Indiana Jones and the Appeal to Nostalgia
The trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was recently released and looks to take the character on another great adventure starring Harrison Ford.
The actors listed alongside Harrison Ford include old faces such as John Rhys-Davies, Karen Allen, Sean Connery, Shia Lebouf, and many prominent newcomers. The film will be directed by James Mangold, and is being executively produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.
From the little seen in the trailer, the film appears to have recaptured some of the charm and charisma from the original trilogy. Charm and charisma that were missing in the previous film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film that faced widespread backlash throughout the Indiana Jones fan community.
Despite my childlike giddiness upon seeing anything related to Indiana Jones, I can’t help but worry that this film will disappoint. This film, the first distributed by Disney, will not only be released 42 years after the sequel, but will be the first that is not Written/Directed by the duo of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg (though they are involved as producers).
Because of the potential missing touch of Lucas and Spielberg, I worry that this film may go the route of the Star Wars sequel trilogy (the only films in the Skywalker saga not written by Lucas). Openly appealing to nostalgia as opposed to telling a good story and letting the character himself be the nostalgia. A choice made in recent Disney distributed movies such as the aforementioned Star Wars films, the Lion King remake, the Aladdin remake, and every other remake (except for Mulan which was nothing like the animated film).
I feel that there is an absolute lack of original material today, the media we consume is recycled at best, if not recycled, then a nostalgia ridden sequel, and if not that, then a reboot that holds on to too much of the original film.
A film that I feel balanced fan service with a good story was Spider-Man: No Way Home. This film was tasked with incorporating every live action Spider-Man, as well as nearly all of the villains they faced in their respective films. There were call backs and nostalgia grabs, but the story evolved Peter Parker as a character and told a complete story that many feel was the best Tom Holland Spider-Man movie to date.
I obviously welcome what Harrison Ford has claimed will be the final installment of a franchise that I love. I just hope that it tells a story that builds up Indiana Jones, as opposed to leaning into the emotions of the audience in favor of fan service. Hopefully the involvement of Lucas and Spielberg will keep the film from falling into this trap.
The film will see Indiana Jones traveling through time, a great opportunity to give us the finale we as an audience deserve. Hopefully the film delivers, but none of us will know until the film releases in theaters June 30th, 2023.