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Inside Film

Indiana Jones and the tempor of doom: The trouble with time-travel in the movies

As ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ is released next week with a jarring time travel plot, Geoffrey Macnab looks at why certain movies thrive on skipping through the centuries or reeling back the years, while others fail dismally

Friday 23 June 2023 06:10 BST
A de-aged Harrison Ford in ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’
A de-aged Harrison Ford in ‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ (Lucasfilm Ltd)

In the new Indiana Jones film, The Dial of Destiny, out next week, Harrison Ford’s rugged archaeologist is up to his usual daredevil tricks. He and his even more thrill-seeking goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) compete against a former Nazi scientist turned Nasa adviser (Mads Mikkelsen) to get hold of the Antikythera, a contraption from ancient times that has been split in two. Anyone who can put it back together will be able to leap across the aeons and potentially reverse history.

In other words, the film provides just the rip-roaring fare we all expect and love whenever Indiana Jones has a new adventure.

For much of the movie, we think that the Antikythera is just another “MacGuffin”, as filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock used to call devices put into movies to keep the plot ticking along, but that turn out to have no particular significance. It’s a rusty-looking metal box that has been around since the time of Archimedes.

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