Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Parent Guide
Fun and fast-paced, this is a fitting conclusion to the beloved franchise.
Parent Movie Review
With a personal history that includes exploits like finding the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, you’d think old age might hold some pleasant surprises for Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones (Harrison Ford). Instead, his “golden years” feature a dingy New York apartment, a thankless teaching job, and a pending divorce.
Things start looking up when Jones runs into Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), his goddaughter and the only child of Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), an old friend from the War. She’s looking for Archimedes’ Dial, an artefact alleged to have been built by the famed mathematician himself, and which is reputed to predict astrological events uncannily well. Jones and Basil once rescued the Dial from a singularly unpleasant Nazi scientist named Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), and Helena is trying to track it down. Unfortunately, Voller is also looking for it. He shares Basil’s belief that the dial can predict the position and destination of rips in time. If Voller can get his hands on it before Jones does, then the outcome of World War II is going to change dramatically.
While Indiana Jones (and Harrison Ford) seem a little old to set out on a new magical mystery MacGuffin tour, the film doesn’t slow down for octogenarians. Our fedora-hatted whip-cracking hero will need to hope his knees hold out long enough for him to finish his quest. There are a few problems, mostly with the de-aging technology used for scenes set in decades past. It’s improving, but as soon as people start emoting or speaking, it feels like you’re in a very high-budget video game cutscene. I also have a few bones to pick with the writers about the ending, but in the interest of keeping this review spoiler-free, I’ll say no more about it. Those issues aside, the film is downright fun. It has everything you’d expect from the franchise - lunatic car chases, Indy’s terse little wisecracks in between gunfights, and high-intensity archaeological work. Parental concerns are almost identical to other Indy movies, so look out for some high-speed violence and a little bit of language.
In spite of that, and not because of the somewhat clumsy ending, the movie left me sad. It’s a good, fun, fast-paced action film, exactly the kind of summer blockbuster you were expecting. But that’s the problem. This is a summer blockbuster in this foul year of our Lord 2023, and it will never have the same sparkle in its eye as a summer blockbuster from 1981. For better or worse, movies were just different 42 years ago. Everything old may be new again, but nothing new will ever be old. Time passes. Trends and preferences change. Technology leaps ahead of our ability to use it. With Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it was easier to write off my personal disquiet – the film was terrible, both for its time and for all others. But with Dial of Destiny, we’re shown an Indiana Jones movie which is good for what it is – but it can never be what it was.
The first time I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, I thought I had finally been allowed to watch a real, honest-to-goodness grown-up movie. It had everything – insidious Nazis, car chases, ancient relics, beautiful women, monkeys, snakes, and a guy getting mulched into an airplane propeller. My understanding of film has broadened somewhat since I was twelve years old, but I still see that movie as the epitome of adventure, excitement, and the inherent romance of film. For its flaws, I can’t help but tip my hat to Dial of Destiny as it passes through, but it was never going to be able to fill the shoes of the giants on whose shoulders it stands.Directed by James Mangold. Starring Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen. Running time: 142 minutes. Theatrical release June 30, 2023. Updated June 29, 2023
Watch the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Rating & Content Info
Why is Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny rated PG-13? Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of violence and action, language and smoking.
Violence: People are beaten, shot, and blown up. Characters unsuccessfully attempt to hang a man. Individuals are impaled with ancient siege weapons. Several men fatally fall out of an airplane.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially and occasionally seen smoking cigarettes. A background character holds what looks like a marijuana joint, but it’s never addressed.
Page last updated June 29, 2023
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For more adventures in illegitimate archaeology featuring Indy, try Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade, or heaven help you, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If you’re looking for a different take on a similar theme, try National Treasure, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, The Vault, The Da Vinci Code, The Mummy, Uncharted, or The Lost City. For slightly more realistic depictions of archaeology, try The Dig or The Lost City of Z.