Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate premiered Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival. At the glitzy Palais screening, director James Mangold and stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Boyd Holbrook and Ethann Isidore received a warm five-minute standing ovation from the audience. But it was Indy himself, Harrison Ford, who was the center of attention, with the actor visibly moved to tears by the reception.
Not soon after the premiere, the first reviews of the film, which will be shown in cinemas on June 30, trickled in. Indiana Jones franchise is decidedly mixed.
A common theme in early reviews is that the film is better than Indy’s last performance, the rather polarizing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull from 2008, but not much better. Many reviewers objected to Ford’s digital aging for some scenes and the use of CGI in general. But there was much praise for Waller-Bridge, and of course Ford, who still exudes charm as the adventurous archaeologist.
Below are key excerpts from some of the most prominent early reviews.
The Hollywood Reportr’s reviewer David Rooney wrote that “what the new film – written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp and Mangold, with the feel of something written by a committee – does have is a sweet explosion of pure nostalgia in the final scene a welcome return that was heralded early on with a few visual cues, but that “part of what obscures the fun of this closing chapter is how blatantly fake so much of it looks.”
The protectoris Peter Bradshaw was one of the film’s more positive critics, and he described it Dial of fate as “having quite a bit of pizzazz and fun and narrative ingenuity with all its MacGuffiny silliness that (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) not really.” The review continues, “The finale is wildly silly and entertaining, and that Dial of Destiny is used in a bold way that makes light of the whole issue of defying aging and the gravity of time. Indiana Jones still has a certain old-fashioned class about it.
IndieWireby David Ehrlich didn’t pull a fist in his review, writing that “isn’t alone Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate an almost complete waste of time, it’s also a comprehensive reminder that some relics are better left where and when they belong. If only any previous entries in this series had gone to great lengths to point that out. Ehrlich disagreed with many aspects of the film, but mostly that it was “safe.”
Unlike, richby John Nugent was very high on it Dial of fate, who writes that the film “has all the features of the series as one would hope they are, lovingly preserved as archaeological treasures.” Nugent welcomed Mangold’s more sombre direction and he concluded by writing “Indy’s last date with destiny has a bary finale that could divide the audience – but if you go with him, it feels like a fitting farewell to the favorite grave robber of the cinema.”
Write in the London Timescritic Kevin Maher began his review with the pithy, “The good news is it’s not as poor as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The bad news is it’s not much better.” Maher even suggested that the addition of Flea bagWaller-Bridge couldn’t save the film, but he did credit Ford’s performance. “Ford remains brimming with charisma despite all this. Even when the machine around him is on autopilot, he brings his weathered gravitas to arguably his most important persona. Inevitably, he and Indy deserved better,” Maher wrote.
Vanity purseby Richard Lawson was another who felt impressed Dial of fate. “The basic components are there: a search for objects rooted in history, a tingle of the supernatural, easily rooted against fascist villains,” Lawson writes, before adding, “but something is off in the calculations.” Lawson felt the story didn’t click and went too much into magic, and taking the character out of the familiar. “Indy just doesn’t fit the movie’s environment, an old man dragged somewhere he doesn’t belong,” Lawson writes.
Robbie Collin, writing in the UK The Daily Telegraphsaid that Dial of fate “ultimately feels like a counterfeit of a priceless treasure: its shape and sheen may be equally superficially convincing, but its shabbier workmanship becomes all the more striking the longer you look.” Collin also felt the film was too safe, writing that “the film is full of mayhem, but painfully lacking in spark and bravado: there’s no shot here, nor twist to the choreography, that leaves you in awe of the filmmaking mind that conceived it. “