The new project, ‘Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny’ has come a long way before its premiere at the 76th International Cannes Film Festival and will hit screens worldwide on June 29.
The film’s release was originally planned for 2016, but the project faced challenges as directors were constantly changing. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who remained involved in the project as executive producers, approached James Mangold, known for directing blockbusters such as ‘Logan’ and ‘The Wolverine.'”
Mangold took on the task of rewriting the script. He decided to open the film with a 20-minute prologue set in Germany towards the end of World War II. The main character, archaeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), attempts to save the Holy Lance (the very same spear used to extract blood from Christ). However, the retrieved object turns out to be a forgery. Instead of the spear, the scholar comes across an ancient Antikythera — a device made of golden gears — created by the great Greek mathematician Archimedes in the 3rd century BCE. This ancient artifact becomes the main cause of pursuits and battles that continue even as Indiana Jones, now in his advanced age, plans to retire from teaching at the college. The action shifts from the 1940s to the year 1969. We witness Indiana, living in a rundown apartment in New York, brewing his morning coffeeand adding a generous portion of whiskey to it while going through divorce papers. However, he will be unable to get divorced or retire. His past will catch up with him once again. First, his goddaughter Helena (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge) appears before him, desiring to obtain the artifact and sell it at an auction in Morocco. Then, his former enemy, the deranged Nazi scientist Jurgen Voller (portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen), reemerges. Voller is equally determined to steal the Antikythera, which Indy had kept for decades, and to seek revenge for past grievances.
One of the most captivating moments of the film was the appearance of 79-year-old Harrison Ford as his 35-year-old self. Through the use of special effects, Ford undergoes a remarkable transformation, embodying the youthful version of himself that we first witnessed in Steven Spielberg’s classic film, “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Hollywood has long sought ways to defy the natural aging process of actors, and now, with the help of digital effects, they have discovered a method to achieve “eternal youth.” This trick has already been employed by other notable actors, such as Robert De Niro in “The Irishman” and Samuel L. Jackson in “Captain Marvel,” and it now finds its place in “Indiana Jones” with Harrison Ford’s remarkable portrayal.
During the premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, one of the most emotional moments in the actor Harrison Ford’s career occurred when he announced his departure from the project after the release of its fifth installment. Reflecting on the experience, Ford shared a poignant sentiment with journalists:
“They say that when you’re on the brink of death, your whole life flashes before your eyes. I just saw my life flash before my eyes, or at least a significant part of it. I owe my fulfilled life to my beloved wife, who supported my passions and craziness, and my career has been shaped by ‘Indiana Jones’.”
Mangold shared with journalists in Cannes that before agreeing to take on the project, he had some lingering doubts. He questioned the purpose of such sequels, pondering whether they were purely driven by financial motives or if there was room for a genuine creative process. Therefore, he embarked on a journey of self-reflection, seeking answers to questions like, “What is the underlying reason for this film’s existence?” and “What fresh perspectives can I bring to the table?”
As a result, the decision was made to infuse the narrative with personal touches, shifting the emphasis away from pursuits and showdowns, and instead focusing on the protagonist’s relationships with his friends, family, and the profound ties to his past.
This evening became even more special when Thierry Frémaux, the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival, surprised the actor with a honorary Palme d’Or for his contribution to cinema. Ford was visible touched by this gesture. The audience rose to their feet, applauding him for over five minutes. Tears welled up in the eyes of the American actor, moved by the heartfelt recognition.