Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Available On: Theatrical Release
What’s Good: It’s The Rock boasting his strength on mere mortals in a rainforest, seen it before & it’s still entertaining!
What’s Bad: It takes you on a ride you’ve already been before, though in parts, in multiple of other treasure-hunt films
Loo Break: It’s a jungle out there, though you won’t need it
Watch or Not?: Only if you’ve seen previous ‘Rock in a jungle’ films and have liked some of them
Starting with a flashback of 1556, we see Don Aguirre (Édgar Ramírez), a Spanish conquistador with this troop trying to reach to the Lágrimas de Cristal tree. A petal of this tree is believed to cure all the diseases and lift every curse, hence is wanted by Aguirre to save his ill daughter. Things don’t go well and they get trapped as a curse that never allows them to leave the sight of the Amazon river.
Cut to 450 years later, we see Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) escaping with a recently acquired artefact, which could back her years of research to prove Lágrimas de Cristal’s petals could be life-saving. She takes help from a mountain of bad jokes in a cruise ride skipper/adventurer Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson). In a ‘you see it from miles’ twist, he also is looking for the same tree paving the way for Lily to the end because how else would they fall in love?
Jungle Cruise Movie Review: Script Analysis
So, soon after remaking almost every of its own film/cartoon, Disney decided to take a different route this time by making a movie on its theme-park ride ‘Jungle Cruise’. Many of you must’ve already been on it (guessing, that’s why you’re here or it’s because IFFFFFFF YOU SMELLLLL… yea, you got it), but for those of you who haven’t, it’s basically a zoo on the water but with not the real animals/birds. You get on a boat, listen to the skipper’s lame punny jokes and see some (not real) animals lazing around for a few minutes.
It’s pretty much the same happening here but it’s for over two hours. The above, of course, is a hyperbolic statement but as the real Jungle Cruise gives you a ride around lifeless animals and this one’s story (by John Norville, Josh Goldstein, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa) also passes away without justifying the grand scale, awe-inspiring visuals. This could be a perfect ‘idle snack munching’ watch for many, but I’ve been through enough jungle rides to recommend this one.
Jungle Cruise Movie Review: Star Performance
Starting with our leading man’s analysis in his character in Frank’s style – ‘The Rock’ Dwayne Johnson’s puns are bother’some’ (because only some of them are bothering, some are even worst). Both are leads (Dwayne & Emily Blunt) are perfectly imperfect at the roles they’re playing. Why? They completely accomplish the things they’re hired for, individually. They both together lack the fire required to steam up the engine of this cruise.
It’s a tailor-made role for Dwayne Johnson as he has been this trailblazer of entertaining ‘jungle’ films & he is good at his part. The same goes for a very determined Emily Blunt, expressing a whole range of emotions without necessarily dressing up for the occasion & she’s stunning. But when they team up with Jack Whitehall playing Emily’s brother, it’s really hard to decide who actually are the real siblings of the three.
Édgar Ramírez as Aguirre is covered under a layer of VFXised tree-parts, snakes a whole lot of mess. He’s passable. Jesse Plemons as an evil German royal is a victim of a confused character sketch. He’s, at times, lamely funny (like asking a bee to help him navigate to the life-saving petal) and then there are times when he’s this ‘out for blood’ ‘no funny business’ kinda guy. Why wasn’t he used to be cray funny putting that burden on Johnson?
Jungle Cruise Movie Review: Direction, Music
Jaume Collet-Serra surprises with his polished attempt at such a visually majestic topic, after all, he’s known for scaring people off with his horror films. He gets back his chilly touch of designing panic around the plot in the second half of the film. He even lets his leads breathe in the air of love for some time by including a cute moment of Frank capturing Lily on her vintage camera. But, the story just restricts him to make this more than an ordinary jungle treasure hunt movie.
Let’s talk Metallica first because Disney makes the optimum use of Nothing Else Matters‘ redo by even backing its famous castle intro. James Newton Howard knows this space and hence can lift up even some of the dead scenes with its pumping orchestral music.
Jungle Cruise Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, this is a very predictable treasure hunt on the sea featuring a sluggish love story of two mismatched adults forced to fall in love, because why not?
Jungle Cruise Trailer
Jungle Cruise releases on 21st September, 2021.
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