Dust off that old fedora and break out that trusty whip, because Indiana Jones is finally back for one last ride.
After years of rumors, false starts, and rampant speculation, we’ve actually set our eyes upon brand new footage of Harrison Ford as the world-famous archaeologist extraordinaire, who makes a specialty out of punching Nazis and chewing bubble gum … and he’s all out of gum. Today, Lucasfilm dropped the highly-anticipated trailer and the official title for the artist previously known as "Indy 5," which is now called "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." What exactly is a dial of destiny, you ask? Beats me, but the cadence and rhythm of that McGuffin sure fits perfectly with the pulpy feel of the rest of the throwback franchise. And that’s a huge relief, considering that this will be the first (and presumably only?) "Indiana Jones" movie to be made without the direct fingerprints of a certain Mr. Steven Spielberg behind the camera.
The footage has everything you could possibly want out of modern Indy: sun-soaked desert locales! Fast-paced chase sequences! The professor himself in his natural environment — a classroom! And, of course, a stunning silhouette showing off that legendary, fedora-wearing profile. Yeah, despite plenty of reasons to feel cynical about a fifth "Indiana Jones" movie (a legacy sequel to another legacy sequel, as I enjoy reminding everyone), this James Mangold-directed picture looks as thrilling as it gets. Which makes sense, considering the filmmaker has plenty of experience crafting cinematic goodbyes to beloved fictional characters.
Without further ado, let’s break down all the highlights of that stunning trailer.
One last sunrise … or sunset?
You had to know the "Indiana Jones" trailer would begin with a calming, familiar, and deeply nostalgic shot like this, didn’t you? Spielberg and Douglas Slocombe, his regular cinematographer on all the previous films except "Crystal Skull" (which saw Janusz Kaminski step up to the plate to try to recapture that same old-school feel), crafted iconic shot after shot of golden hour at various desert locales. At this point, the shimmery golden haze of a sunset or sunrise simply evokes classic Indy. This time, it can’t help but feel like a dawn of a new era for the grizzled old fella … or, much more likely, the end of the road in one way or another.
Though this doesn’t really tell us much about the actual plot — beyond the Middle Eastern-looking setting and the fact that our hero will apparently end up in the middle of an action-packed set piece that will see him swinging from taxi to taxi — it does effectively transport us right back to the whip-cracking world of Indy as if we hadn’t missed a beat.
Also a nice touch: the voiceover narration (from a character that we’ll get to soon enough) wistfully opining about, "I miss the desert, I miss the sea…"
Old stomping grounds
You know how it goes by now, right? Dr. Jones is restful and content at his day job, teaching a bunch of adoring young students about the ins and outs of archaeology and relics from antiquity … only to get sucked right back into the fist-fighting world of Nazis, supernatural powers, and the occasional UFO. You have to admire the commitment though.
After an establishing shot of a much older Indy strolling through what appears to be 1960s New York City, we get a closer look at Ford teaching a classroom full of students about the more mundane pleasures of the business. He might have been the sexy action hero for an entire generation of fans, but at his heart? Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. has always been a big ol’ nerd.
A familiar foe
Can you feel the nostalgia in every frame of this trailer so far? Just listen to the voiceover that continues on, which is certainly pining for the good old days right along with us: "And I miss waking up every morning wondering what wonderful adventure the new day will bring us."
In a flashback sequence, we see soldiers taking away a hooded figure who seems to be their prisoner as an old European-style building explodes into flames behind them. Take a quick look at the helmet of the soldiers in the foreground and, well, it seems as if Indy can’t quite escape the demons from his past. As promised, those damned Nazis appear to be back and involved in some significant way. After all, what else besides the biggest bads of them all could possibly bring a geriatric Indy out of semi-retirement?
Days gone by
Where’s that Leonardo DiCaprio pointing meme when you need it? Look, everyone, Sallah’s back! The lovable sidekick from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," portrayed by John Rhys-Davies, is joining in on the action. As it turns out, it’s his soothing and unmistakable voice that’s been guiding us through the trailer up to this point. Though there’s no indication if he has a larger role to play in this movie beyond a single cameo outside of what looks like an airport, he’s sure doing his best to urge Indy to join him for old-time’s sake. Gently chastised by his longtime friend with the simple declaration that, "Those days have come and gone," the incorrigible Sallah responds heartily and with a winking sense of knowing something that Indy doesn’t: "Perhaps … perhaps not."
Train to nowhere
Here’s our first look at Toby Jones as Arnim Zola an undisclosed character in the film. But come on, after serving as the main prize of another high-speed train set piece in "Captain America: The First Avenger," it’s more than a little funny that the diminutive actor once again finds himself in the middle of a pulpy adventure on top of a speeding train, right? I suppose that’s fitting, though, since — fun fact alert – the Joe Johnston-directed superhero movie pretty blatantly showed some love for its "Indiana Jones" inspirations through its wink-wink, nudge-nudge reference of Hitler digging for "trinkets in the desert." Talk about coming full circle!
In any case, it’s great to see that Mangold and his director of photography, Phedon Papamichael, found some pretty striking and evocative shot selections that would feel right at home on that "One Perfect Shot" Twitter account.
The resemblance is uncanny!
If looks could kill, then the lasers that a young, digitally de-aged Harrison Ford is staring at his captor(s) would probably melt some Nazi faces along the same lines of, well, you know.
Seriously though, after months and months of rumors that were only just recently confirmed, here’s the official reveal of young Indy back in World War II-era regalia. As /Film’s Ryan Scott writes, it’s a pretty eye-popping and impressive effect that the visual effects team has achieved, though seeing it in motion might be another story entirely. Still, after plenty of pretty egregious swings and misses over the years, mostly pioneered by Marvel, it’s nice to see a much more convincing effort here that presumably will have a genuine story purpose beyond the novelty of it all.
Speaking of which, the very next shot also shows a de-aged Mads Mikkelson (possibly even in the same room or building as poor Indy here) opening a box branded with the Nazi swastika as a glowing light emanates from within. We’ve seen this image a few times before in this franchise, haven’t we folks? Some tropes are tropes for a reason — because they’re fun!
So what are we, some kind of dial of destiny?
"Raiders of the Lost Ark." "Temple of Doom." "The Last Crusade." "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Okay, maybe scratch that last one, but this franchise has always been full of killer titles that just roll of the tongue. "Dial of Destiny" is great for the alliterative appreciators out there, but are we all fully on board with how hokey that sounds? It’s all in the eye (ear?) of the beholder, of course. In any case, at least we actually know the title after what felt like ages of keeping it under close wraps.
What exactly is it? Well, this intriguing shot seems to suggest that it could be a sundial. The McGuffins in these movies always seem to come down to ancient relics and priceless items from the deep past, so this sure seems in keeping with that. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Indy, a purveyor of retrieving artifacts for safekeeping in museums, would surely agree!
Back in the saddle again
As is customary for trailers these days, we quickly transition to a fast-moving montage of images that barely even register in the brain before moving on to the next. While Indy solemnly intones, "I’ve seen things … things I can’t explain. And I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe, it’s how hard you believe it," we get more rapid-fire glimpses of Mads Mikkelsen’s main antagonist (this time in the present day), Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character (who was recently revealed to be Indy’s goddaughter) in the field alongside Indy, more teases of the action sequence set during the ticker tape parade celebrating the Apollo 11 return from the moon, and finally Indiana Jones going full John Wick as he rides a horse through a subway system. It all feels appropriately "Indy-like" enough to feel of a piece with the rest of the franchise, not to mention more visceral action with some pretty nifty camera placement that brings viewers right into the nitty-gritty of the action.
It all ends on the cute button of Indy and Helena in some seedy restaurant or other, confronting some equally as seedy-looking individuals as the pair are on some important plot-related business.
While saddling Harrison Ford with Shia LaBeouf as his son in "Crystal Skull" didn’t quite turn out as successfully as the creative team intended — Mutt Williams is nowhere to be seen in this movie and not a single person is mad about it — here’s hoping the infinitely more exciting addition of Phoebe Waller-Bridge livens up the proceedings. Based on the short scene here where she all but oozes charisma, we’re expecting big things. The final moments see Indy whipping out his, well, whip in an attempt to keep some dangerous individuals away from him … until they all take out guns of their own in a hilarious reversal of the moment in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" where Indy pulls a similar trick on that poor swordsman. It’s like poetry; it rhymes!
"Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" comes to theaters on June 30, 2023.