‘Jungle Cruise’ is the latest fantasy adventure film from the House of Mouse based on the beloved Disneyland theme park of the same name which has been in existence for 66 years. The amusement ride sits in the Adventureland section of Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. Though each park in the various regions varies in terms of the actual routes followed, the setup is pretty much the same. Riders jump on a boat ride through various well-known rivers and watch some animatronic animals while a skipper hilariously narrates along the way.
However, in the film there is a supernatural twist added into it to make it more fun. ‘Jungle Cruise’ which hit theatres on July 24 stars action star Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson’ alongside British beauty Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall. Jesse Plemmons embodies the villain of the story which is helmed by Spanish director and producer Jaume Collett-Serra.
The story follows Blunt’s character the intrepid Dr. Lily Houghton and her presumably wimpy and funny brother McGreggor played by Whitehall on an adventure into the dangerous Amazon in search of a magical tree known as ‘The Tears of the Moon’ whose petals possesses the power to cure all disease and can greatly change the world of medicine. In order to retrieve this invaluable holy grail, the two enlist the help of a skipper named Frank played by Johnson who turns out to be an unkillable 400-year-old pack of walking muscles on their dangerous voyage which is constantly interrupted by the evil Prince Joachim a role by Jesse Plemons who is after the magical petals for his own selfish gains.
The movie starts quite beautifully giving the background on the quest if you may and stitches nicely taking the audience on a seamless ride. The meandering from a seemingly harmless adventure to full blown action sequences escaping torpedos and cursed nasty tree monster, a disgusting honey creature, a snake bodied baddie all these build up nicely into a thrilling climax.
The leads are pretty charming actors separately however in this flick they fail to romantically gel with each other especially because they are supposed to heal a broken heart so we would of course expect more onscreen chemistry though when you look at it, this being a family movie makes it child friendly, I guess. Fortunately, this gap is compensated for by the well written banters with tons of one liners which Blunt and Johnsson superbly and interestingly execute. Jesse Plemons is quite ridiculously funny with his presumed German accent however the role befits him as he is a master of playing despicable characters on screen which really comes out naturally nearly stealing the spotlight off the leads.
The story lacks originality and the CGI is a bit dicey especially with the jungle animals, however Jaume makes up for this with elegant editing, and great staging and execution of the fights and chase sequences. The buildings, costumes, the cars, the boats all depict the 1910s era, and the beautiful warm colors blend nicely with nature bringing forth a visually appealing and convincing piece of motion art.
It is pretty empowering to see the lead female star as this strong, focused and un waivered woman who is determined to bring good to the world and will risk everything including her own life to see the world healed compared to the extreme male villain who despite possessing all the fire power to maintain peace and help the world he is determined to destroy and conquer it for his own gratification. Also Dr. Lily is brave enough to embrace her femininity by dressing in clothes deemed uncontemporary by society during those times which is very admirable.
The filmmakers tried hard to stick as true to the actual aspects of the beloved riverboat amusement park as they could, complete with the waterways, the animals along the trip, the skipper, and his same old rugged jokes so it definitely isn’t so farfetched.
At the end of the day ‘Jungle Cruise’ is an interesting fun filled family feature which you can watch with your whole family regardless of age without creating some weirdly uncomfortable moments. It surely grabs and retains the attention of its intended audience throughout and definitely delivers the entertainment it was created for.