Fan Reaction to CGI in the New 'Indiana Jones' Is Divisive, to Say the Least

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author
By

Dec. 2 2022, Published 2:20 p.m. ET

Whether people like it or not, moviegoers now live in an age where nostalgia and established franchises rule the box office. It's easier for folks to get excited about a sequel or the return of a classic character than it is for a new name to try and stake its claim on an opening weekend. And even then, nostalgic remakes or sequels tend to skirt the line between love letters to a franchise or shameless cash grabs capitalizing on a brand. Fans will typically be divided over a new nostalgic film.

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Such is the case with the newest Indiana Jones film. The classic film franchise stars Harrison Ford as the titular globe-trotting archaeologist as he uncovers ancient artifacts and supernatural secrets, all while keeping them out of the hands of corrupt leaders who would use them for evil.

The newest film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, places Indy in the Space Race of 1969.

While many are excited to see Indy's (second) comeback, the film's use of CGI has drawn some tepid reactions.

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Reactions to CGI in 'Indiana Jones 5' have been mixed.

The first three Indiana Jones films have long been praised for their use of practical effects. The movies' elaborate set pieces and true-to-life action sequences are still applauded today as landmark milestones in cinema history.

As CGI began to flourish in films beginning in the early 2000s, many films were subject to a digital makeover, including movies for Indiana Jones.

If you'll remember, Dial of Destiny isn't the only revival that the franchise has seen. The series was first brought back with the premiere of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Even back then, the film received lukewarm responses from fans and critics alike due to its over-reliance on CGI during its action sequences.

Those same sentiments have been echoed more than a decade later with the first Dial of Destiny trailer.

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With the debut of the Dial of Destiny trailer, fans are already decrying the film's use of computer-animated effects.

"As yes, bucketloads of CGI, exactly why all those previous Indiana Jones movies were so good. Blockbusters are doomed," lamented one fan on Twitter.

Many have gripes with one particular shot of Harrison Ford on a horse, in which his head doesn't quite line up with the rest of his body.

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Interestingly enough, director James Mangold reportedly wanted to prioritize practical effects more than anything else. In an interview with Empire, James claimed that they avoided the use of CGI to create artificial backdrops.

Unfortunately, that hasn't necessarily stopped the negative feedback online, with fans believing that the film "looks closer to an Uncharted cutscene than an Indiana Jones movie."

Fortunately, CGI has been praised in at least one aspect of the upcoming film.

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Harrison Ford was de-aged for a flashback in the film.

While an over-reliance on CGI may work to a film's detriment, it's sometimes necessary for actors like Harrison Ford, who was nearly 80 years old by the time principal photography began. Not only could we expect to see CGI in use for many of his action scenes, but another scene in the film depicts a much young Indy with CGI being used to de-age his face. Per Empire, James Mangold wanted to give audiences a shot of "adrenaline" with scenes of a young Indy back in action.

Despite the gripes that fans have shared about the use of CGI in action sequences, many have praised the level of detail present in Harrison Ford's de-aging. People are already calling it "perfect" and "absolutely spectacular." One fan even suggested that the teams at Marvel Studios take some notes, given their 50/50 success rate with aging characters with CGI.

We'll just have to see how CGI impacts the rest of the film as well. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny premieres in theaters on June 30, 2023.

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