The reason to watch Jungle Cruise is the chemistry between Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson. If anything, they share the thrills and action. The two would make more great D&D characters in both skill and attitude. Johnson is the muscle with intimate knowledge of the landscape, and Blunt plays the resourceful thief with skilled hand-to-hand fighting acumen… and she wears pants.
I’ll say that in the second half of the film, Jungle Cruise heads into supernatural territory that feels an awful lot like Pirates of the Caribbean. The effects and cursed villains fell all too familiar. Again, it’s not bad, but it feels too closely tied to PotC.
The overall narrative moves briskly, and the CG-heavy action is good. All things being equal, I prefer Jungle Cruise over PotC. It keeps its main crew to three leads, meaning the cast is more manageable and given more to do. But this is not Indiana Jones. The story is precisely what you’d expect from a Disney live-action movie. The plot is convoluted, and the laws of physics are thrown out the window. But, again, what were you expecting?
“All things being equal, I prefer Jungle Cruise over PotC.”
Of course, Jungle Cruise has its obligatory nods to the attraction. Dwayne Johnson is in full Skipper mode, delivering bad jokes and horrible puns, yet to a crowd who is not game for his wordplay. I was dreading this scene the most as it’s too self-aware, but Johnson pulls from his WWE promo skills and nails the timing down perfectly. Like myself, fans of the Jungle Cruise will appreciate how this moment is incorporated into the film. Some of the jokes are brought into the story more organically, such as an expanded role for Trader Sam. Many jokes, I’m sure, are being saved for inevitable sequels.
Speaking of sequels, Lily’s distrust of Frank contrasted with his selfish desire to make money and live as a loner really works. Their relationship builds nicely to an expected Disney heartwarming ending. But, logically, it simply cannot and should not be replicated in subsequent sequels.
So, what’s next? Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn, Space Mountain… It’s A Small World? No matter what, the fact remains that Disney’s Jungle Cruise is just plain, good, not-to-be-taken-seriously fun. Great cast, emjoyable action, and beautiful CG landscapes, all makes for an excellent first outing for Walt Disney’s post-COVID slate.
"…Blunt plays Lily Houghton, a British scientist…who wears pants."