Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Running Time: 127 mins
Jungle Cruise is an American film about a brother and sister who venture into the Amazon jungle alongside a hardy steamboat captain to uncover the mystery of the Tears of the Moon.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this movie, but I’m delighted to say that Jungle Cruise was a pleasant surprise. A run-of-the-mill Disney adventure it may be, but it’s a film full of energy and imagination, which makes it a really rather sweet and unavoidably enjoyable watch.
While the film certainly isn’t the greatest Disney adventure you’ll ever see, it does a lot with its simplistic premise, based on the Jungle Cruise right at Disneyland. With a good bit of fantasy and some great action thrown in, the film is a delightfully entertaining watch throughout, but mostly thanks to its leading performances.
I can’t say that Jungle Cruise has any particularly groundbreaking or riveting characters, but leads Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons and more really give their all with charismatic, likable and fun performances that make the movie go down really sweetly.
The chemistry between The Rock and Blunt is fantastic throughout, friendly enough not to need an element of romance, but strong enough that the inevitable love story is an absolute delight to see. Meanwhile, Whitehall and Plemons deliver great laughs as the comedic relief, further adding to the film’s light-hearted and fun-filled atmosphere.
With elements of The African Queen thrown in for its central relationship and action sequences, this is far more than a generic and lazy attempt at turning a theme park ride into a movie, but a well-written, imaginative and above all fun watch.
As ever with Disney, it’s clear that millions and millions have been thrown at the project, and while the film delights with its screenplay and performances, it’s fair to say that it goes a little overboard with the special effects.
While its sets and props are perfectly convincing, the movie is so full of CGI that it does come off as rather distracting, and loses the rustic quality of adventure films like The African Queen. Meanwhile, the visual design of the film’s main antagonists is more irritating than in any way frightening, and the final act is a little overblown in its use of CGI, dragging to the finish in less-than-spectacular fashion.
Other than that, however, I had a wonderful time with Jungle Cruise. A funny, lively and charismatic film with a dash of classic Disney adventure fare, the film is a really sweet watch that will put a big smile on your face throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5 overall.