Friday, July 30

Jungle Cruise Review

Jungle Cruise

Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti

2h 7m


My first ride, on my first trip to Disneyland, was The Jungle Cruise.  The mechanical boat tour into the Amazon was pure joy. The scary rhino, the underwater hippos, and the mysterious 8th wonder of the world all combined for a magical experience. It was fun, exciting, humorous, and very silly.


The same can be said of director Jaume Collet-Serra's harmless "Jungle Cruise," a sometimes amusing and completely summer popcorn-worthy journey into the Disney ride adaptations. Part "Pirates of the Caribbean," part "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Jungle Cruise" wears its influences proudly on its sleeve. It even features not one but two charming heroic leads pushing the film forward. 


Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) is a reckless and confident explorer trying to lead an expedition into the Amazon to find a powerful secret deep in the jungle. With the help of her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall), Lily must steal an ancient arrowhead stone to find the path to the old treasure. Traveling from England to South America, Lily and McGregor need a boat and a captain to make their journey. They find help from Skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), a hustling tour guide who owes money to a grumpy riverboat dealer (Paul Giamatti). Skipper Frank cons Lily and McGregor into hiring him, unaware that the dangerous German Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) is hot on their trail. The hunt for the secret treasure leads all groups into a supernatural conflict with the cursed ancient conquistador Aguirre (Édgar Ramírez). 



Amid a story combining a bevy of complicated and distracting influences, "Jungle Cruise" maintains much of its momentum because of the chemistry and charisma between Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson. Their banter, wisecracks, and insults are humorous and add an element of fun to almost every scene. Jesse Plemons and Jack Whitehall are also good in supporting roles. Plemons, with a thick accent, chews up the scenery with glee. Whitehall, with a haughty attitude and a trail of suitcases in tow, shines consistently. 


The story struggles to keep up with the many other stories it's trying to tell. Aguirre, composed of snakes, and his undead jungle inhabited conquistadors, are trying to break their curse. Prince Joachim travels in a submarine and wants to rule the world. Add Skipper Frank and Lily's combined, and sometimes different, motivations to find the treasure, and "Jungle Cruise" gets lost on its journey. 


"Jungle Cruise" doesn't do anything completely different from other Disney adventures of recent memory, but that doesn't keep it from having a whole lot of fun. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt keep the cruise cruising for over 2 hours. Their chemistry is infectious. "Jungle Cruise" is fun, a popcorn film with a little bit of everything for viewers looking for a nice summer cinema distraction. 


Monte's Rating

3.00 out of 5.00

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