Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Dec 02, 2023
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
  • Bookmark and Share
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (4K UHD Review)


James Mangold

Release Date(s)

2023 (December 5th, 2023)


Lucasfilm/Walt Disney Pictures (Buena Vista Home Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: B
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A-
  • Extras Grade: A-

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (4K Ultra HD)




France, 1944. Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his colleague and friend, the Oxford archeologist Basil Shaw (Toby Jones, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), are attempting to retrieve the mythical Lance of Longinus from a castle in the Alps when they’re captured by Nazi forces, who are scouring Europe for mythical objects desired by Adolf Hitler. Among them is a German scientist named Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal) who discovers that the Lance is a fake. But Voller it seems has found a far more interesting object, a piece of Archimedes’ Dial—a so-called Antikythera mechanism—which may have unique mystical properties of its own. Fortunately, Indy soon escapes and manages to rescue Shaw from the Nazis’ speeding loot train, seizing Voller’s piece of the Dial (unknown to Shaw) in the process before Allied forces arrive to stop the train completely.

Twenty-five years later in 1969, Indy retires from his position at Hunter College in New York City on the same day the Apollo 11 astronauts arrive in town for their ticker-tape parade. But others arrive too, including Shaw’s adult daughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag), who’s eager to resume her late father’s search for the Dial, and Voller himself, who was whisked to America at the end of the war to lead the US space program. But having accomplished the Moon landing, Voller now wants to recover both pieces of Archimedes’ Dial. So as Indy reveals the piece he kept to Helena, Voller’s ruthless agents arrive to steal it, but Helena actually does, fleeing to Tangier to sell it on the black market. Realizing her life is in danger, Indy sets off to warn her with the help of his old friend Sallah (John Rhys-Davies, The Lord of the Rings). But Indy and Helena soon realize there’s more to Archimedes’ Dial—and Vonner’s plans for it—than meets the eye.

Now… I’m not sure what some fans wanted from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and didn’t get, but I thought this was a pretty solid film—not as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark obviously, but right on par with Last Crusade and way better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Its action isn’t Mad Max: Fury Road or Mission: Impossible intense, but the set pieces are clever and Ford is as good as ever. Stylistically, Dial feels like a throwback to the first three Indy films, which shouldn’t be surprising because director James Mangold (Cop Land, Logan, Ford v Ferrari) knows exactly what he’s doing here. And for those who claim the film is somehow “too woke,” my suggestion would be to go back and watch Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday (1940) and The Big Sleep (1946), Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity (1944), and Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai (1947). Yes, Waller-Bridge’s Helena gives Indy the business early on, but it’s also clear that she loves him, needs him, and most importantly respects him by the end (and, in fact, has done all along).

Others have pilloried Dial by claiming that Indy is somehow “a passenger in his own film,” but that too is ridiculous. Keep in mind, Ford is eighty-one years old. God love ‘em, he’s not an action star anymore. Even back in the day, his awkwardness and ingenuity in action scenes was precisely the source of his charm. Yet his Indy remains active here and has plenty of agency. I suspect what people really mean when they raise such complaints, is that they wish Steven Spielberg and George Lucas had gotten their shit together to make a dozen more Indy films while Ford was still in his prime. And man… I get it. But that’s why Mangold cleverly begins Dial by giving us forty minutes of premium Indy, which is a helluva lot more than I ever expected to see again. And despite the fact that the digital de-aging isn’t perfect, it’s still pretty damn good. Ultimately, I think some fans just don’t like seeing their heroes age, or become anything less than invincible. But that’s just life. (And the older you get, the more you come to understand it.)

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was captured digitally by cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (3:10 to Yuma, Nebraska, Ford v Ferrari) in the ARRIRAW codec (at 4.5K) using Arri Alexa LF and LF Mini cameras, with Panavision C- and T-Series anamorphic lenses, and it was finished as a 4K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio for theaters. (Note that though this film was shown in IMAX theaters, no scenes were specifically shot using IMAX cameras, so the scope ratio remains constant throughout.) For its release on 4K Ultra HD, the film has been graded for high dynamic range (only HDR10 is present, which is frustrating given that the previous Indy films on UHD from Paramount—reviewed here—have Dolby Vision as well) and it’s encoded on a 100 GB disc. The movie file itself is approximately 70 GB in size, and video data rates while viewing are consistently in the 50-70 Mbps range, so the image quality is far more dimensional than the Digital experience or Disney+ stream. Detail is abundant, with clean and refined texturing apparent at all times. The HDR renders very deep blacks, with pleasing shadow detail and strongly-bright highlights. This is a film that looks as good in its darkest scenes as it does in daylight. And the color palette is warm and natural, with well-saturated and accurate hues, and lovely subtleties. A light wash of digital ‘grain’ lends the image an appropriately filmic appearance. This is a terrific and highly-cinematic 4K image.

Primary audio on the 4K disc is offered in English Dolby Atmos, a home theater port of the theatrical sound mix. The soundstage is wide up front, with immersive use of the overhead and surround channels for discrete effects, atmospherics, and music. The height channels engage frequently during the opening sequence to signal the arrival of Allied aircraft overhead. (The falling bomb that saves Indy uses them nicely too). Each location has its own unique sonic environment, from the interior of the Nazi train, to the crowd-filled streets of NYC, to the depths of the Aegean, and the cavernous interior of the Ear of Dionysius. Every crack of Indy’s whip and every punch he throws has pleasing heft in the LFE channel. Dialogue is clean, centered, and full sounding, while Williams’ score is well staged in the mix, exhibiting fine fidelity and utilizing every channel including the overheads. I wouldn’t call this a reference Atmos mix, but it’s a very enjoyable sonic match for the 4K disc’s visual experience. Note that additional audio options include English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, and Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus. Optional subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired, French, and Spanish.

Disney and Lucasfilm’s 4K Ultra HD disc, and the movie Blu-ray included with it in this package, both offer the following special feature:

  • Score Only Version of the Movie

Hands down, every movie with a John Williams score should have a score-only viewing option on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. I mean, seriously. This is a treat, and it’s fascinating to see how the music and visuals work hand-in-hand to help tell the story.

To this, the Blu-ray in the packaging adds the following:

  • The Making of Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny (HD – 5 parts – 56:46)
    • Chapter 1: Prologue (HD – 11:20)
    • Chapter 2: New York (HD – 10:33)
    • Chapter 3: Morocco (HD – 10:11)
    • Chapter 4: Sicily (HD – 11:22)
    • Chapter 5: Finale (HD – 13:18)

Directed by Ian Bucknole and produced by Trisha Brunner, this hour-long behind-the-scenes is also pretty terrific. Every major participant (both in front of and behind the camera) gets a chance to weigh in here with their perspective and thoughts, and plenty of supporting participants chime in too. We see the process employed by ILM to ‘de-age’ Harrison Ford for the film’s opening sequence. You learn how the story evolved, how the stunts were created, how the sound mix was developed (there’s a mention of the Wilhelm scream naturally), and how the filmmakers sought to replicate the look of cinematographer Douglas Slocombe’s work (from the original Raiders of the Lost Ark). You get to see Williams conducting his score, and see how the Moon parade and tuk-tuk chase were created. Each of the major cast members talks about their characters. There’s a lovely look Karen Allen’s return as Marion Ravenwood too. Really, the only thing that’s disappointing about this documentary is that—when it’s done—you wish there was another hour of it. (Tip of the hat to all involved.)

Deleted scenes would have been nice (such as they may exist) and I wish the film’s trailers were included too. But no matter—the two extras you do get are good ones indeed. A Movies Anywhere Digital code is also included in a paper insert.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny isn’t a perfect film, but it’s a far better one than I was expecting given the many challenges at play in its making. Harrison Ford slips back into old leather jacket and fedora with remarkable ease, and it’s great to see him in action one last time. There’s something rather lovely in the idea of a man who’s spent his entire life studying and preserving ancient history finally getting to see it once with his own eyes. James Mangold has stepped into Steven Spielberg’s shoes and channeled a bit of the old 80s film magic admirably. There’s two approaches one can take to viewing this film: glass half full or glass half empty. I chose the first. If this is indeed Indy’s last crack of the whip, well… I, for one, enjoyed it. Recommended.

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)