Jungle Cruise is a safe yet enjoyable film to watch with the family. It stars Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton and Dwayne Johnson as Captain Frank Wolf. Lily travels with her brother MacGregor (Jake Whitehall) to Brazil where she hopes to journey through the Amazon jungle with the help of the skipper Captain Frank Wolf in hopes of finding a magical ancient tree that has healing powers called the Tears of the Moon. Throughout their journey, they encounter nature, fantasy, adventure, and supernatural forces.
Jungle Cruise is loosely based on the ride in the Disney theme parks with the same title. This film however feels inspired by a mixture between Tarzan, King Kong, and Pirates of the Caribbean. It had elements from all three films from the adventure to the humor to the storyline. The more I watched it, the more familiar it felt from not only those three films but the elements that Disney brings to each of their live-action films from the soundtrack to the cinematography.
Going into the film I was weary of Johnson and Blunt’s chemistry. However, I was glad to be worried for nothing because they did a great job as co-stars. Blunt’s Lily Houghton is charismatic and adventurous. It’s the type of female lead you have seen before but Blunt brings a bit more spice to it and so you can’t help but love this character more and more. Especially when this film takes place during a time where women were rarely seen as that. Dwayne Johnson as the skipper felt like it could not have been anyone more suited for the role to bring this character more excitement and interest.
What I expected from this film was a lot of predictable storytelling and stereotypical characters. While it doesn’t exactly shy away from that, it certainly does come off as a little unique for a film of this caliber. There’s a little more to these characters than what we think and the story goes a little deeper than you’d expect too. However, it doesn’t take away from its overpowering predictable turns. It is a Disney movie, however, so it was going to have these limitations from the start.
My biggest problem with Jungle Cruise is the antagonist. Long story short? Snoozeville. Been there, seen it before. This type of villain is way overdone and it gets boring when you can predict when they will show up. I wanted to see an antagonist that could outsmart the protagonist in a way that surprised the audience.
Overall, Jungle Cruise works well enough as a family-oriented adventure. It has everything you need for a family to enjoy. From the humor to the action, everyone can enjoy this film. Johnson and Blunt’s chemistry on screen together is also a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, to keep this movie entertaining enough for everyone including children, it missed the mark on being a truly unique film that could’ve had a storyline with more depth and no predictable turns. – Jacqueline Lainez
Jungle Cruise is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.