- Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny improves upon Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by incorporating a traditional adventure and the race to find historical artifacts.
- The Antikythera in the movie serves as the perfect MacGuffin, allowing for a supernatural element rooted in the mythology of the relic.
- The use of the Antikythera cleverly connects ancient history and time travel, bringing the Indiana Jones narrative full circle.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is about the Antikythera, and it fixes a major problem with 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The fifth Indiana Jones movie follows Harrison Ford’s archaeologist as he searches for Archimedes’ Antikythera with his goddaughter, Helen. In the movie, the Antikythera is thought to be a time-travel device that sends its user to any point in history they desire. Nazi Jürgen Voller wants it to travel to 1939 to kill Hitler and win the war himself. However, Voller and Indy learn that the device leads to one specific time in history: the Siege of Syracuse in 212 BC.
Indiana Jones 5 lost Disney $100 million, as it only made $375 million worldwide from an inflated $300 million budget. That made the movie one of the biggest bombs of the year. The release also had a mixed reception due to some of its supporting characters and story choices. However, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny was still a massive improvement over its predecessor. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull lacked one key element that’s the foundation of the franchise, but Indiana Jones 5 restored it in a major way.
The Antikythera’s Real History Is Better Than Crystal Skull
Races to find historical artifacts are among of the many Indiana Jones franchise trademarks and what makes the series so entertaining in the first place. The movies add a supernatural or fantastical element to them, which is generally rooted in the mythology surrounding the relics. In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy races the Nazis to find the Ark of the Covenant. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy is searching for The Holy Grail. While the crystal skull in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn’t play into that tradition, the Antikythera in Indiana Jones 5 is the perfect MacGuffin for the movie.
The Antikythera in Indiana Jones 5 was discovered on a sunken Roman warship in 1900. Sponge divers were able to locate the Antikythera wreck and retrieve the mechanism from the sea. Though it had mostly deteriorated, it was discovered that the device could predict astronomical positions and eclipses decades in advance. It was also theorized that it could do more. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny runs with this mysterious purpose by making the artifact a time-travel device.
As a result, Indiana Jones 5 turns Archimedes into the inventor of time travel, too. The use of the Antikythera also relates to one of Indy’s most beloved times in history. Archimedes defended the city against the Romans during the Siege of Syracuse, and in the movie, the ancient philosopher created a time travel device to seek help from the future. This brings the narrative of ancient artifacts in Indiana Jones full circle. The way the movie interpolates history by using the Antikythera cleverly continues the Indiana Jones tradition and completes Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’ vision for the franchise.
Crystal Skull’s True Story Connection Wasn’t Strong Enough
While the crystal skulls in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are vaguely rooted in mythology, that isn’t enough for a franchise that has always been based on real-life historical artifacts. The 2008 movie uses the skulls as a catalyst to tell a story about the extra-terrestrial, making them actual alien heads. However, crystal skulls were believed to be created by the Aztec or Maya civilizations. They weren’t seen as a way to connect with alien life but were instead believed to have healing powers. After Indiana Jones 4‘s move away from real-life artifacts, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny offers a much-needed return to form.