Review: Jungle Cruise

JUNGLE CRUISE (2021)

Disney dips into the theme park well and produces an exhilarating summer event film that combines the fun of The Mummy and the adventure of Indiana Jones in an outing that is sure to please all ages in Jungle Cruise.

In search of an ancient tree that has the power to heal anyone and change medicine forever, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) heads to the Amazon and enlists a skipper (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) for what turns out to be a dangerous journey at every turn. Quite frankly, Blunt and Johnson have the best chemistry of any leading duo in recent memory, their quips and banter engaging and entertaining from start to finish. Seriously, it’s off-the-charts good. They’re supported by the unexpectedly delightful Jack Whitehall as Lily’s brother (and FIRST MAJOR GAY DISNEY CHARACTER… FINALLY!) and Jesse Plemons as Prince Joachim, the latter of which flexes his villainous muscles here and seems to be having a blast doing it. Edgar Ramirez rounds out the cast, though is not utilized nearly as much as he could have been, and Paul Giamatti is peppered in with a humorous turn, though with a questionable accent.

The team of writers here concocted a story that screams Disney and is reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean, utilizing legend and unexpected plot twists, as well as nods to the ride the film is based on. It results in a well-crafted, riveting escapade carried on the capable shoulders of a stellar cast. Though the film could have been slimmed down in a few areas and the CGI work leaves more to be desired, Jungle Cruise is a riverboat joyride from start to finish, amplified by a soundtrack that rises to the occasion in every scene.

I can’t help thinking about Emily Blunt’s Lily as Disney’s new Indiana Jones-esque character; the possibilities are endless in terms of where the next film (or films) could go. I, for one, will be ready for the trip.

Jungle Cruise hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access this Friday.

Rating: 4/5

Photo from USA Today

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