Disney continues its tradition of making films out of their most iconic amusement rides. This time, the Jungle Cruise. Unlike Pirates of the Caribbean or even the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise doesn’t exactly have much of a story behind the attraction. It’s more of a sight seeing tour you take your kids on and life at the captain’s bad dad jokes.
The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from screenplay written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Michael Green, based on Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti, and follows the captain of a small riverboat who takes a group of travelers through a jungle in search of the Tree of Life.
Dwayne Johnson really puts this film on his back and carries it with all the charm and hilariously bad ship jokes he can muster. A lot of the ride’s sight seeing adventure is incorporated into the film but the film ultimately gets weighed down by a wonky German villain and CGI cast off villains from the last Pirates of the Caribbean film. I applaud them for trying to add a story that wasn’t there but the film spends too much time going through exposition dumps of explaining and telling the audience what is happening.
And yes, that IS Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” heard throughout the film. Metallica re-recorded the blockbuster power ballad for the film. The band teamed up with film composer James Newton Howard (News of the World, Maleficent), who dreamt up a new orchestral arrangement of the song as an instrumental; the group then recorded their parts for the tune, which will appear twice in the newly released film. Oddly, it kind of worked.
What didn’t work was Emily Blunt. Blunt felt really miscast here. I understand she is a name and a great actress but she has ZERO chemistry with Johnson and felt really out of place here. Jack Whitehall also kind of didn’t fit here as well. His one joke, character defining diva antics are just there so Disney can shove in a token Gay character. Note to Disney, if you can’t represent an LGBTQA person any better than that then just don’t.
Overall, despite running a little long, Disney’s Jungle Cruise is a fun family adventure that steers on the generic side but is still a fun film while you wait for better movies to come out. Hey, I guess it really is like the ride. Because the only reason why you go on the Jungle Cruise anyways is because you are just waiting to go on the better rides at Disneyland.
Jungle Cruise is fun generic adventure film.