‘Jungle Cruise’ Review — All Aboard for a Fun Adventure

GameStop, Inc.

Jungle Cruise ReviewI wouldn’t blame anyone for being cynical towards a movie based upon a Disneyland ride. Of course, we should always be wary of corporate synergy. That being said, the Mouse House has a track record of defeating the cynics, and no better example exists than the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. All it took was a solid script and an energetic director and a smash hit was born. Eventually, as happens, Disney eventually warranted that cynicism with needless and ineffectual sequels, but you still can’t deny that magic from the first Pirates film. Amazingly, it seems as if Disney has turned yet another famous theme park ride into a genuinely entertaining piece of pulpy pop culture with Jungle Cruise. Once again, the combination of charismatic movie stars, an energetic director, and a script that leans into genre, Jungle Cruise provides a pulpy adventure that delights and entertains throughout. I mean, even a harden cynic like myself couldn’t help but be charmed by Jungle Cruise.

Jungle Cruise follows a rather simple and straightforward plot. In 1916, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) has gotten in her possession an artifact that will guide her to the mythical Tree of Life hidden deep within the jungle of Peru. The Tree of Life possesses immense healing powers and has the potential to end disease on the planet. However, Lily and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) are being chased by the resourceful and determined Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) who will stop at nothing to achieve his demented goals.

In Peru, Lily and MacGregor seek out a guide to lead them on their treacherous journey through the jungle and they find their guide in Frank Wolff (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), a hard-drinking grifter who uses his knowledge and connections to take gullible tourists on trips teeming with “danger.” Early on, there’s a rather clever sequence that plays out like a nice little homage to the famed ride at Disneyland. As Frank leads Lily deeper into the jungle, old secrets are exhumed along with ancient artifacts.

Jungle Cruise doesn’t hide the many influences that its pulling from, and that’s a key part of the charm. Director Jaume Collet-Serra is lifting from a variety of influences, a dash of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a sprinkling of The African Queen, and just a pinch of Romancing the Stone. And the film mostly pulls it off. The script, credited to five separate writers, keeps the plot rather simple and leaves its talented cast plenty of room to bring their charisma to these characters.

The key to Jungle Cruise’s success is the film’s cast. There’s palpable chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, the former using his immense charisma as a comic grifter and the latter as a determined woman undeterred by the rampant sexism of the era. Jack Whitehall’s MacGregor plays as comic relief, a dainty fop used to the finer things forced to live amidst the bugs and creatures in the humid jungle. There’s a scene where MacGregor discusses his homosexuality, but true to Disney’s recent track record on LGTBQ representation its more a bit of lip service than a trailblazing moment of queer representation. Jesse Plemons is having a blast as the film’s Germanic villain. Plemons has always been a captivating presence on the screen, but the actor’s joyous performance is infectious. He chews the scenery as he channels the mannerisms of Werner Herzog – and that isn’t the only reference to Herzog as the film’s main conquistador is named Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez), a nice nod to Herzog’s classic film of the violent conquistadors, Aguirre, The Wrath of God. In a brief role, Paul Giamatti also brings forth a wild comedic energy as Nilo, the Italian businessman whom Frank is in debt to.

Because the film is filled with charismatic actors having fun, the little problems like its rather generic-looking CGI are easily brushed aside. Even Frank’s pet cheetah looks as fake as fake could be, and yet the animators still gave the digital creature enough of a personality that its artificial façade isn’t a negative.

What’s most surprising about Jungle Cruise is the way in which the story is rather explicit in its depiction of the conquistadors, not painting them as noble explorers but as brutal raiders. It’s a tricky balance the film strikes between being unflinching in its portrayal of the conquistadors ghastly violence and making a family adventure film.

For a movie based on a theme park ride, Jungle Cruise is about as good as it can get. It’s a fun adventure film. It doesn’t break any new ground. It’s not something I feel a need to watch again. But for two hours I had fun in the presence of Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, and the madman Jesse Plemons. It’s a deft blend of adventure and humor. And there’s even a hippopotamus.

Jungle Cruise
  • Overall Score
3.5

Summary

Jungle Cruise defeats the cynics with its exceedingly charming cast in a throwback adventures that blends real world heroism with supernatural insanity.

Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

FanboyNation
Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘Skywalkers’ Takes Love to New Heights on Netflix – Spoiler Free Review

‘Skywalkers: A Love Story‘ Takes Love to New Heights while Scaling...

‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three’ – Leaves us Wanting More! – Spoiler Free Review

‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three‘ is a...

‘Lumina’ is a Incredible First for Debuting Director, Gino McKoy – Review

‘Lumina‘ is an incredible concept and an exceptional first run for...

Event News Event Reviews
The ‘California Dreams’ Band Reunite on The Sunset Strip For a Night of 90s Nostalgia – Concert Review

Don’t Wake Me Up if I’m Dreaming, The ‘California Dreams‘ Band...

Jay Anthony Franke Talks California Dreams Reunion Concert in LA – Interview

Jay Anthony Franke Talks About The ‘California Dreams‘ Reunion Concert in...

‘An Inspector Calls’ Challenges the Morals of the Bourgeois – Review

‘An Inspector Calls‘ Challenges the Morals and Ethics of the Bourgeois...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Derek Gumin Talks Planet 13 and UFC 303 Meet and Greets – Interview

Director of Wholesale Accounts at Planet 13, Derek Gumin spoke about...

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, nearing the end of the 3rd act.

What IS that big dust cloud on the horizon?

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, Endgame

Mhuhahahahahahahah!

Fantoy Comics Presents: A 4th of July Message!

Seriously, America, THIS crap?!?!?

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus
MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Billy Eddy Talks His new Book ‘Our New World of Adult Bullies’ – Interview

Lawyer, Mediator and Personality Expert Bill Eddy Provides a Six-Step Strategy...

Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...