By: Amanda Guarragi
Do you remember watching your first adventure film? Do you remember the feeling you had when a fun, illogical action sequence came on screen? Whether it was your first time watching The Mummy, Indiana Jones, or Pirates of the Caribbean, there was a giant smile on your face because you were pulled out of your seat, and brought into the adventure. Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise is a breath of fresh air from Disney. It’s actually incredible how they created a fun, interesting story, based on a theme park ride. Does it feel like a mixture of the three films I stated above? Definitely. Even though the story is a bit jumbled, it is all about the feeling you have while watching this movie. It really does make you feel like a kid again.
No matter how old you are, we all want to feel that rush of adrenaline from time to time. It has been a while since an original, non-franchise film, made me beam with pure happiness. The adventure begins with Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), who enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper, named Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to take her down the Amazon in his ramshackle boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal — a discovery that will change the future of medicine. We are taken to 20th century London, when things were a bit old fashioned. This would have been a totally different movie without the electric chemistry between Johnson and Blunt.
Collet-Sierra gave us a grand scale action adventure, with plenty of laughs (dad jokes specifically), and some soft emotional moments. The first half is a bit slow, but once they pulled out of the marina, it was smooth sailing. What I really enjoyed was that they took the audience on a ‘Jungle Cruise’ with Frank Wolff, just to refresh everyone’s memory of the actual theme park ride. Wolff gave everyone a little history of the river, and the mythical legends surrounding the jungle. As expected, those myths are real, and our adventurers must face certain obstacles on their journey. The action scenes were executed well and more importantly, they were fun to watch. The production design, costumes, and score all tied together nicely to authentically bring the audience back to that era as well.
Jungle Cruise brings you back to earlier adventure films, we all know and love. It is refreshing, inventive, and beyond entertaining. Between Dwayne Johnson’s charm and Emily Blunt’s spirited nature, this will hold a special place in your heart. Not only are they the glue that holds this together, but the supporting cast consisting of Jesse Plemons, Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramirez, and Paul Giamatti, all add so much the adventure. The only issue with the film is the CGI. There were great practical effects but the VFX fell short at times. It is a whole lot of fun, so please buy one ticket to the ‘Jungle Cruise’, strap in, and enjoy the journey up river, because you’re in for a fantastical ride.