Director of the film Jungle Cruise: Jaume Collet Serra
Jungle Cruise Movie Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Édgar Ramírez, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti
Jungle Cruise movie rating: 2.5 stars
The Amazon basin, thanks to millions of square kilometers of tropical forest, has long been a source of fascination for literati and storytellers. Stories about hidden ancient cities, fantastic figures and creatures like dinosaurs who apparently survived mass extinction have also drawn adventurers, who have often disappeared without a trace in this “green hell”.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise, inspired by the theme park of the same name, takes a quintessentially family-friendly approach. It’s a fantasy adventure story involving conquistadors, adventurers, ancient curses, and flowers with magical healing abilities.
With Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, the story follows Blunt botanist Dr Lily Houghton on a trip to Brazil with her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall). They hire Johnson’s steamboat captain Frank Wolff to search for the mythical tree of life.
Jungle Cruise may seem like a cynical attempt by the studio to turn another theme park into a billion dollar franchise after Pirates of the Caribbean – and it probably is – but it’s also a family movie. and fun that the Disney brand is known for.
The script would not earn any points for originality. There are too many similarities to The Curse of the Black Pearl for one. But it’s funny, with well-written characters, and despite a little over two hours, it’s going at a steady pace.
Johnson does the job as the typical valet protagonist at first glance but kindheartedly who populates such stories. But the real star has to be Blunt. The character is well written, and she brings a lot of heart and humor to the role. To the writers’ credit, they give Lily a lot, which isn’t always the case with female characters in similar films.
Even Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann, who was then seen as a radical change for a female protagonist in a film set in the early 18th century, doesn’t seem so progressive in hindsight from Lily.
Whitehall, who rose to fame after directing the cast of UK sitcom Fresh Meat, is, as you might expect, awesome here. The villainous Prince Joachim, played by Jesse Plemons, is cartoonish, but in an entertaining way. It all works because Jungle Cruise doesn’t take itself too seriously.
That’s it. Jungle Cruise is by no means a perfect movie. It has a few flaws which prevent me from giving an unqualified recommendation. But it’s a fun, campy movie you can enjoy with the family, and an entertaining throwback to adventure films from the ’80s and’ 90s.