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INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY



Got a sneak peak of the film at a preview showing last night in Sarasota.

And the critics, except for Yours truly, are wrong.

The reviews, mostly mediocre, have been unfair to the latest and, presumably, last installment in the transcendent series. Ford is at his intense and inventive best. Toby Jones, though only in a handful of scenes, plays them with the professional aplomb of our generation's best character actor. Mads Mikkelsen is the best bad guy since Paul Freeman's star turn as Belloch in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

And even the skanky Phoebe Waller-Bridge doesn't channel her unwatchable character from the execrable Fleabag.

The plot involves the best bad guys on the planet, the Nazis, and a quest for an artifact with world-changing power a la' Raiders of the Ark, and The Last Crusade. This time, in a nod to the secular progressives, the item does not have a connection to Christianity (Gasp!).

It is the Antikythera, a 2200 year old "clock" designed by Archimedes, the famed Greek mathematician. This device, which supposedly does exist, has been called the first computer. Indiana Jones Five imbues it with a power which allows, through complicated use of its dials, to set time and place where fissures open and transport a capable individual to certain predetermined temporal arrival points.

Hope you're following along because the single flaw with The Dial of Destiny is the over-complication of the quest. Not only does Indiana, and of course the evil Mads Mikkelsen, have to find the two HALVES of the Antikythera, but also the Grafikos, which is the instruction tablet on how to use it.

The film starts in 1945 with Indiana taking on entire regiment of Nazis (Guess who wins?), before securing HALF of the Antikythera. It is squirreled away for decades. In 1969, Ms. Waller-Bridge shows up. She's Indy's Goddaughter. She purloins the piece when he looks away to fend off three highly trained government agents who aren't even half his age (Yikes) and the chase is on. Her character, Helena Shaw, is in debt to the mob and needs to sell the relic to pay off a few of the stock unsavory characters so popular in the series.

Mikkelsen, a former member of the Gestapo, wants BOTH HALVES and THE GRAFIKOS, so he can return to 1939 Germany; kill Adolph Hitler; and correct the "mistakes" of WWII.

The Dial of Destiny has its share of physics-defying (Archimedes would be chagrined) action sequences. At one point, Mikkelsen takes a railroad block-and-tackle rig to the head . . . at 60mph . . . but returns 24 years later without a scratch. And Jones, much as I love the character, would have been beaten to death by the sketchy agents in Mikkelsen's entourage. He's just a little too athletic for an 81-year-old university professor. Don't care what his pedigree is.

No matter. The movie is WAY TOO MUCH FUN to pay attention to Jone's ability to punch out a 30-year-old future MMA champ. And the fighting ability of the 5'10" Waller-Bridge is a joke. She'd have been snapped into two 2'11" halves ten minutes into the flick. But ya just don't care.

The denouement of The Dial of Destiny is hilarious and touching, much as it pains this reviewer to see the man, who transcended action heroes by playing Han Solo and Indiana Jones, living as a geriatric resident of Manhattan in 1969 where the bulk of the action takes place.

Stick around for the end. If it doesn't bring the proverbial smile to your face, followed shortly by a few tears, you've not been on the planet long enough to have gasped as a huge boulder closed in on a then 39-year-old handsome and athletic Harrison Ford during his escape attempt from a cave in South America.

Long live Indiana Jones.

Theatrical Only.








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