With the film’s Cannes premiere just under a month away, Disney didn’t need to do the hard sell for Lucasfilm’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” But Cinemacon audiences did get to see an extended action sequence, one featuring both Dr. Henry Jones Jr. and Phoebe Waller-Bridge as his goddaughter Helena trying to avoid getting punched, shot or otherwise blown up.
The sneak peek showed Indiana Jones and his goddaughter bickering with each other as they dodge gunfire and slow-moving camels in a bazaar in Tangier. As they’re being chased themselves, they’re chasing after the evil Jurgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), who has the Dial of Destiny in his possession.
But Helena and Indy don’t seem to be on the same page when it comes to the dial. Helena is engaged to an unscrupulous man who wants the dial to make a fortune, and she has her own reasons for wanting to make the sale. Indy wants the dial because, presumably, it belongs in a museum.
And while Helena has the most death-defying moment in the scene as she jumps onto Jurgen’s car, Indy isn’t taking it easy as he drives a small cart through narrow streets and reaches out to grab the dial without getting shot by Jurgen’s right-hand man, Klaber, played by Boyd Holbrook.
Beyond just “does the movie look good?,” the main concern will be “can 80-year-old Harrison Ford still partake in his own action franchise?” We’ve seen elderly action stars like Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo,” Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator Genisys” and even Jackie Chan in “Vanguard” mostly playing a supervisory role while younger actors and actresses did the majority of the running, jumping and punching. If the scene offered up is any indication, either Ford remains in incredible shape or the movie magic made to seem as such passes the “believe your eyes” test.
The early Cannes premiere, six weeks before the film’s worldwide launch on June 30, seems to imply confidence. Fifteen years ago, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” debuted in France just days before its Memorial Day weekend launch. While the reviews were mixed-positive, the $180 million flick earned $317 million domestic and $785 million worldwide, behind only “The Dark Knight” globally and behind “The Dark Knight” ($533 million domestic and $1 billion global) and “Iron Man” ($318 million/$585 million) in North America.
Moreover, arriving 19 years after “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” it was expected to be one of the biggest movies of the year. After all, in 2008, this kind of nostalgia-driven pop culture IP revamping wasn’t par for the course, and films as big and spectacular as the Steven Spielberg-directed “Indiana Jones 4” were still automatic theatrical events. That’s not the case anymore.
While hopes are high, the James Mangold-directed film is now just another piece of IP within the Disney franchise mill. It’s also selling itself as the return of an iconic Hollywood hero and a story about Dr. Jones confronting his age and mortality, two cards already played by “Crystal Skull” when such legacy sequels like “Live Free or Die Hard” were barely a blip on the overall pop culture radar.
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” hopes to score on par with “Top Gun: Maverick” with similar dad-movie nostalgia, even though we got such a version in this specific franchise already.