Hard to believe that the original RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK was released FORTY-TWO years ago! I mention this because Nazis are Indiana Jones’ favorite villains – right after snakes – and this fifth movie in the franchise kicks off with Nazis stealing a trainload of antiquities as the Third Reich collapses. Of course, they belong in a museum, and Harrison Ford gets the ‘younger’ treatment as Indy of the mid-1940s, where he tries to foil their evil plans.
Director and co-writer James Mangold steals every shot from Spielberg’s playbook – I literally felt like the movie was directed by Steven – which is not a bad thing, but I would have liked Mangold, a great director in his own right, to put his stamp on the movie rather than create an homage that has this story hang out in the shadow of RAIDERS.
In this adventure, Indy must stop the Nazis from acquiring the Ark of the Covenant – whoops – from acquiring the Dial of Destiny, a device created by the brilliant Greek mathematician Archimedes two thousand years ago that supposedly allows time travel. Our requisite evil Nazi, played gamely by Mads Mikkelsen, wants the Dial to go back to Nazi Germany of the 1930s and change the destiny of the war. Indy’s inevitable sidekick is Helena, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who just wants the Dial to make lots of money. I like her already.
Taking place in the late 1960s, just after the Moon Landing, the production design, as you would expect, is lush, and there are lots of great nods to that tumultuous period. While there is truly little original in this final chapter in Indy’s saga, as with previous chapters, it’s all about the ride. Enjoy. INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY is in theaters now.