‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s Reliance on Nostalgia Leads to its (Temple of) Doom

For a while, it seems that the key to the success of the box office – in addition to superheroes and comic book properties – is the return of franchises on the big screen, especially by invoking a sense of nostalgia along with improved special effects. That is certainly the case Jurassic World And Star Wars, both became billion dollar IPs within the last decade. So if nostalgia worked just a few years ago, then why is this summer’s cover flopping? Surely the return of the 80s and the adventure of the hero Indiana Jones will attract everyone to the cinema, right? But according to office numbers, the answer is no. Harrison FordThe ultimate return of the fedora Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Unfortunately, it was considered a flop. To understand why it failed financially, one can look no further than what most movie studios are riding on: nostalgia. Generally speaking, nostalgia only works if the film relates to the audience. In the case of Call of DestinyIndiana Jones just isn’t as relevant to as many people as expected.

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Irrelevant Indy Movies (To the Younger Generation)

Harrison Ford not too old in 'Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny'
Image via Disney

As someone who was born in the 90s and grew up in the early 2000s, I have no attachment to Indiana Jones. While star wars has always been particularly relevant to the prequel trilogy, Harry Potter, X-MenAnd Spider man is among the other IPs I have moved on to. For many of my generation, our nostalgia is in the early 2000s — not the 80s. So, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of DoomAnd The Last Crusade Not at the forefront of my pop culture consciousness. As a child, I watched these movies on TNT or TBS interspersed with commercials. I don’t remember watching these movies completely. I do not remember what I saw Kingdom of the crystal skull In theaters in 2008 or if I catch it on TV months later like the other movies. Personally, I have no relationship with them.

So when I finally went out to see Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, I found myself having a hard time caring about the character and his ultimate adventure. There were moments where I knew it was meant to be nostalgic for viewers familiar with the franchise, but for me, they didn’t carry the same emotional resonance. For example, when Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) appeals to Indy’s past adventures with his own father, we mean to remember Henry Jones, Sr. The Last CrusadePlayed by Sean Connery. However, that emotional moment is lost on those who don’t see it The Last Crusade. the last scene of Call of Destiny Also meant to tug at the heartstrings is Indy’s estranged wife Marion (Karen Allen) reunites with the hero. Without the context of attack And even Crystal skull, Marion appears as a woman who suddenly enters Indy’s apartment in the final scene. Furthermore, the offscreen death of their son Mutt (Shia Labeouf) does not help to add more context. Without these impressive distractions from previous films, these moments lose their meaning and significance.

Image via Disney+

A more specific example is the opening action sequence that takes place at the end of World War II with Harrison Ford, which harkens back to the period of the original film. It is “classic” Indiana Jones, a swashbuckling adventure in search of a legendary artifact while beating the Nazis at the same time. But for those with very hazy memories of the previous film, this opening sequence offers nothing new, other than Harrison Ford’s video game-like performance in his 30s. Instead, the opening reminded me Captain America: The First AvengerWhich is no doubt in part because of the actors Toby Jones who is a friend of Indy’s archaeologist Basil Shaw (ironically, Jones played a Nazi in The first Avenger).

Furthermore, in Indy’s absence for most of the 21st century, other IPs and franchises have taken its place, whether it’s the MCU, National treasureAnd even video games There is no schedule. These features are influenced by Indiana Jones. But they are also indicative of why Call of DestinyThe reliance on nostalgia has finally fallen flat. For the large group of viewers who went to see the movie that grew in the 2000s, there is not much about Indiana Jones to be nostalgic for.

Indy’s franchise potential has not been fully realized

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark
Image via Paramount Pictures

For many who have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark In 1981, the Indiana Jones The franchise holds nostalgic significance alongside other ’80s properties such as Terminator, Die hardAnd even Batman. But the same Michael KeatonReturn as a caped crusader The Flash Not attracting the attention of a large audience and especially children, the return of Harrison Ford Call of Destiny Failed to capture the nostalgic appeal that the filmmakers had hoped for. For those who didn’t grow up in the 80s, Indy’s final appearance was not very appealing. Of course, Shia Labeouf may be a familiar face from the Disney Channel show Even Stevens and the first live act TransformerBut Kingdom of the crystal skull — like Call of Destiny — Collection of non-sentimental information for young filmmakers.

The mistake of Call of Destiny In updating Indiana Jones as if he were a multi-generational pop culture icon, when, in fact, the franchise has failed to appeal to new fans all along. Compared to Lucasfilm’s flagship franchise Star Wars, Indiana Jones pales in comparison. While many consider the original Indy trilogy one of the best, it doesn’t have the franchise momentum of a galaxy far, far away. While the Star Wars prequels are not up to the original trilogy in terms of quality, it has brought a whole new generation into the fandom who inevitably revisited the previous film. Furthermore, video games and shows such as: The battlefield And The Clone Wars Keep the franchise relevant to fans, old and new, in the pop culture zeitgeist. So when the sequel trilogy came out, everyone flocked to see it, with each entry grossing over a billion dollars at the box office.

River Phoenix in the young Indiana Jones with the bullwhip in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Image via Paramount Pictures

On the other hand, after the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of DoomAnd The Last Crusade, IIndiana Jones does not have the same production of the Star Wars franchise. In the early 90s, The story of young Indiana Jones Keeping the character alive on TV, explore the previous adventures of the famous hero. But by the 21st century, Indiana Jones Most of them are missing. Besides Kingdom of the crystal skull And a few Lego video games in, the franchise hasn’t won over new and younger fans. The fandom has declined, not grown. It’s no wonder Call of Destiny are experiencing a similar fate The Flash At the office.

Using non-examples Star Wars, Spider-Man: No Way Home A perfect example of a movie franchise that appeals to many generations of fans. Whether the fans come from Tobey McGuire era, Andrew Garfield Era, or the latest Tom Holland Era, they all show drama. As hilarious as Sony’s reboots of the Spider-Man franchise are, they certainly help keep Spider-Man relevant in live action movies. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Indiana Jones. While nostalgia can be a stepping stone to blockbuster success, it shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to filmmaking. For some, nostalgia is a stepping stone to blockbuster failure — Call of Destiny And The Flash is just a recent example. Hopefully the studio will learn this lesson. Maybe, this time, Indy can finally relax in retirement.

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