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‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Review: Harrison Ford Plays the Aging Indy in a Sequel That Serves Up Nostalgic Hokum Minus the Thrill
Owen Gleiberman Chief Film Critic “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is a dutifully eager but ultimately rather joyless piece of nostalgic hokum. It’s the fifth installment in the “Indiana Jones” franchise, and though it has its quota of “relentless” action, it rarely tries to match (let alone top) the ingeniously staged kinetic bravura of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” How could it? “Raiders,” whatever one thinks of it as a movie (I always found it a trace impersonal in its ’40s-action-serial-on-steroids excitement), is arguably the most influential blockbuster of the last 45 years, even more so than “Star Wars.” Back in 1977, George Lucas took us through the looking glass of what would become our all-fantasy-all-the-time movie culture. But it was Steven Spielberg, teaming up with Lucas in “Raiders,” who introduced the structural DNA of the one-thing-after-another, action-movie-as-endless-set-piece escapist machine. This means that “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” isn’t just coming after four previous “Indiana Jones” films. It’s coming after four decades of high-priced Hollywood action decadence, from the “Fast and Furious” series to the “Mission: Impossible” and “Terminator” and “Lara Croft” and “Transformers” and latter-day “Bond” films (not to mention the Marvel space operas), all of which owe a boundless debt to the aggro zap of the “Raiders” aesthetic.