Despite having no expectations going into Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, it was, by and large, a monumental disappointment. The jokes are flat, and the characters’ nonsensical dialogue drags. One kid, saddled with them, winds up the one redeeming quality. My anger increased with every second past the two-hour mark. Often, older films that get a sequel and try to capture the essence of the earlier movies veer into the worst parts of the original—their offensiveness. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a punishment for some previous life I have no recollection of.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Has Shoddy Dialogue and Ham Performances
Directed by James Mangold and written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and David Koepp, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny follows the titular character on a quest to stop two relic pieces from combining. But first, they give a backstory to solidify the introduction of Wombat, aka Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), and villain Jürgen (Mads Mikkelsen). The acting isn’t that good, and the comedic timing is off. It comes down to dialogue. Little conversation transpires between characters that are laughter-inducing. I’m not sure what went wrong with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, but this was slapstick that doesn’t stick.
Ethann Isadore delivers genuine comedic moments as Teddy, Helena’s child sidekick. His character is funny, bright, and the only one I cheered. It looks like much of the cast is enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, that energy does not transfer over to the viewing experience. I wish it did. Mason, played by Shaunette Renée Wilson, serves next to no purpose. So, this highlights an issue I have regarding the depiction of non-white characters.
Stereotype or a Shrug
Plenty of shows have issues with not knowing how to write non-white characters. Inevitably, the person playing the role suffers as their story receives minimal attention. Either that or they lean into stereotypes or kill the character off. Look at Lost, Sleepy Hollow, and American Gods for reference. In Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Mason, a Black woman and government agent, shows incompetence as murders occur around her. Then she’s killed off. That’s it.
Teddy’s character gets no backstory aside from trying to steal from Helena, who catches him. I’m tired of the implication that life does not exist for people until the benevolent white man or woman shows up. All this makes me wonder if they are trying to meet the necessary new requirements The Academy laid down regarding reward eligibility. More films will go this route, doing the bare minimum to get a lauded Oscar.
Terrifyingly Subpar CGI
Hollywood needs to retire the de-aging, which looks so blatant. It reminds me of the terror I felt looking at CGI Renesmee in the Twilight series. Each time de-aged Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) moved or turned his head was a lesson in creepiness and failed effects. These sets try to mimic Marvel’s scope without the actual effort to make the scenes look real. However, almost all the backgrounds looked like they were on a studio lot. That or people acting in front of a green screen. The building and setting remind me of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, just obviously fake. That’s my biggest gripe with effects. If they are not seamless, it pulls me out of the film.
While a fan of Harrison Ford and the older Indiana Jones‘ films in a nostalgic, entertainment fashion, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is lackluster in every possible way. The performances deliver enough ham to open a butcher shop. So, as the cast possesses acting chops, it must be the dialogue and characters are overly dramatic. While some might enjoy the nostalgia the movie taps into, but Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is too dull and long for me.