There are a number of reasons why there is some nervousness among Indiana Jones fans as Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny edges towards theatres. Rumors swirl around an ending from a test screening that bears all the hallmarks of a typical Kathleen Kennedy related, IP destroying clusterfuck. Meanwhile Lucasfilm’s general creative failure since the acquisition by Disney does not give hope. Another reason why some fear the worst is because of the last instalment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, fifteen years ago.
2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a smash hit, with a near $800 million take and positive reviews from critics. It was fans who had reservations, most of the criticism crystalising (pun intended) as the years passed.
Lack of Nazi antagonists, the nuking of the fridge, CGI monkeys, studio set jungle scenes, CGI stunts, CGI ants, the character of Mutt in general, religious occult replaced by sci-fi, and a visibly tired Karen Allen all came in for comment.
Harrison Ford has come out swinging. In an interview in The Hollywood Reporter for a recent and expansive interview, he explains why he thinks the film received the criticism it did, and it’s all to do with expectations:
“No. I mean, [the critics] were harsh on it, but what are they doing now? I understand. But those were their rules — not [director Steven Spielberg’s and co-writer George Lucas’] rules. They were imposing their rules on what the movie should be. I don’t feel it’s necessary to address those issues. I think that everyone has a right to their opinion. The film was not as successful as we wanted it to be, perhaps. But it didn’t create an attitude or a behavior that carried over into this film.”
He talks about the script, and how Mangold developed it further, while Spielberg is still involved:
“Jim developed the script, so I knew what we were getting when we were going in that direction. But Steven’s still on the picture and has always been on the picture. He’s not the director this time, but he’s intimately involved.”
He also addressed Indy’s age, but mentioned that they have deliberately steered clear of cheap stunts and gags relating to this:
“In [‘Dial of Destiny’] there were a lot of old jokes in the script. We took them all out. There is a moment where he observes himself in this situation and says, ‘What the f— am I doing in here?’ But I hate what I call ‘talking about the story’.
I want to see circumstances in which the audience gets a chance to experience the story, not to be led through the nose with highlights pointed out to them. I’d rather create behavior that is the joke of age rather than talk about it.”
In the interview he also addressed why he is working so much right now. It is after not working for over two years in lockdown and then delays on Indy 5. Everything has all come together at once.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hits cinemas on June 30th.
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