Right from the opening scene, the latest Indiana Jones adventure keeps the audience on the edge of their seats, taking them on a journey filled with pulse-pounding excitement, intriguing mysteries and unforgettable characters. In fact, the film opens with a 20-minute long spectacular train sequence set in the background of World War II. Fifth in the thrill-filled series, Dr Henry Jones (nicknamed Indy or Indiana), an archaeologist professor, continues to once again enthral and entertain with gravity-defying stunts and his unbeatable wit.
Originally conceived by director Steven Spielberg and created for the screen by George Lucas, it is now more than four decades since Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) became a smash hit and introduced the character Indiana Jones (played by actor Harrison Ford). This unforgettable super-hit was followed by The Temple of Doom (1984), The Last Crusade (1989), The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) and now The Dial of Destiny.
The earlier four films were directed by Steven Spielberg but The Dial of Destiny is directed by James Mangold, who has jointly written the screenplay with Jez Butterworth, David Koepp and John-Henry Butterworth, and carries Spielberg’s vision forward expertly.
The film is co-produced by Lucas Films and Walt Disney Pictures and premiered as an official selection at the 76th Festival de Cannes on 23 March.
The plot sees Indiana Jones retrieving an ancient artefact known as Antikythera, and not letting the Nazis get the better of him. With a time-machine element, the story takes a fresh twist. At the onset, Dr Jones, who is on the verge of retirement, is served divorce papers. Enter his goddaughter, Helena (ably enacted by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) who teams up with him to battle against a German Nazi-turned-NASA scientist, Jurgen Voller (played by Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen), and stop him from changing the course of history by going back in time.
The best part of every Indiana Jones film is not just the story; the action and humour make it a fun watch. The slick cinematography and the unforgettable musical score are the other highlights of the film. With his wonderful score, John Williams reconnects viewers with the classy Indiana Jones theme music. Williams has done it once again, proving that old is indeed gold, considering the composer is 91 years old. Ford, too (despite looking like a senior citizen rather than a typical action hero), continues his legacy as Indiana Jones with aplomb.
The special effects enhance the entire adventure experience, while the stunts and chase sequences speak highly of the talented teamwork that has gone into making this sequel a success. Travelling between 1944 and 1969, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a tale of age, time and family relationships that measure up to the classics that preceded it.
Satish Bhatia is a freelance producer, director and cinematographer for various national and international channels. He has won several awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Western India Cinematographers Association.