Friday, July 30, 2021

Jungle Cruise Review: A Fun Trip With The Rock and Emily Blunt

Release date: July 30, 2021
Running time: 127 minutes
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.

Welp, Disney did it again.  They took a property that had no right to become a movie and made it into a high action, enjoyable adventure.  And it should be no surprise with this cast, which provided most of the entertainment in this wild ride.  Emily Blunt can do no wrong in my eyes; she is funny, strong willed, determined, and just fantastic to watch.  And next to her is another actor that can pretty much do no wrong (Fast and Furious beef aside), and he brings his characteristic muscles, charm, and comedy to this river cruise.  The two of them are fun to see on screen and I really loved the chemistry they had.  And Disney also did what they did in Cruella, have another prominent gay character.  But in this film, he is a main character and he actually says that he was disowned by his family because of who he loved.  It is another step for the house of mouse, and although I didn't love that they made him a foppish caricature for the most part, I do like that he was prominently featured and that his sexuality did come up as a conversation topic.

And aside from the great characters, the story of Jungle Cruise is a wild ride.  It takes some of what you love about the ride and throws it into the film.  There are many references to the iconic Disney ride and anyone who has been on it will be laughing out loud.  In fact, the film is very funny and will definitely bring a smile to your face.  There is so much spectacularly cringe-worthy humor on top of just general funny chemistry between the characters.  And when it is not being funny, it has some pretty intense action.  Just remember that this film, despite being Disney, is PG-13.  The movie has more violence and death than you would expect from your typical Disney adventure, and this is because this is geared towards a PG-13 market.  I definitely like this split that Disney has been doing, with some more adult focused films for their PG-13 crowd.

Now, Jungle Cruise bolted on a story to a ride that didn't really have one, and that leads to an exciting adventure, but one that makes little sense.  The story has all sorts of strange elements that don't quite fit together.  Additionally, the movie has a strong Pirates of the Caribbean feel to it.  That can be good, like in the humor, the focus on the underlying ride, and the great action.  But it also has some drawbacks, like the antagonists and the overall adventure being overly complicated.  But don't worry too much; just like the Jungle Cruise ride, sit back and enjoy it.

Jungle Cruise uses great chemistry between the leads, enjoyable characters, and an action-comedic take on the beloved ride that makes it easy to sit back and enjoy the adventure.

Watch it.

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Jungle Cruise is in theaters and on Disney+ premiere access on July 30, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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