For 40 plus years, Harrison Ford has been synonymous with Dr. Henry Jones Junior, the globetrotting archaeology teacher, grave robber, more.
His adventures are well known - as are ingredients to a great adventure - throw in some historical value, some horror, some mystical and spiritual business, and away we go. Really about it. And all kinds of action.
Over four films, and an appearance in the television show in the mid 90s – the 2010s marked the first decade in which Ford hadn’t donned the fedora since the 70s.
It's a strong return after 15 years.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is a perfect action ‘film’. Set piece after set piece.
My concern with it even as a three-year-old is the ending involves Jones hitching a ride on a submarine, getting caught, and then closing his eyes for the big finale.
For me Temple of Doom is a perfect action ‘movie’ – where the last 40 minutes is nothing but action.
The advantage this series has had for the last 30 years is Harrison ford is aging slower than most, including his character. While Ford is 80, Jones is 70 – so there is a bit to play on with Ford in better shape than most 50-year-olds. Jones tends to fall over and not complete many stunts - which makes complete sense for a senior citizen.
There is the punching, and a great 20 minute throwback to the mid 1940s – which makes me wonder why a pitch shift couldn’t have been used to de-age Ford’s voice as well as his looks for the opening flashback to World War II.
Jump cut to 1969 and the world has passed Dr. Jones by. The students don’t listen in class, and it’s moon day. Taking a page out of the young Indiana Jones chronicles TV show - Dr. Jones meets the moon astronauts, only come the end of the film to meet another man of science.
This adventure starts off in like the Temple of Doom’s “one day of adventure” for Dr. Jones, before the plot give ways to more standard ‘Raiders’ like action beats, sets, and set up.
There is certainly more humour here and more banter between Jones and his female lead here than the first three, even fourth movie, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The story and script acknowledge Jones’ age. There seem to be a few major characters just shot and killed as well.
The problem is - the first three films have set such a high bar - as has Ford with all kinds of series throughout his career - see Star Wars, Blade Runner, Jack Ryan, and in a way - The Fugitive - where do you go?
I found the story could have spent more time on the plane heading to the finale – and then more time in Syracuse come the ending.
I have little issue with the ending moves of the Dial of Destiny, nor the dénoument scene with one last Indiana Jones cameo – I feel the movie drags in the middle only.
Raiders, Temple of Doom 10/10
Last Crusade 9/10
Crystal Skull 7/10
Dial of Destiny 8.5/10
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens this week - and plays everywhere.
Elemental plays this week in the Creek!