There's something nostalgic about watching adventure movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean," "The Mummy" or "Indiana Jones." If viewers watch Disney's "Jungle Cruise," they'll get an unexpected throwback adventure long overdue to hit movie theaters.
The film, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra ("Orphan" director), is based on Disneyland's theme park ride in Adventureland in which a small riverboat takes travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous wild – animatronic – creatures. But the creators added a supernatural twist to the story, and plenty of other surprises to come.
Disney's Jungle Cruise | Official Trailer www.youtube.com
During World War I, scientist and explorer Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) is searching for a magical tree that produces flowers with the power to cure illness and change humanity. It's long-sought after for hundreds of years by ruthless conquistadors like Captain Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez), but Lily is determined to prove that the legend is true.
According to an antique map, she needs a skipper with a boat to take her and her stylish brother Macgregor (Jack Whitehall) along the Amazon River. Enter a charismatic skipper named Frank (Dwayne Johnson) who leads cruises with plenty of jokes with little production. The pair butt heads throughout the trip, but with Prince Joachim – a wealthy European commander (Jesse Plemmons) – on their tail, the trio embark on a dangerous and thrilling adventure.
Each actor shines and carries the movie on their own. But the chemistry between Johnson and Blunt is entertaining. This is a celebrity pairing audiences didn't know they wanted until now. Their presence is playful when they butt heads and Frank calls Lily by her nickname "Pants," yet their interactions are laced with passion and care for one another when plots bring higher stakes.
Additional elements like music from composer James Newton Howard, to the visual effects are well-done, bringing magic to the film and immersing audiences in the world. The screenplay, written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, is a love letter to classic adventure films and the Jungle Cruise theme park ride because it's littered with over-the-top scenes and silly puns. There are also plenty of surprises, one of which is questionable at the end, that viewers aren't ready for. That's as far as descriptions go without ruining the experience.
As amazing as this movie is, it's curious that the film still includes some nods to the tribal elements from the ride like Trader Sam. The ride reopened in July 2021 after undergoing major updates to remove insensitive tribal references and add more cultural awareness, since the ride has been a staple in Disneyland since 1955.
Whether viewers are watching "Jungle Cruise" on Disney+ or in theaters, it's a fun adventure for the whole family and Disney fans alike.
"Jungle Cruise" premieres in theaters and on Disney+ with premier access on Friday, July 30.
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