It's a bumpy joyride that will make you seasick with major déjà vu moments.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt embark on an adventure of a lifetime on Disney's Jungle Cruise. It's a thrill ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr Lily Houghton. She travels from London to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank's questionable services to guide her downriver on his ramshackle but charming boat named La Quila.
Dr Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities and possessing the power to change the future of medicine. On this epic adventure together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, amid the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest.
The first impression of Jungle Cruise goes from remembering the iconic Disneyland ride to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in no time. Not cluttered with an ensemble star cast as are most Disney movies, the adventure-fantasy film entirely rides on the lead actors Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. However, it seems more like Scorpion King meets Mary Poppins, going on a bumpy ride against the Stranger Tides in search of Lágrimas de Cristal tree (something like the fountain of youth) which will help in making medicines for incurable diseases. Thus, lacking much originality.
Jungle Cruise has unnecessary plot points which kill the intentional screenplay that was 'meant' for making it an entertaining watch. Although high on visions and executions there's not much the film has to offer other than captivating special effects. But then, it's not something new which we have seen on screen over the years. The age-old 'let's go on an adventure' and fight against all odds is done and disintegrated.
Even the lead characters don't bring much to the table, all the more making the make-believe story less convincing per se. But the one who stands out is Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton who plays Emily's character Dr Lily Houghton's brother and her assistant. He is a delightful watch as maybe Disney's first openly gay character who talks about his interest lying 'elsewhere'.
Although Dwayne and Emily leave an impressive mark in the lead roles as Frank Wolff and Lily respectively, there are only a handful of sequences in which they stand out. Blunt packs a punch in a few chasing sequences which are engrossing but that only limits to the first half of the film. Meanwhile, The Rock is in his usual self and there's not much one can expect from him after watching him going overboard with the new Jumanji franchise, Fast & Furious films and others. His puns in the movies will crack you up and also make you scratch your head in many instances.
Another actor who makes for a good watch is Jesse Plemons as Prince Joachim who with his snobbish outlook and perfecto accent but with a villainous touch will leave you in splits instantly. But Édgar Ramírez as Spanish conquistador Aguirre is entirely hidden with a CGI-filled face making him a major buzzkill altogether.
The film addresses a lot of unlearning and breaking the norms which were done in a hush-hush way earlier. Firstly, about a gay man accepting his sexuality in the order to get disowned from his own family. A shunning away of a female scientist despite being the smartest than the order of the people who cringed on her name being mentioned. And finally, a bizarre one, women wearing 'pants'! Blunt's role is not the one that will bob a curtsy but will rightfully ask you questions for which she deserves an answer irrespective of gender.
Orphan director Jaume Collet-Serra went slightly beyond the horror genre and helmed a jungle adventure Jungle Cruise. However, he doesn't live up to the mark and it looks jerky most of the time. Joel Negron's editing gives a good edge to the cinematography by Flavio Labiano which will make you feel like you're on the Jungle Cruise enjoying or getting scared of the bumpy ride.
The film is a masala-filled flick which makes for a good watch during the viewing experience. If you are the one who relives a memory and has a withdrawal symptom, don't board this boat. You're good staying ashore or just book a ticket to the actual Jungle Cruise at Disneyland.
It's a bumpy joyride that is likely to make you seasick with major déjà vu moments from several bits and parts taken from the iconic Disney movies.