After the success of the Pirates of the Caribean movie franchise, it’s not shocking that Disney has decided to make another movie based on one of their rides – Jungle Cruise. The ride is filled with fun adventure moments and effects that only Imagineering could pull off – and it is perfect for bringing the story to the screen.
But has Disney struck gold with Jungle Cruise like they did with the Pirates franchise? It looks like it. We were able to screen the movie last night before it hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on the 30th. The film follows Frank and Lily as they go on an adventure through the Amazon to find the Moon Flower petals (both for their own reasons) and the adventures and battles they endure along the way.
There’s a special charm and dynamic that is created by Frank (Dwayne Johnson) and Lily (Emily Blunt) as they make their way through the jungle. Despite it being in the early 1900’s, Lily is an educated woman (a doctor even), and up for an adventure. She doesn’t take flack from anyone, and is willing to fight when it is needed. While a woman getting an education isn’t completely unheard of at the time, her other skills combined with it may be. There is little to no context for her fighting ability or anything else. But even with that, it is nice to see a strong woman in a period piece that doesn’t involve corsets and being overly educated for her time. These skills, Lily’s tenacity and all of that is what put Frank’s sketchy business tactics and survival skills. His corny humor and her strong personality pair well – and even if it leads to a decision that leads to a bit of an eyeroll towards to the end of the film.
Bravo to Disney for having for a moment where a character comes out to another and it’s normalized, not shamed. This simple exchange isn’t made a big deal, neither is the weight of what the character is saying despite it being a bigger issue at that time in history. Instead, the moment is had, passes and the story goes on.
Another thing different about Jungle Cruise is the fact that the soundtrack has one song.. just one that is credited. A stylized version of Run Through the Jungle by Creedence Clearwater Revival. You will hear the song and the rock music mixed with more period music in the opening and a couple of other parts of the film.
Jungle Cruise basically starts like what you would experience if you were riding the ride at the Parks. But it takes you further in the jungle than you could expect. It also takes special care to not demonize or exploit the aboriginal and native characters and cultures they display in the film. Fixing one thing that the ride did wrong for so many years.
Sure is Jungle Cruise cheesy? Absolutely at points. I’m not quite sure of a movie we’ve watched that has had so many one-liners in a movie for the intentional groan. But Jungle Cruise has a charm and fun to the movie overall that will attract viewers of all ages. There is only one curse word in the film, but it is in German, and the battle scenes are not gory although could be potentially scary for younger viewers.
The action, the fun and everything reminds you of watching a mix of The Mummy, Pirates of the Caribbean and a little bit of National Treasure tossed in. It’s a fun movie for fans of the ride, but also will be a fun adventure even if you don’t know what it’s based on. It seems that Disney has brought the charm of their ride to the screen again, and it absolutely seems like there could be a sequel down the line as well. JUNGLE CRUISE In Theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access July 30
About JUNGLE CRUISE
Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.