Jungle Cruise: Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
SYNOPSIS: Dr. Lily Houghton enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff to take her down the Amazon in his dilapidated boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal – a discovery that will change the future of medicine.
This has to be the absolute surprise of the summer. Yes, you heard me right. In a summer full of disappointments (Snake Eyes and F9 I’m looking at you) we finally get a film that actually exceeds expectations. I walked into this knowing only what the trailers showed us and what my many rides on the popular Disneyland attraction had taught me, so safe to say I was cautiously optimistic. Coupling that with the castings of Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, to say I was intrigued would be an understatement.
In the least surprising revelation of the film, Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson have incredible chemistry, their dynamic brings as much charisma as the Rock in all of his films combined. Safe to say they were both fantastic, acting as the emotional backbone of our story, in two different ways. But it goes beyond them, the support cast is also fantastic adding nice little additions to this larger than life story. The writing has its flaws, but the world-building and mythology shine through, giving us glimpses of the days of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. You can truly feel like you’re immersed in this world just because of that.
The action here is really awesome. Harkening back to the classic Pirates and Indiana Jones type feels. Classic adventure action at it’s finest. The CGI is a little overboard at times but it works just enough to have made me thoroughly enjoy what was on screen. The most unexpected thing for me coming out of this film was how much emotion there was. I was expecting a basic adventure film that relied on myths, traps and stereotypical action but instead, we are given a story with depth, both for Blunt’s character as well as the Rock. I appreciated the character driven approach that made the action and adventure more meaningful. But on top of that, it also has the charm and humor of the classic ride. I loved that touch.
Now the film isn’t perfect. As stated before, the CGI is very in your face and at times incredibly wonky and noticeable. I can give it a pass for some instances, but in others, it is a bit much. The writing also isn’t perfect relying heavily on classic action tropes to the point that it seems laughable at times. There are also heavy plot conveniences throughout that are far from believable, but I can forgive it just a bit for that. The pace for the majority of the film is fine, but there are moments of lag that left me checking my watch but again, nothing too terrible to write home about.
FINAL: Jungle Cruise is an action packed adventure film that brings you back to the days of classic Disney adventure. The chemistry between our lead performers is electric, the world building and mythology is spot on and the emotion is unexpected but very welcome. Besides some wonky and unwelcome CGI, a few plot holes and moments of lag, this is a blast of a time that the whole film will love again and again. Classic Disney at it’s finest and the biggest surprise of the summer.
15 for Entertainment 13
15 for Performances 15
15 for Writing 12
10 for Direction 8
10 for Emotions 8
10 for Cinematography 8
5 for Sound 4
5 for Score 4
5 for Pacing 4
5 for Rewatchability 5
5 pts Automatic 5
Jungle Cruise: 86/100