Deborah Ross

Did ChatGPT write this? Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny reviewed

Even the addition of Phoebe Waller-Bridge adds little of value

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth and final film in the franchise so it’s Harrison Ford’s last go at cracking the bullwhip as either the world’s greatest archaeologist or the world’s greatest plunderer, depending on where you are coming from.

Ford is now 80 but they still make him appear to climb rock faces, jump between buildings, punch underwater eels in the face and gallop a horse through the New York subway – and there is no doubt about it: he could pluck the still-beating heart from your chest if he was of a mind, so steer clear and never grab the stool next to him in Pret. (I wonder if Ford ever beseeched on behalf of his character: ‘Can’t he just do Wordle and watch Homes Under the Hammer for a morning?’ Perhaps if he agreed to punch three more eels in the face first and race a tuk-tuk through the labyrinthine back streets of Tangiers, they’d think about it.)

An alternative title could have been ‘Indiana Jones and the Script by ChatGPT’

This is the first of the films not directed by Spielberg – James Mangold is at the helm – and I was hoping it would have something to say about ageing and mortality or even send itself up in some clever way, but no such luck. It opens with a 20-minute prologue set in Germany in 1944 as the Third Reich is crumbling and Jones – a ‘de-aged’ Ford – is set on plundering treasure the Nazis have already plundered. (Two wrongs don’t make a right, fella.) The treasure is the Dial of Destiny, which was created by Archimedes and is capable of playing with space and time. Jones and a fellow archaeologist, Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), wrest the object from a nasty Nazi Commander (Mads Mikkelsen), who wrests it back… There is a lot of wresting via car chases, a motorbike chase, running along the roof of a moving train (tunnel!) and so on.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in