Besides, everything is smaller and cheaper than it was in the original trilogy. Indy up against the military might of the Third Reich in 1936? We could all get behind that. But Indy up against one scientist and his silent, interchangeable henchmen in 1969? It’s just not such a big deal. Mangold and his team dutifully crank out the action sequences, but it’s often hard to tell what’s happening or why, and there is a lack of surprising, rip-roaring moments to make you stand up and cheer, despite the best efforts of John Williams’ rousing classic theme. Take an early chase in New York, for instance. It’s set during a ticker-tape parade for the three astronauts who were on the Apollo 11 moon mission, so you can imagine the high jinks that Spielberg might have cooked up: some slapstick with Buzz Aldrin, perhaps, or a giant paper-maché moon rolling down Fifth Avenue like the boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But Mangold and his team do so little with the parade that you wonder why they bothered staging it.
It’s the same with the scenes in which Indy is face to face with some snake-like eels, and when he finds his way into Archimedes’ tomb. The jokes, the zest and the exuberance just aren’t there, so instead of a joyous send-off for our beloved hero, we get a depressing reminder of how much livelier his past adventures were. Considering that the screenplay is credited to four writers – Mangold, David Koepp and Jez and John-Henry Butterworth – couldn’t they at least have thought of something cool for Indy to do with his whip?
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is released on June 30 in the UK and US
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