4 Things You Should Know about Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Henry is a gray-haired, semi-retired college archaeology professor who is losing patience with the world in 1969 America.

As he sees it, young people play their music too loud. They party too much. He's no longer the optimistic, determined man who, decades ago, searched for ancient treasures, including the Ark of the Covenant. Today, Henry – some call him "Indiana Jones" – is a curmudgeon.

But then, a young woman enters his life. She's optimistic like he once was. And determined. She also has a passion for archaeology.

In her view, "Dr. Jones" is a hero of the archaeological world, and she needs his help.

This woman – his goddaughter, Helena – is in search of an ancient dial that was supposedly created by the ancient Greek mathematician/inventor Archimedes. As the story goes, Archimedes broke it into two pieces before he died. Legend holds that if the two pieces are placed back together, it will release untold powers.

Will they find it?

The new film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (PG-13) follows the worldwide quest of Indiana and Helena as they try to find the dial before the Nazis do. It stars Harrison Ford in the lead role.

Here are four things you should know:

Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, things to know about the new Indiana Jones movie

1. It Includes Everything You Love about Indiana Jones

Harrison Ford may have been pushing 80 when Dial of Destiny was filmed, but we nevertheless get to experience everything that we loved about the 1980s classics. He wears the hat. He uses the lasso. He fights Nazis. (They haven't given up on their dreams.) He outsmarts the bad guys. (Such as when he jumps atop a bookshelf and crushes his nemesis.) He gets fortunate – a lot. (He nearly is executed via hanging but is spared when the building is bombed.) He also encounters tons of critters in dark places, including roaches and spiders and centipedes and eels. (They take the place of spiders.) He rides a horse through a ticker tape parade and then through the subway. (Why not?). He even gets reunited with his old friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies).

The film wisely gives Indiana a younger sidekick in the uber-confident Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), who takes the chances that a 40-something Indiana would have taken. Her semi-adopted son Teddy gives us the child-age co-star that the earlier films had.

Dial of Destiny is the fifth movie in the franchise, following Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal (2008).

Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.

Indiana Jones

2. It's All about History, Christianity, and the Nazis

For lovers of history and archaeology, there's a lot to embrace in Dial of Destiny. Indiana encounters Neil Armstrong and the other astronauts who flew to the moon. He battles Nazis, first in the 1940s (more on that below) and then in the 60s, when a group of ex-Nazis is trying to revive the old empire. ("You didn't win the war. Hitler lost it," one of them tells an American.) He teaches us about Archimedes, who – according to legend – created a giant mirror that could deflect the sun's rays and set enemy ships on fire. Those legends hold that the dial even has time travel powers. (Yes, there's a bit of time travel in his new film.)

Dial of Destiny also includes an echo back to the very first film with its reference to Christianity. As the new movie opens, the Nazis are on a quest to find the Lance of Longinus, the 2,000-year-old spear that allegedly pierced Christ's side.

Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.

Indiana Jones

3. It Includes Groundbreaking CGI "De-Aging"

A few years ago, Rogue One (2016) gave Star Wars fans a stunning surprise with a "de-aged" Carrie Fisher, who looked like the 20-something actress from the 1977 blockbuster. That was followed by Captain Marvel (2019) delivering a de-aged Samuel L. Jackson, and The Mandalorian, Season 2, giving us a younger-looking Mark Hamill. Other films have joined the de-aging trends.

None of those compare to the jaw-dropping near-perfection or the impressive time length that we see in Dial of Destiny, which offers an opening de-aging scene of a 40-something Harrison Ford that lasts more than 20 minutes. We watch him laugh and smirk. We see him scowl and eat. We watch as he punches and gets punched. We even see him swim. You can't tell it's fake.

It's a groundbreaking moment in the history of de-aging that begs the question: How long will it be before Hollywood makes an entire film with a well-known star de-aged? It's inevitable.

Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.

Indiana Jones

4. It's Largely Family-Friendly

Dial of Destiny includes the fights and violence you expect from an action film. We see a handful of people shot and killed at near-point-blank range. We see dozens of explosions. We see skeletons. Indiana and others are kidnapped.

But Dial of Destiny, well, "dials back" the language quite a bit, considering its PG-13 rating. (See details below.) It contains no "strong" language (a phrase that often means f-bombs in the rating industry). It also contains no sexuality.

It includes solid lessons about sacrifice, redemption, reconciliation, and finding purpose late in life. The ending is nearly perfect.

It may be the best action movie of the year.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, language and smoking. Language details: h-ll (7), s---t (1), d--n (5), misuse of "Jesus" (1), p-ss (1), misuse of "God" (2).

Entertainment rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Photo courtesy: ©Disney, used with permission.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Looking for Wholesome Family Films This Christmas Season? Listen to Our Culture Expert Share Her Top 5 Family-Centered Films - Perfect for Family Movie Night!

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.



View All