The time finally came for the Cannes Film Festival to host an old friend — a swashbuckling archaeologist named Indiana Jones — courtesy of the world premiere of James Mangold’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Held Thursday evening at the Palais, the screening saw the filmmaker joined by beloved franchise star Harrison Ford alongside co-stars Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Boyd Holbrook, Ethann Isidore and Mads Mikkelsen.
And after every last credit rolled for the Lucasfilm and Disney blockbuster, the black-tie audience responded by dialing up a rousing standing ovation to six minutes, a strong showing for the out of competition title.
It wasn’t the only standing ovation of the night. Ahead of the screening, festival director Thierry Fremaux surprised the audience by taking the stage and presenting a highlight reel of Ford’s legendary career. He then presented him with a golden Palm as Ford took the stage looking visibly emotional and on the verge of tears.
While the ovations are almost always noteworthy here in Cannes, the news out of tonight’s screening was also about reunions. The Dial of Destiny premiere brought 80-year-old Ford and the Lucasfilm team back to Cannes where they also debuted the most recent installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. Steven Spielberg directed that entry and attended the Palais premiere with Ford, George Lucas and stars Cate Blanchett, Shia LaBeouf and Karen Allen.
Ford was also here more recently, turning up in 2014 for promotion for another high-octane franchise film, The Expendables 3, opposite Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Dolph Lundgren and Ronda Rousey. But his first festival showing dates back to 1985 when he visited Cannes for the debut of Peter Weir’s crime thriller Witness.
For Mangold, 59, the showing marked his own festival reunion as he came back to Cannes 28 years after the Directors Fortnight debut of his first film, 1995’s indie drama Heavy, which starred Liv Tyler, Shelley Winters, Debbie Harry and Pruitt Taylor Vince. When the news was announced about Dial of Destiny coming to Cannes, Mangold commented, “I am proud to return with a slightly larger spectacle.”
Per the film’s official production notes, Dial of Destiny picks up in 1969 when Jones is ready to call it quits after having spent more than a decade teaching at New York’s Hunter College. As he prepares to retire in a modest apartment where he lives alone, he receives a surprise visit from estranged goddaughter Helena Shaw (Waller-Bridge). Her intentions are to track down a rare artifact that her father entrusted to Indy years earlier — the infamous Archimedes Dial, a device that purportedly holds the power to locate fissures in time.
A sneaky con-artist, Helena steals the Dial and makes a break for it to sell the artifact to the highest bidder. Left with no choice but to go after her, “Indy dusts off his fedora and leather jacket for one final ride” while an old nemesis, Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi played by Mikkelsen is hot on their trail as has his own plans for the Dial, a scheme that could change history.
The cast also includes John Rhys-Davies, Toby Jones, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann and Olivier Richters round out the cast. The film was written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, David Koepp and Mangold, based on characters created by Lucas and Philip Kaufman. It was produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Simon Emanuel with Spielberg and Lucas serving as executive producers. John Williams, who has scored every Indiana Jones adventure since the original Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, has once again composed the score.
The Cannes premiere is a signal in Lucasfilm and Disney’s belief in the blockbuster. It’s also receiving high-profile promotion on the ground here with an oversized video display in front of the newly-remodeled Carlton Hotel. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny will open in theaters in France on June 28 followed by a U.S. bow June 30.