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Friday, June 30, 2023

Movie Review – My Indy Adventure, Part VI: Angst and Enjoyment for “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”

 by Ray Keating

Review (No Spoilers)


June 30, 2023


Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

3.5 to 4 stars (out of 5)


Okay, before I get to the actual review, a brief personal confession is in order. The period running up to and the actual arrival of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny gave me the most fan angst I’ve ever experienced for a movie. As far as characters and series in pop culture go, Indiana Jones tops the list, along with Captain Kirk and Captain America, in providing me with entertainment and enjoyment since my teens. Make no mistake, this discomfort, which lasted through the movie, surprised me. After all, it’s not like this was the release of one of my own books. But nonetheless, that was the case, and I’ll come back to this later. But on to the actual review…

“Playing it safe” can carry multiple meanings when it comes to making or reviewing movies. For the most part, the phrase tends to bug me. And given how often I’ve seen this used in reference to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (was there a memo I missed?), I now find this group of words extremely annoying. That’s especially the case given that they’re being tossed around to criticize this enjoyable and entertaining final entry in the Indiana Jones film series.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a darn good Indy movie. Is it as good as the previous four? (See my new reviews of those Indy movies at My Indy Adventure, Part IV: New Reviews of Raiders, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.) No. And there are various reasons for this. First and foremost, director James Mangold, who did a fine job with Dial of Destiny, does not measure up to Steven Spielberg as a director. But who does, given that Spielberg ranks as one of the all-time greats? Second, while there are welcome bits of humor throughout this latest film, they don’t seem to be as frequent and memorable as was the case with the previous movies. (Again, there’s a reason why I use the word “seem” here.)


As for what you might have heard, the opening of the movie taking place in World War II with a de-aged Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones overall works well. In story terms, it’s a wonderful start to the movie (we get a flavor of what Indy was up to during the war), and the de-aged Harrison Ford ranges from looking absolutely amazing for much of the time to being a bit odd here and there.


Also, many reviewers have claimed that the third act of the film just goes too far and is goofy. Understanding what occurred in the previous Indy films in terms of the final conflicts, Dial of Destiny definitely is the greatest stretch, but it still basically works. After all, Indiana Jones isn’t just action/adventure, but also sci-fi/fantasy.


As for the ending, which also has been alluded to by reviewers, I’m not going to spoil anything, but for this story and for Indiana Jones being at this point in his life, Mangold deserves credit for sticking with an ideal ending. I don’t hesitate giving the film’s conclusion a big thumbs up.


Along the way, we get treated to some great Indy action and globetrotting. And Ford deserves enormous credit for stepping up once more as Indiana Jones at his, let us say, advanced age, and doing it with heart and skill. The story has a certain tone that’s different from the previous films, and Ford takes that a bit deeper.

Regarding other assorted characters, I’ll just touch on three. First, John Rhys-Davies is back as Sallah, and that’s a treat. We get a couple of solid Sallah moments. Second, Mads Mikkelsen excels as the evil Dr. Voller. That’s not surprising, and the writers and director clearly let him have fun with the role. Third, and most significant outside of Indy himself, is Helena, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is Indiana Jones’ goddaughter and starts the movie as a gray character. Her links to Indiana Jones are strong and long, but the depth of her love of cash, and not much else, run deep as well. 


Dial of Destiny takes both Indiana Jones and Helena on interesting character arcs.


There’s more to say about characters and story, but not without giving away too much.


Whether out of ignorance or arrogance, or both, not “playing it safe” with beloved characters and/or franchises often has come to mean not being true to the character. It tends to indicate that audience expectations must be flouted in the worst possible ways in order to be creative. Think Rian Johnson and what he did to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In the end, though, such notions amount to a different type of uncreative formula (again, see The Last Jedi). 


Thankfully, Mangold didn’t succumb to the wrongheaded impulse or urgings to undermine Indiana Jones. Instead, he stayed true to the essence of the character and the films that came before. Mangold, Ford and others involved in creating Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny deserve credit for resisting the siren call of many of today’s moviemakers and critics to undermine the audience. 


Instead, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny turned out to be an engaging, interesting, occasionally over-the-top (as is the case with all Indy movies), fun adventure romp, with some real heart, that wound up not just meeting but exceeding this angst-ridden Indy fan’s expectations. No, it’s not Raiders of the Lost Ark or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but again, it’s a darn good Indiana Jones movie. 


So, why am I giving this movie the odd rating of 3.5 to 4 stars out of a possible 5? Well, coming out of the theater, I was at 3.5 stars. But I know that when I re-watch Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny free from worry and angst, I’ll enjoy it more in various ways (such as catching and appreciating more of the humor). And yes, my opinion of the movie will improve – most likely, pushing it up to a solid 4 stars.




My Indy Adventure, Part I: Visiting the Indiana Jones Den of Destiny” by Ray Keating


My Indy Adventure, Part II: Indiana Jones and the Hawaiian Shirt” by Ray Keating


My Indy Adventure, Part III: Indiana Jones and the Search for the Comfy T” by Ray Keating


My Indy Adventure, Part IV: New Reviews of Raiders, Temple of Doom, Last Crusade, and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” by Ray Keating


My Indy Adventure, Part V: Indiana Jones and the Search for Disney Movie Profits” by Ray Keating 




Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com; and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries, and the Alliance of Saint Michael novels; and assorted nonfiction books. Have Ray Keating speak your group, business, school, church, or organization. Email him at raykeating@keatingreports.com.


The views expressed here are his own – after all, no one else should be held responsible for this stuff, right? 


Consider books by Ray Keating…


• The Pastor Stephen Grant thrillers and mysteries. You can order the latest book in the series – Under the Golden Dome: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel. Get the signed books here, or paperbacks and Kindle editions right here.


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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Fourth of July Festivities to Light the Skies at Disney

 by Beth Keating



June 28, 2023


Happy Fourth of July!  Now cue the crowds … as Disney’s Fourth of July celebrations bring some of the biggest crowds of the year to the Disney World parks.  (Christmas and New Year’s Eve are likely the only time you’ll see the crowds grow larger.)  It’s easy to understand why, since everyone, Disney included, loves a good party, and the fireworks over Cinderella Castle most definitely bring the bling.

“Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” will be performed on  both July 3 and 4, 2023 at Magic Kingdom. (It takes the place of the “Happily Ever After” fireworks for those two nights.). The shows take place at 9:20 each evening, and are even more spectacular than the normal nightly shows. The Fourth of July productions feature 360° fireworks, surrounding the entire park.

Fireworks aren’t the only highlight to the Independence Day celebrations at Disney World.  While you are enjoying the colorful bursts overhead, you can also join in to the DJ dance parties at Magic Kingdom, happening around the park on both July 3 and 4.

EPCOT is not to be outdone by its older sister park at the Magic Kingdom, and demands its own attention for the holiday. In fact, despite the fact that the EPCOT holiday fireworks only take place on July 4, there really is a bit more of a “patriotic” feel to the EPCOT efforts.  The “Heartbeat of Freedom” is a short, add-on display that takes place after "EPCOT Forever" on July 4, 2023. The Heartbeat fireworks are launched from around World Showcase for a dramatic blockbuster of a tribute.

If you are a fan of the sparkly lights on Spaceship Earth, you’ll be excited to learn that there will be a patriotic red, white and blue salute on the sphere, alternating with the regular “Beacons of Magic” lights on Spaceship Earth. If you won’t be at EPCOT on the Fourth, you may still be able to catch the lights, as they will begin on July 1, and run nightly through July 4, 2023.

The delightful and talented “Voices of Liberty” a capella group performs regularly in the rotunda at the American Adventure, and they’ll be bringing traditional selections from their American songbook for your Independence Day enjoyment.

While in the American Adventure pavilion, be sure to keep an eye out for some of your favorite Disney pals, dressed in their patriotic “Spirit of ’76” outfits. It’s a rare opportunity!

And if you’re looking for a sweet treat to enjoy while you are watching the shows, there are a number of interesting selections (including some savory ones, too) around the parks. But don’t sleep on it, because most of these goodies are very limited time offerings. Here’s the highlights, as shared by Disney Parks Blog in their Foodie Guide (it also includes Disneyland treats in California):






Connections Cafe (Available July 4 only)

  • Fourth of July Liege Waffle: Brioche dough with pearl sugar 

Fife & Drum (Currently available) 

  • The American Dream: Frozen Fanta Wild Cherry, vanilla ice cream, and Frozen Fanta Blue Raspberry slushy 

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue (Currently available; mobile order available) 

  • Celebrate the regions of American backyard barbecue with classic dishes (Some plant-based items available on the menu) 

Sunshine Seasons (Available July 1 through 31) 

  • Fourth of July Shake: Red velvet shake with whipped cream and red velvet cake pieces 




Backlot Express (Available July 1 through 31)

  • Mickey Apple Pie Cupcake: Yellow cupcake filled with an apple pie filling, topped with a salted caramel buttercream, cinnamon streusel, and garnished with rainbow silver sparkle and red, white, and blue Mickey Ears

Woody’s Lunchbox (Available July 1 through 31) 

  • 4th of July Lunch Box Tart: Cherry pie filling, vanilla fondant, and star sprinkles



Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort 


Intermission Food Court, World Premiere Food Court, and End Zone Food Court (Available through August 31; mobile order available) 

  • Sweet Summertime Favorites: Hot dog éclair with chocolate buttercream, iced sugar cookie ‘fries’, and raspberry dipping sauce


Disney’s BoardWalk 


BoardWalk Deli and Carousel Coffee (Available June 27 through July 4)

  • Independence Day Cupcake: Cinnamon cupcake, apple pie filling, and vanilla mascarpone cream
  • Freedom Cheesecake: Red velvet brownie base, vanilla cheesecake, sweet cream, crisp pearls, and white chocolate garnish


Disney’s Contemporary Resort 


Contempo Café (Available July 1 through 8; mobile order available) Fourth of July Fruit Tart: Blackberry custard topped with fresh berries and a vanilla panna cotta popsicle


Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort 


Centertown Market and Spyglass Grill (Available July 1 through 31; mobile order available) 

  • Star-spangled Brownie Bar: Graham cracker crust and chocolate chip fudgy brownie topped with a brown butter caramel mousse, popping candy, and chocolate décor


Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa 


Good’s Food to Go and The Artist’s Palette (Available June 27 through July 4; mobile order available at The Artist’s Palette only) 

  • Fourth of July Layer Cake: Layers of red velvet cake with white and blue buttercream filled with a patriotic sprinkle surprise


Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside 


Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory, Riverside Mill Food Court (Available July 1 through 31; mobile order available) 

  • Star-spangled Brownie Bar: Graham cracker crust and chocolate chip fudgy brownie topped with a brown butter caramel mousse, popping candy, and chocolate décor


Disney’s Riviera Resort 


Bar Riva (Available June 30 through July 14) 

  • Patriotic Wave: The Mediterranean Wave with the addition of blue curaçao and hibiscus to celebrate both Independence Day and Bastille Day

Le Petit Café (Available June 27 through July 4) 

  • Patriotic Top Hat: Vanilla bean cheesecake with morello cherries on a Riviera brownie (New) 


Disney’s Wilderness Lodge 


Roaring Fork (Available June 27 through July 4; mobile order available) 

  • Lemon Mousse Cake: Lemon cake and white chocolate lemon mousse with a blueberry compote center and chocolate star décor


Available at Various Disney Resort Hotels (Available June 30 through July 9) 

  • Red, White, and Blue Colada: Bacardi Raspberry Rum blended with flavors of coconut, pineapple, and raspberry purée topped with a float of Bols Blue Curaçao
  • Red, White, and Blue Gin and Tonic: Empress 1908 Gin, tonic water, and cranberry and pomegranate juices (New) 





Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe (Available July 1 through 4; mobile order available) 

  • Fourth of July Donut: Cotton candy icing donut filled with strawberry compote, red, white, and blue whipped topping and sprinkles (New) 

Plaza Inn (Available July 4 only) 

  • Fourth of July Dining Package: Slow roasted BBQ pork, fried chicken thigh, smoked sausage, watermelon wedge, small corn on the cob, broccoli salad, sharp cheddar mac & cheese, bread roll, specialty dessert, and specialty beverage (New) (Reservations strongly encouraged) (Kids version available) 




Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream (Available June 30 through July 5; mobile order available) 

  • Red, White & Blue Sundae: Strawberry and blueberry sorbets topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, whipped cream, and sprinkles in a waffle bowl (New) 


Disneyland Hotel 


The Coffee House (Available June 30 through July 9; mobile order available) Red, White, and Blue Cupcake (New)


Downtown Disney District 


Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes (Available June 30 through July 4) 

  • Red, White, and Blue CakeShake: Vanilla shake featuring a vanilla frosted rim with red, white, and blue sprinkles topped with red, white, and blue cake, whipped cream, more sprinkles, and a cherry

Blue Ribbon Corn Dog (Available July 4 only) 

  • Fourth of July Mozzarella Dog: Red, white, and blue mozzarella cheese, dipped in batter, rolled in panko crumbs, fried, rolled in sugar, and served with a side of sriracha dipping sauce (New) 


Available at Various Locations at Disneyland Resort including Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen, Pooh Corner, Trolley Treats, Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff, and Marceline’s Confectionery (Available June 30 through July 4) 

  • Fourth of July Apple: Granny Smith apple dipped in caramel with marshmallow ears, enrobed in blue-colored white chocolate and red-colored white chocolate, striped with white chocolate, and sprinkled with sugar stars 
  • Fourth of July Marshmallow Wand: Marshmallows dipped in caramel, enrobed in blue, white chocolate and red, white chocolate, striped with white chocolate, and sprinkled with sugar stars
  • Fourth of July Cereal Treat: Mickey-shaped cereal treat enrobed in blue, white chocolate and red, white chocolate, striped with white chocolate, and sprinkled with sugar stars
  • Fourth of July Cake Pop




Beth Keating is a theme parks, restaurant and entertainment reporter for DisneyBizJournal.