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Indiana Jones Movies: All We Know About ‘Dial of Destiny’

Indiana Jones Movies: All We Know About ‘Dial of Destiny’

indiana jones movies

In today’s edition of “Legend Has It,” we welcome back the iconic archaeologist and reflect on all previous Indiana Jones movies. The fifth installment of the wildly popular adventure franchise, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hits theaters this June 30, and we’re unearthing all the cinematic treasure.

Heave a sigh of relief. It’s finally here. Flashback to exactly two years ago (June 2021) when filming commenced on a then-untitled bit of Hollywood magic unofficially termed Indiana Jones 5. But did we mind this flick not having a name? No way. After all, the Indiana Jones franchise is all about dealing with ancient, earthly mysteries. So, this cryptically untitled flick was totally fitting.      

But what do we know about this long-awaited installment? Think a top-notch cast of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones (um, of course!), then Mads Mikkelsen as the Nazi villain, Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Indy’s feisty goddaughter, and oh yeah, Antonio Banderas, and more.

 

Indiana Jones 5: Everything We Know

Release Date: June 30, 2023

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Harrison Ford, Antonio Banderas, Boyd Holbrook, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Studio: Walt Disney Studios

Writers: Jon Kasdan, Philip Kaufman, David Koepp, George Lucas

indiana jones 5 release date
Image Source: Walt Disney Pictures

Let’s also set the scene for Indiana Jones 5: It’s 1969 New York City, and our dashing, swashbuckling archaeologist Henry Jones aka Indiana Jones, the once-luminous savior of ancient artifacts, sacred places, and beloved souls, has fallen on some hard times during his old age. The result? He has become friends with the bottle. Cue whiskey, scotch, and maybe a little bourbon. You get the idea. 

Then enter one outspoken, determined goddaughter named Helena who pulls Indy out of his stupor (we’re guessing quite literally?) to help her track down a “dial of destiny.” And there we go. Welcome to our newest Indiana Jones adventure called Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, hitting theaters on June 30.        

Rumor has it this will be the last film in the legendary series, and as such, we’re in store for some truly spectacular things. Think a young Harrison Ford thanks to some pretty cool “de-aging” cinematic technology. Think more action sequences than any previous Indiana Jones movie. And lastly, think a finale that is quite possibly the most impressive of any Indy send-off.   

So, in honor of this newest, awesome Indy incarnation, let’s look back at the earlier films that all magically entertained us. Fedora hats on. Let’s crack that whip. And if we encounter any hissing snakes, we promise to send them your way, dear Dr. Jones. Just kidding!

  

Indiana Jones Movies Ranked

4.   Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) 

Image Source: Letterboxd

While yours truly proudly professes her love of this most recent 2008 Indiana Jones installment (am a fan of the ancient-aliens premise and its lush, green South American rainforest setting), many critics and moviegoers cite this as their least favorite Indiana Jones movie. But why? Some don’t like the generous use of CGI. Some also don’t like the aforementioned premise. What’s not to love about an intergalactic UFO the size of an ancient pyramid? Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

What’s more, that’s part of the Indiana Jones magic. Spanning four (soon to be five) films, there’s something historically interesting for everyone. So, no worries if ancient aliens aren’t your preference.   

But back to the storyline:  Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a 1950s Cold War tale about Indiana Jones and Soviet agents dueling over a crystal skull with immense telepathic powers. Whoever is in possession of the skull (USA or Soviet Union) has the capacity to win the Cold War and essentially rule the world. We’re taken on a Peruvian adventure with Indiana Jones and one supremely fearsome Soviet agent called Irina (actress Cate Blanchett). We then have Indy’s love, Marion (actress Karen Allen), from the first Indiana Jones film (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981), along with a few other surprise characters.

Chock full of monkeys dancing in trees, colossal man-eating bugs, and Indy’s arch-nemesis of snakes (gasp!), Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not for everyone, but it still has that classic Indy swashbuckling appeal.     

 

3.  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Image Source: Mubi

The second Indiana Jones film, Temple of Doom is set in 1935 India and is a prequel to the first movie. Dr. Jones touches down in India with a fancy nightclub singer named Willie (actress Kate Capshaw) and young sidekick and loyal friend Short Round (recent Oscar-winning actor Ke Huy Quan of Everything Everywhere All at Once, 2022). Indy is tasked with retrieving a stolen stone (shiva linga) from a dangerous cult and returning it to its rightful owners, thereby freeing these villagers’ children from a life of enslavement. It’s a dark story. And will our hero Indiana Jones be whisked off to the dark side, with its ominous subterranean flame-pit?

Temple of Doom boasts truly iconic scenes. Think one memorable dinner at a beautiful Indian palace. (Cue gasp-worthy delicacies like large insects, monkey brains, and eyeball soup.) The “mine” chase scene nearing the film’s finale is also white-knuckle excitement. And again, who can forget that mammoth subterranean flame pit? The colors of yellow and orange are forever burned into our cinematic soul. Now while some feel this film is too dark in nature, Temple of Doom excels in bringing out different sides to our hero Indy’s character. He’s not perfect. He can even be kind of cranky.

But in the end, he’s supremely smart, brave, handsome, and good. We also get the feeling watching this movie that director Steven Spielberg is admirably hitting his stride in this franchise. The pacing feels comfortable. The action sequences are strong. And this movie keeps us wanting more adventure. Another Indy movie? Absolutely!      

 

2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Image Source: IMDb

Let’s be real. If films had feelings, then Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade would be a dejected #2. Being eclipsed in public opinion by its “original” predecessor of Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), mainly for timing reasons, we can imagine it’s not a happy feeling. But what can we say? Like the original James Bond spy flick of Dr. No (1962), and the original Star Wars (1977), some moviegoers just love the sparkle of “new.” Nothing else can surpass it. Apologies, Last Crusade.      

After all, although a sequel, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is often considered the most “well-made” of all Indiana Jones movies. Everything fits here, from the plot, cast, production value, etc. It serves as a cleverly underplayed “origin story” of our beloved Indy, and its father/son storyline resonates exceptionally strongly with audiences. Here we see a 1938 Indy dashing off to Nazi-filled Europe to find his father Henry Jones Sr (played by powerhouse Sean Connery of aforementioned “original” James Bond fame).

Indiana Jones carries with him his father’s diary, which holds important secrets to the holy grail, a centuries-old relic reputed to have supernatural healing powers. It’s a fascinating premise for many moviegoers, and this film is chock full of everything we love about the Indiana Jones series. If director Steven Spielberg hit his Indy stride with Temple of Doom, he takes things “next level” with the Last Crusade. Sidebar, the Venice, Italy, “water” action scene is simultaneously gorgeous and terrifying. Squeeze in!

 

1. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Image Source: Indiewire

The movie that started it all. Calling legendary New Hollywood director Steven Spielberg of Jaws (1975) fame, who teams up with larger-than-life story-man George Lucas of the hugely successful Star Wars franchise (1977 – present), and we have one movie that leaps right off the pages of a comic book and onto the big screen. Now that’s a mouthful. And that’s exactly what this first Indiana Jones movie is. From that iconic opening scene, where we glimpse a mysteriously charismatic and handsome Indiana Jones on the hunt for cave-dwelling treasure in 1936 South America, we are hooked.

Before we know it, we are whisked off to Egypt with Indy and his awesomely tough ex-girlfriend Marion (actress Karen Allen). Their mission? The Ark of the Covenant. It’s an ancient lost relic that is reputed to make any army that owns it unbeatable. Indy must find this beautiful golden relic, and ensure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands (aka under Nazi power).

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This first Indy film is breathtaking. It’s an impressive unveiling of a completely unique character. After all, who’s expecting to find their newest and most favorite action hero in an archaeology professor? Harrison Ford is beyond skillful in bringing his Dr. Jones to vibrant life. This is an A+ adventure that is glossy, high-octane, and quite simply, fun. It’s the epitome of the summer blockbuster.

 

Indiana Jones Movie Trivia

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

  1. Indiana Jones was originally named Indiana Smith by story-man George Lucas. But Steven Spielberg didn’t like the name Smith, and so he changed it to Jones.
  2. Harrison Ford improvised Indy’s line to Marion: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”
  3. Indy’s iconic shooting of a slick native swordsman was improvised. Harrison Ford was originally supposed to use his whip to get the sword out of his hand, but he, along with many of the cast and crew, was sick with amoebic dysentery and unable to perform 100%.
  4. Harrison Ford tore his left ACL (knee ligament) while filming, but powered on.  
  5. It’s the only film in the franchise to not have Indiana Jones included in the title.

 

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)  

  1. This is Ke Huy Quan’s debut film. 
    2. Actress Kate Capshaw and director Steven Spielberg fell in love and got married after Temple of Doom.
    3.  Sri Lanka is the film locale doubling as the story’s Indian setting. Some locations were the same as those used in the classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957).
    4.  Harrison Ford suffered a serious spinal injury during filming and had to return to Los Angeles for surgery, leaving his stunt double to complete some action sequences.
    5. Sound editing of the famous “mine” chase scene was accomplished by recording rollercoasters at Disneyland amusement park in Los Angeles.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

  1. Young Indiana Jones (aka “Junior”) was played by up-and-coming superstar River Phoenix who passed away tragically in 1993, aged 23.
  2. Harrison Ford and legendary actor Sean Connery went “pantless” during the “zeppelin” scene, as the temperature on-set was extremely hot.      
  3. The villain character Donovan, who drinks from the wrong holy cup, represents the first “complete digital composite effect” captured on film.
  4. Filmed partially in Jordan, the King and Queen of Jordan watched some of Last Crusade being filmed. The final “sunset” scene also includes their royal horses.  
  5. Sean Connery was Steven Spielberg’s first choice to play Indy’s father, as he joked that Connery’s iconic James Bond spy character was the father to Indiana Jones.

 

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

  1. The first Indiana Jones film was set in the 1950s. First to be shot entirely in the USA.
  2. Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood’s son is called Mutt Williams, a tribute to Indy music composer John Williams.
  3. Actress Cate Blanchett was a huge Indiana Jones fan before filming. She partially based her villain character off of notorious Bond villain Col. Rosa Klebb from the film From Russia with Love (1963).
  4. Indy’s famous whip was almost CGI. But Harrison Ford pushed back, to personally ensure that a real whip was used, trying to increase the film’s realism.
  5. The final Indy film that Steven Spielberg directs. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is directed by James Mangold.    

 

How and Where to Watch Indiana Jones Movies

Watch them in chronological order by release date:

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

All four Indiana Jones movies are available on most streaming services, notably Disney + since May 31st. Also try Amazon Prime Video, Pluto TV, Paramount +, and Fubo TV. Selection may vary depending on your country, but the fanfare leading up to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ensures that you’ll find various options for viewing. Crack that whip! Pop that popcorn!

 

Conclusion

Slick, jam-packed, and epic, Indiana Jones films are the stuff of 1980s Hollywood legend that has wonderfully transcended its time. Here’s to summer, fun, and globe-trotting adventures that expand our historical imagination and our love for singular superstar Harrison Ford. Which Indiana Jones adventure will be your favorite? 

 

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