As I do with most Disney films, I had a good time while watching their latest effort, “Jungle Cruise.” I thoroughly enjoyed floating down the Amazon with these adventurous characters as they pushed the limits.
Like I did, I think you’ll appreciate the graphics and artwork. I’m partial to the moment that brings you in close to a dragonfly that’s landing on a lily pad, right before he’s scooped up by a hungry fish leaping from the water in search of lunch. Yes. It’s all exhilarating for the kids; the music, the mischief, and the snakes, but you’ll get a lot of fun out of it, too.
Since opening Disneyland on July 17, 1955, Disney has tried to score a major film off of their most prominent attractions. Why wouldn’t they?! It worked for films such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which brought in billions. Can this film bring in some of that audience? I also can’t help but wonder if “Tower of Terror,” which is currently in the works, will succeed. I digress.
Unlike the future’s “Tower,” this is primarily based on “Pirates” and has a lot of the same energy. However, it does fall short of being much of anything to an adult outside of playfulness. It’s whimsical in favor of being geared more to the younger set.
We’re first introduced to a British scientist named Lily Houghton (Blunt). She’s a woman who refuses to take ‘No’ for an answer. This is how she gets her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) involved in an adventure he’d rather not be involved with. Not giving him a choice, she then hitches her wagon to the boat that belongs to the, never short on quips, skipper Frank Wolff (Johnson). She pays him handsomely to help her and MacGregor find a tree that’s supposed to have the ability to heal. For her, it means making advancements in the world of medicine. Seems a tree such as this is a bit farfetched, but since Frank is low on funds, he’ll take anyone anywhere they want to go if they can help him settle his debt with Nilo, played by the magnificent Paul Giamatti.
When Frank and Lily take the other for granted, their relationship gets off to a rocky start. Of course, if things had been smooth sailing from the beginning, we wouldn’t have a story. The expedition then goes in a direction you didn’t reasonably expect in introducing the malicious German Prince, Joachim (Plemons). His goal is to also seize what Lily wants, but she procures an essential piece of the puzzle mere moments before he does. After that, his tactics to obtain the item get a bit outlandish, to say the least. Through it all, Plemons never disappoints.
“Jungle Cruise” has a similar feel to “Indiana Jones,” while at the same time, Frank and Lily have a Han and Leia type back and forth. Neither of which is a bad thing. It’s entertaining for the kids and anyone who can decide not to take it too seriously. It’s not nearly as good, but a delight nonetheless. You’ll tire of the nicknames, you’ve heard Franks jokes before, but overall, the movie is festive. It’s amusing, sweet, and even allows a moment for support of the LGBTQ community. It’s hard not to appreciate a film this spirited. If you’re taking the family, see it on the big screen for the colors and the excitement. You’ll get more out of it at the theater.
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Story by: John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Written by: Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti
Run Time: 2h 7min
Genres: Comedy, Adventure, Action