It’s been 15 years since the last movie and now Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny has finally arrived with its world premiere at Cannes this week.
Despite initial enthusiasm from a tearful Harrison Ford, 80, Variety reported a “muted” standing ovation of just five minutes that was “more of a polite formality” after the screening.
The latest and final adventure for Indy takes place in 1969 with the archaeologist teaming up with his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge).
The pair are in search of the other half of Archimedes’ Antikythera, an ancient device with rumoured time travel properties that an old Nazi (Mads Mikkelsen) is bent on obtaining.
The first reviews have landed and so far the blockbuster has just 52 per cent positive, marking the film with a green splat on Rotten Tomatoes. Here are the highlights from the praising through to the scathing.
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There are some genuinely moving scenes as we see this fantastic character finally getting ready to hang up his hat for the last time. Thanks, Indy, it’s been quite a ride.
If you join him for the ride, it feels like a fitting goodbye to cinema’s favourite grave robber.
Harrison Ford is the hero of the hour. He never loses either his scowl or his doggedness. He plays even the flimsiest scenes with conviction and dry humour. His performance carries the movie.
It’s a vast step up from the muddled mess of Crystal Skull, and while it’s not perfect, with its uneven storytelling, it’s not a bad end for our favourite archaeologist-professor-adventurer.
The damn thing is fun. Mangold may not have the young Spielberg’s musical flair for extravagant action choreography (who does?), but he is a tougher, leaner director, using a tighter frame and keeping his camera close.
Indiana Jones still has a certain old-school class.
It counts as a sort of compliment to say that James Mangold’s film – until a gleefully absurd ending – plays like just another episode in a creaky unpretentious romp.
There are needs being met here, but they aren’t storytelling-based so much as stoking-the-fanbase and meeting-the-bottom-line ones.
Next Best Picture
Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny may not be the finest film of the franchise, but it’s far from the worst. It’s solid entertainment with a legendary character riding off into the sunset one final time.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a dutifully eager but ultimately rather joyless piece of nostalgic hokum.
The good news is that it’s not as poor as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The bad news is that it’s not much better.
It ultimately feels like a counterfeit of priceless treasure: the shape and the gleam of it might be superficially convincing for a bit, but the shabbier craftsmanship gets all the more glaring the longer you look.
The jokes, the zest and the exuberance just aren’t there, so instead of a joyous send-off for our beloved hero, we get a depressing reminder of how much livelier his past adventures were.
One can feel the four credited screenwriters grasping at inspiration and coming up short. What they did manage to make would be perfectly fine as a standalone adventure film starring some other character, but it’s not worthy of the whip.
This is a big, bombastic movie that goes through the motions but never finds much joy in the process, despite John Williams’ hard-working score continuously pushing our nostalgia buttons and trying to convince us we’re on a wild ride.
There are so many chase sequences… that the movie seems held together with slender bits of plot, rather than the other way around. Worse yet, they’re so heavily CGI’ed that they come off as grimly dutiful rather than thrilling or delightful.
The camera rarely creates meaning on its own, except when there’s a familiar brown fedora somewhere on screen, at which point it charges towards it like a happy pup reuniting with its owner – a shot that repeats on at least four separate occasions.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny hits UK cinemas on June 30, 2023.