Friday, February 23, 2024

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny


Time has an interesting way of shocking us with its passage.  When Raiders of the Lost Ark came out on June 12th, 1981, Harrison Ford was 40 years old and his young love interest co-star Karren Allen was 29.  The movie was filmed the year before when the actors were 39 and 28 respectively.  In the latest Indiana Jones film, the Dial of Destiny, Karen Allen briefly reprises her role as Marion, but she is now 72 and Harrison Ford is 83.  The movie was filmed two years ago, but seeing an old-looking Karen Allen is the most shocking scene in the movie.  It reminds us of how old we are.

What can we expect when an 81-year-old actor reprises his role as an action star?  We get a B-grade film that relies on nostalgia to keep us interested.  The movie has everything we could want in an Indiana Jones film, but the execution is not perfect.  The payoff at the end could have been spectacular and should have been spectacular, but it looks computer-generated and cheap.

Reportedly, Steven Spielberg dropped out of the project for a lack of interest.  Had he directed the movie, I think that it would have been better.

The movie doesn't shy away from showing us Harrison Ford's age.  That is the point.  He is a hero who is a bit slow but still capable and brave.  In a way, he is a perfect action hero for an aging boomer generation that grew up and grew old watching action movies.

The best part of the film is the first 21 minutes where they "de-age" Harrison Ford for a World War II Nazi action sequence that is very reminiscent of the first movie.  It looks terrific and is fun to watch.  This sequence by itself is for me worth the price of admission.

The story revolves around a device, The Dial of Destiny, invented by Archimedes that could be used to travel through time.  Although Archimedes was a pretty famous ancient Greek mathematician, this is a pretty hokey story.  However, every Indiana Jones movie has some element that requires suspension of disbelief.  Alfred Hitchcock invented the term, "MacGuffin", to describe some item that drives the story forward, even if that element is not particularly interesting.  Every Indiana Jones movie has a MacGuffin that the bad guys want and that the good guys are trying to keep the bad guys from getting.

Much has been written about the character Helen Shaw played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.  She plays Indy's goddaughter who accompanies him on his grand adventure.  The Internet took a dislike to her, mostly out of a fear that she was upstaging the Indiana Jones character, which she sometimes does.  However, it is hard to imagine an old man going on a great journey spanning many countries without some sidekick to assist him.  Her role in the film is necessary, although many people complained about her inclusion being due to wokeness.  Some people also worried that her character was there to replace Indiana Jones, say in the next picture, but this really isn't the case.  This is the last Indiana Jones movie, and Harrison Ford has said that his role will not be recast.

Half the movie consists of chase scenes.  We get at least one too many.

Despite all the flaws, I had a good time watching Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.  The film is so rich in detail, and nostalgia, that it is a pleasure to watch.

Rating:  B+.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is available to stream on Disney+.

The Imitation Game


I wish that I could say that "The Imitation Game" is objectively a bad movie.  The problem is that it is very entertaining, but it is one of the most historically inaccurate films I have seen in recent memory.  I was already familiar with the history of breaking the Nazi Enigma code, so on my first viewing, I noticed a problem with the scene where the code breakers decide to not stop a German attack for fear of alerting the Nazis that they had broken the code.  In reality, these decisions were made at the highest level of the government of Great Britain.

However, on my second viewing, I noticed how the movie is loaded with melodramatic scenes, and I guessed that every one of these scenes is either a complete fiction or a big distortion of actual events.  It turns out that I was right.  The film also leaves out a great deal of actual history giving the viewer the false impression that Turring was solely responsible for breaking the code.

I have a low tolerance for movies that distort history, and it is a problem we see in many films.  Why should I care so much?  Because it miseducates the public about real events.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

The Remains of the Day

The movie "The Remains of the Day" came out 31 years ago.  I am often surprised by the passage of time.  Anthony Hopkins was 55 years old when it came out, and this was two years after he did "The Silence of the Lambs."
The movie was highly praised for its performances and for its message. Anthony Hopkins was nominated for Best Actor.  The main character is effectively in a prison partially of his own making by being stuck in English tradition and roles.

I remember thinking that the movie was a bit of a bore and a waste of Emma Thompson.  It was delightful to see Christopher Reeve in a small role at the end.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

I Always Hated *STAR WARS* But Then I Watched It...

We are starting to get young people who didn't grow up with Star Wars and are now experiencing it for the first time.


Why Movies Are So Expensive (And How To Fix It)

Friday, February 9, 2024

He is the "Eeyore" of the group. :-)

She watched the prequels first, as a child, which is probably the wrong order to watch Star Wars.