Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Digital UHD Review

3.5 Stars Fitting send-off for one of cinema’s iconic heroes

Harrison Ford dons the trademark fedora, whip and leather jacket one last time in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, now available on PVOD.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023)
Released: 30 Jun 2023
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 154 min
Director: James Mangold
Genre: Action, Adventure
Cast: Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas
Writer(s): Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp
Plot: Archaeologist Indiana Jones races against time to retrieve a legendary artifact that can change the course of history.
IMDB rating: 6.8
MetaScore: 58

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 34 Min.
Package Includes: Digital Copy
Case Type: n/a
Disc Type: Other
Region: A
Release Date: 08/29/2023
MSRP: $19.99

The Production: 4/5

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Anyone who really knows me, knows that I am a huge, and I mean HUGE fan of the Indiana Jones series of movies. After over forty years, Raiders of the Lost Ark still ranks as my favorite movie of all time and have enjoyed the sequels to varying degrees. Raiders came in 1981, followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Fifteen years is a long time to wait for the next installment in a franchise especially one as popular as Indiana Jones, but that is how long it took for Lucasfilm and Steven Spielberg to bring Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny to the screen after a rotating door of writers, with Spielberg dropping out as director two years ago, handing the reins to James Mangold. My first reaction was not a positive one, until I took a look at Mangold’s filmography. Logan was a fitting end to the Wolverine saga, regardless of just how dark and violent it was. And Mangold was definitely capable of handling action set pieces and comedy in Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. With those two films alone, he seemed like a good fit, and while Mangold may have not hit a home run, he definitely hit at least a triple with this last and supposedly final outing.

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s IJ5. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The film opens in 1944 at a castle in the French Alps as Nazis are rummaging thru a treasure trove of antiquities, hoping to find a Hail Mary trinket for Hitler to turn the tide back in their favor. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford thru the magic of computer-generated de-aging imagery) has been captured along with fellow archeologist Basil Shaw (Toby Jones). The two were also in search of artifacts, hoping to rescue as many as possible before they are destroyed by the Nazis and lost forever. While sorting through the stolen artifacts, German astrophysicist Jürgen Voller discovers half of Archimedes’ Antikythera, a fabled device that many theorized if could be used to discover fissures in time, allowing one to travel thru time. While escaping, Indy and Basil take the dial from Voller just before the Allied Forces overtake the Nazis.

(L-R): Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Fast forward to 1969 New York. Indy has fallen on hard times. Once a respected Ivy League archeology professor, he is now teaching at what is essentially a community college in Manhattan to disinterested students, just days from retiring and living alone in a small apartment after being served separation papers from his wife Marion. He is then visited by his god-daughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), the daughter of his former partner and good friend Basil. She has resurfaced, looking for the long-lost half of the dial that her father once had in his possession, believing that Indy has it in storage. Hot on her heels are a team of mercenaries led by Klaber (Boyd Holbrook) and CIA agent Mason (Shaunette Renée Wilson), who are working for Voller who is now going by the name of Schmidt, having assisted NASA in designing rockets for the Apollo 11 mission. Indy is then framed for the murder of the department dean and his assistant, managing to escape during a victory Apollo 11 parade and Vietnam War protest march, and with the help of his longtime friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies), tracks down Helena to a stolen antiquities auction in Tangier. Indy and Helena, along with her sidekick Teddy (Ethann Isidore), team up to retrieve the entire dial before Voller can get his hands on it.

Doctor Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a nostalgic and entertaining final sequel to the franchise, sprinkled with callbacks to the prior films, particularly the first three, and even the character of Teddy is a less-annoying version of Short Round from Temple of Doom. Personally, I would place Dial of Destiny as my third favorite in the series, behind Raiders and Last Crusade, with Crystal Skull placing fourth and Temple of Doom rounding out the franchise (the last two I am certain many will find controversial). Running just over two and one-half hours, it is the longest film in the series, but I am not really sure what could be cut without sacrificing story or character development. I liked the relationship between Indy and Helena, even though Helena is not exactly a nice or good person, at least when we first meet her. But Helena sparks something in Indy that has been missing for over a decade, his taste for adventure.  Ford and Waller-Bridge have some good chemistry together, and their back-and-forth banter makes for some good laughs. And Indy is not the dashing adventurer when we first see him in 1969 – he’s turned into a grumpy old curmudgeon who has lost his way. It has been rumored that Dial of Destiny may be the last score composed entirely by John Williams, who melds new themes with familiar ones from Raiders (Desert Chase) and Last Crusade (Belly of the Steel Beast), and even the theme for the Tuk-Tuk chase has hints from the chase themes from The Adventures of Tintin.

(L-R): Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Teddy (Ethann Isidore) in Lucasfilm’s INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

However, I do have a few problems with the film. Some of the shots of the younger, CGI de-aged Ford do have an uncanny valley look to them, even more so when watching this at home than when I saw this theatrically about a month ago in nearby Yerington, NV (where the line “Speaking as an ancient, going to the moon is like going to Reno – the middle of nowhere, no blackjack” got a huge laugh). The movie also never explains how Indy was cleared for the two murders he was framed for. Could Spielberg have made a better movie? More than likely, but James Mangold certainly deserves credit for all that he managed to achieve with this film, and if handed off to just anyone else, it most certainly would not be as entertaining or fulfilling to the series’ fans.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was captured at 4.5K resolution using Arri Alexa LF and Mini LF cameras with Panavision C- and T-series lenses, completed as a 4K digital intermediate with Dolby Vision HDR for some of its premium format theatrical exhibitions. Disney provided a Movies Anywhere UHD code for this review, and as many of you know, not all digital retailers offer their content in the same encodes and HDR formats.

I began screening the film on the Apple TV app on an Apple TV 4K device (a first generation model), which offered the best presentation. The film is offered on Apple TV in either Dolby Vision, HDR10, or HDR10+ depending on the capabilities of your equipment. The display used for this review was a 55” LG C1 OLED, which allowed the Apple TV 4K to play the film in Dolby Vision HDR. The presentation offered extremely fine detail, including age lines in Harrison Ford’s face, fabric textures, and salt water deposits on the life preservers during the diving sequence. While colors certainly never really popped, they did appear strong with realistic flesh tones. Contrast was excellent with deep blacks and strong shadow detail, particularly in the opening prologue, the underwater sequence, and the temple interiors.

Movies Anywhere had the next best picture (also in Dolby Vision) that rivaled that of Apple TV, even on the MA app on a Roku Streaming Stick 4K. On release day Vudu only had the movie available in HDR10, but that changed with the addition of Dolby Vision 24 hours later. Once the DV issue on Vudu was resolved, the video was almost on par with Apple TV and Movies Anywhere, although Vudu’s encode had less of a film-like quality to it. Prime Video (offering HDR and HDR10+) fared the worst, but not by much. My display does not support HDR10+, so the Prime Video stream defaulted to HDR10. This was a slightly softer and darker image, even after taking almost a minute to ramp up to UHD resolution on a FireStick 4K device connecting to my home internet at around 50 Mbps. I should also note that Prime Video sells the film in a “Bonus X-Ray Edition” in either HD or UHD (yes, they have separate HD and UHD skus – ugh!).

Audio: 4.5/5

Apple TV, Movies Anywhere and Vudu offer Dial of Destiny in Dolby Atmos (with a Dolby Digital+ 5.1 core), provided your streaming device and A/V receiver support it. As with most Disney home Atmos mixes, you will need to adjust the main volume slightly for better performance. Once adjusted, this is a fun and immersive track, with a wide front soundstage, very active surrounds, strong LFE to add emphasis to explosions and crashes, and makes good use of the height channels. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout. Pretty much everything one expects from an Indiana Jones film. Prime Video only offers up a Doly Digital+ 5.1 track despite their claim of Dolby Atmos support (which I am guessing only applies to their original content).

Special Features: 4/5

The Making of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (1080p; 56:47): What we get here is more quality than quantity, with an entertaining and informative documentary on the making of the film that runs under one hour. Vudu only offers this as one long piece. Both Apple TV (only on Apple TV devices) and Movies Anywhere give you the option of watching the feature in its entirety, or in five individual chapters as it was originally conceived. Prime Video has a Bonus X-Ray Edition that is supposed to include this feature, but at the time of this review, was only accessible on a FireStick device (I was unable to access this on the Prime Video app on both Roku and Apple TV 4K) by activating the X-Ray feature and then navigating to Bonus Content. Once there, the documentary is only viewable in 12 individual parts, many of them having the same title, and each part ending rather abruptly.

Overall: 4/5

Although the film was ignored by movie goers, if you are a fan of this series, you should at the very least give this film a viewing at least once. Presentation is best on an Apple TV device on the Apple TV app, and since this is a Movies Anywhere eligible title (the only one in the series), you can purchase it at any MA retailer and then view it at a different MA retailer.

Prime Video UHD

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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Saul Pincus
I don't feel that it was ignored. It just couldn't profit based on its crazy budget.

I enjoyed it and look forward to getting the blu ray.
I disagree. Most people in its target demo (decidedly older) just didn't get around to seeing it. Why do I say this? Because I literally know dozens who should have, but weren't compelled to. It's a shame, because it's a lot of fun and delivers in its genre.

I too look forward to the physical release!
 

Malcolm R

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I think "ignored" is a fair assessment of an Indiana Jones pic that is the second-lowest grossing of the franchise (only Temple of Doom has a lower worldwide total). And considering tix are considerably more expensive today than 35+ years ago, it's likely Dial of Destiny sold considerably fewer tix than any other IJ film.
 

Todd Erwin

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I think "ignored" is a fair assessment of an Indiana Jones pic that is the second-lowest grossing of the franchise (only Temple of Doom has a lower worldwide total). And considering tix are considerably more expensive today than 35+ years ago, it's likely Dial of Destiny sold considerably fewer tix than any other IJ film.
The lukewarm reception to the film after its world premiere at Cannes one month before its theatrical release did not help.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Let's talk about the target aufience for this movie: Boomers and Gen X, neither of which have much interest in going to movie theatres on opening weekend, especially post-COVID. Don't get me wrong; I love seeing movies on a big screen, but I can do without the opening weekend headaches and snot-nosed brats kicking the back of my seat [to cite one recent multiplex experience]. LFL appears to have a Harrison Ford-related problem, as evidenced by the budget on this and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
 

SD_Brian

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I don't think they did the movie any favors by waiting until the end of June to release it, particularly after the post-Cannes-premiere word of mouth was less-than-rapturous . Also, outside of the die-hard Indy fans, after 'Crystal Skull' I feel like there weren't a whole lot of people asking for another Indiana Jones movie. Spielberg stepping aside as director probably didn't do much to build anticipation either.

All that said, I enjoyed the movie a whole lot more than I expected to. It's too long and a lot of it looks like it was shot in front of a green screen, but it's entertaining and held my interest (two things I can't say for 'Crystal Skull').

If I were ranking the movies, it would be #4. If I were grading them: Raiders: A+ Temple of Doom: A- Last Crusade: B+ Dial of Destiny: B- Crystal Skull: D (Yes, I'm one of the weirdos who liked Temple of Doom more than Last Crusade)
 
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Stephen_J_H

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If I were ranking the movies, it would be #4. If I were grading them: Raiders: A+ Temple of Doom: A- Last Crusade: B+ Dial of Destiny: B Crystal Skull: D (Yes, I'm one of the weirdos who liked Temple of Doom more than Last Crusade)
So am I.
 

Tino

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Why do I say this? Because I literally know dozens who should have, but weren't compelled to
Anecdotal evidence is rarely reliable. It wasn’t ignored nor was it a hit. It was just…..there. And it lost a ton of money unfortunately.
 

Jonathan Perregaux

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I think I want to like The Last Crusade more than I actually like The Last Crusade. It seemed like a more "proper" outing than The Temple of Doom, whatever the hell that was supposed to be.
 

Stephen_J_H

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I would like Last Crusade more if it didn't feel like a retreat after Temple of Doom. Temple of Doom is very true to the old serials that inspired the Indiana Jones films. Some of it doesn't play as well now [the banquet scene, for example], but would not have ruffled feathers in the 30s or even the 50s for that matter.
 

SD_Brian

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A missed opportunity in the new movie, I thought, was to finally explain what became of Short Round. There's a new character, who is obviously supposed to be this movie's Short Round, but even after Phoebe Waller-Bridge explains to Indy how she met New Short Round, and the story is almost identical to how Indy met OG Short Round, Indy doesn't say, "Hey, that reminds me of my old sidekick in 1935! What ever happened to that kid, anyway?"
 
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Anecdotal evidence is rarely reliable. It wasn’t ignored nor was it a hit. It was just…..there. And it lost a ton of money unfortunately.
Politely agree to disagree here. I've been in the business for decades and have a decent sense of these things.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I would like Last Crusade more if it didn't feel like a retreat after Temple of Doom. Temple of Doom is very true to the old serials that inspired the Indiana Jones films. Some of it doesn't play as well now [the banquet scene, for example], but would not have ruffled feathers in the 30s or even the 50s for that matter.

When I finally saw “Gunga Din” during a Cary Grant binge years ago, my first thought was, “holy crap, so this is what Temple of Doom was borrowing from”.
 

Jake Lipson

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A missed opportunity in the new movie, I thought, was to finally explain what became of Short Round.
Ke Huy Quan had not been acting for a long time prior to Everything Everywhere All At Once. He did say in some interview during his awards run this year that Spielberg still sends him Christmas cards, so they were sort of tangentially in touch. However, I'm not sure if anybody really thought of bringing him back or not. I agree that I would have liked him to be there. If this film was made now, post-Everything Everywhere All At Once, he probably would have been. But I'm sure they had to have wrapped on this before that film came out and deservedly brought him back into the spotlight.

I am also going to wait for the physical release to buy this.
 
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