"Give em hell, Indiana Jones!"
With the release of Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny, we have bid farewell to the Indiana Jones franchise. What began over 40 years ago has come to a close. It's bittersweet, if I am being honest. I have always love the world and character of Indiana Jones. From watching the VHS with my Grandparents, as a kid, to playing the hard damn Nintendo game for Temple of Doom, and even the times I have gotten to hang out and talk with Harrison Ford, himself; the legacy that is Indiana Jones...and of course, the incomparable man that has brought him to life for more than two generations is a special one. At least, in my opinion, it is in the top echelon of characters and franchises created, in the last 50 years. The history used to bring us these stories, alone, is worth mentioning. Indian Jones's use of actual times, people, and events to build this fictional character made it so real for me. It made it so easy to bite into this universe and enjoy the savory goodness it gave us. This is one that will be hard to say bye to for me. No matter how bad the 4th one was, no matter the fact that there is only 5 movies, a failed prequel, and some books over a 40 year period, unlike other franchises; Indiana Jones has always had a special place, in my heart. It may be because of the memories of my Grandparents or the good old days or the hope that some of that magic does exist, in the world; that a normal everyday man could have these sorts of adventures; all while having a badass catchy tune follow him around. I think that's why I lean toward characters like Indy. Normal. No superpowers, no lightsabers, no force, now expensive tech or suits. He uses his craft, his wit, and his instinct to overcome. He is a teacher. He is a father. He is a husband. He bleeds, he doesn't heal fast, he ages. He is more real and relatable than most of the things we watch and read about or nerd out about. Not to mention the fact that so much actual American and Global history is discussed and used in the plot.
The Arc of The Covenant..the Holy Grail...Archimedes Dial. Fun fact: A device called the Antikythera mechanism is the true-life basis for the object at the center of the franchise’s latest installment. Off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in 1900, sponge divers came across a shipwreck filled with ancient treasures. Hidden among flashier findslike marble statues and jewelry was a mysterious device known today as the Antikythera mechanism.
Dated to more than 2,000 years ago, the device “is probably the most exciting artifact that we have from the ancient world,” says Jo Marchant, author of the 2008 book Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World’s First Computer. More than a millennium before 13th-century Europeans invented the first mechanical clocks, the Antikythera mechanism employed similarly complex technology—including gear wheels, dials and pointers—to chart the cosmos. The ancients used it to predict eclipses, track the movement of the sun and the moon, and even see when sporting events like the Olympics were scheduled to take place. However, Contrary to what Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny suggests, the Antikythera mechanism won’t transport you back in time; not literally, at least. Every Indiana Jones adventure needs an exotic fictional aspect; in this outing, Indy and crew chases after the Archimedes Dial, a fictionalized version of the Antikythera mechanism that predicts the location of naturally occurring fissures in time. Again, that part is not true; but, that is the stuff I am talking about! That little aspect of the franchise is why I love it so much. It's not sooooo farfetched that it's unbelievable. Gamma radiation causing a scientist to not die, but become a superhero called The Hulk; THAT is more farfetched than some of the stuff this franchise has given us. I can believe The Antikythera or The Arc being so powerful more than I can believe that a lab tech got struck by lightning and doused in chemicals to become "The Fastest Man Alive." That is what brings the glint in my eye and smile on my face every time I watch them. Also, as I mentioned, he is normal. He is a teacher and archeologist with a normal person's build and speed and tact. Yeah he has bravery, a whip, a hat, and a theme song; but if he were stabbed in the heart or shot in the head... he aint coming back. I mean, unless he drank from The Holy Grail, but I digress. Now, let's get to the latest, and final installment.
In the film’s 1944-set prologue, Indy captures a train of Nazi plunder, including the Dial of Destiny. When the movie jumps to 1969, Indy is set to retire from teaching, and the world is celebrating the return of Apollo 11. One of the men most responsible for the United States’ victory in the space race is played by the very talented Mads Mikkelsen. His name is Jürgen Voller, a Nazi who was given sanctuary by the Allies in exchange for his expertise. This character is based on the real-life NASA engineer Wernher von Braun. I also recommend listening to Bob Newhart's stand-up comedy routine about Wernher (Rocket Scientist). When Indy learns that Voller wants to use the Archimedes Dial to travel back in time for his own dangerous purposes, he dusts off his old hat and whip to keep a devastating weapon out of Nazi hands. Contrary to the movie, it is not truly known if Archimedes was the one that really created it all those years ago. However, there are many that believe that the device described could have been created by inventor Posidonius. We may never really know, but the object is real. That is all I need. For this case and this movie, the creator was Archimedes. I won't give you a shot for shot rendition. This isn't a movie script. These are my thoughts and feelings on the movie.
The movie was a fantastic end to the franchise. It's easy to find little things like some of the editing being off or dialogue not matching their over shoulder shots. If you are the type to nitpick that and expect perfection in all aspects of life, I feel sorry for your unhappiness... lol. There were some times, according to Juice on the podcast, that old Harrison's voice is on digitally de-aged younger Indy. It is true, but it is nothing to hate the movie over. I thought the direction they took the character in his older age was believable. I agreed with the choice to "kill off" his son with dialogue. We knew that Shia was not coming back for this movie. So I liked that they went ahead and answered why he was absent with a few lines of dialogue. It still moved the story just fine, it added to the character of Indy and Marion, and it nipped the questions, of his whereabouts, in the bud. I think sequels and legacy sequels could learn from that practice. It is possible to address a characters absence in a few short lines while moving the plot along. I wish that Independence Day 2 had done that with Connie and the Casse children from the first movie, but, again, I digress. I enjoyed the action. I do, however, feel that some of the action really showed his age. It was further proof that it is time for the hat and whip to be hung up. So I am happy that this ending happened to wipe out the travesty that was Kingdom of The Crystal Skull. Don't get me wrong, before the "Inter-dimensional Beings" were a thing, KoTCS wasn't terrible. This, however, is a much better "finish" to what this franchise was than that was. I also enjoyed the dynamic of adding a female counterpart that isn't romantically involved with Indy. It shows a different side to him. It made it different and fresh to have the female counterpart be more of a child aspect than someone who would end up sleeping with him. That's one of the things that always wore me down about Bond was the constant lean on the sex trope, but that's a thought for a different time. The kid brought a nice addition to it too. It's like an homage to Short-Round without having him. I would have like to have seen Ke Huy Quan make an appearance as a grown up Short-Round. It would have been a nice nod and reunion. Having Salla make a return was so nice. John Rhys-Davies is treasure. I also found it interesting that so many of Indy's friends were killed off in the line of duty. The crazy appearance and death of Antonio Banderas was shocking to me. It was a very character and entourage driven movie for Indiana Jones.
Overall, I loved the movie. The story, the characters, the farewell, the moments, the comedy; it just all hit with me. You can hear more about it on our newest episode of 30&Nerdy Podcast, but I loved it. It is bittersweet to see something you enjoy end, but everything has to end. The journey of this character through multiple generations has stood the test of time and done things that some franchises don't get to do. It is sad that Indiana Jones is over, but we got to live in a time where our Parents and Grandparents go to introduce us to Indiana Jones in their way, and now we can introduce to our children the same way they did for us. "This is Indiana Jones," Ill say, "I met him because of your Great Grandfather. Now, I get to introduce him to you. The Incomperable Indiana Jones, played by the legendary Harrison Ford. Speaking of Harrison Ford, after we are done...do i have a story for you...