life of adventuring has had.
While it would have been easy to lean in to the Hollywood standard of packing the script with every possible reference to past films, the screenwriters had the appropriate amount of restraint and allowed this story to pay homage to Indy’s past while also telling its own narrative not reliant on nostalgia. It’s difficult to say much without spoiling the third act of the film, but needless to say the filmmakers have done a fantastic job of sending off one of the most iconic characters of American cinematic history.
About our Admit One Author
Isaac Frankel is a freelance writer and content creator specializing in reviews and analysis of cinema, interactive media, and mythological storytelling. He was raised in Prescott, AZ, wrote his first non-fiction book in 2013 after graduating from Tribeca Flashpoint College with a degree in Game & Interactive Media Design and currently produces content for the YouTube channel: Off Screen.
More of his work and current projects can be found at www.isaacafrankel.com