Rob Reviews "Jungle Cruise"
There are those that see the promotional material for Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” and think that the well may be starting to dry on them taking their attractions and making them films (remember that there WAS a “Country Bears” movie at one point). I mean, I get it: huge budget ($200 million), major stars (Dewayne Johnson, Emily Blunt), more visual effects than you can shake a divining rod at… however; the House of Mouse has shown us more often than not that they can take the themes of those attractions and make them into something we might not expect. And in my opinion, they did it here.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (who up to know has done mostly horror films, the TERRIBLE Liam Neeson vehicle “The Commuter,” and the upcoming “Black Adam” with Johnson), this story centers around Frank (Johnson), a cruise captain during the early years of World War I who takes tourists up and down the Amazon for a “unique” experience that has more than his share of problems. When Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) comes into his life looking for a mythical cave that hosts a flower that can cure any ailment, he is intrigued by the myth as well as the money she is willing to pay him. Along with her brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall), they set off on the adventure of a lifetime… and more.
Did this film need to clear the two hour mark by six minutes? Probably not; honestly, it could have been about twenty minutes shorter and no one would have been the wiser. Does that mean I did not enjoy it? Quite the contrary, my friend. I truly enjoyed this film. I would say that the truly best way to go into this is spoiler-free; the trailers that I have seen really don’t give away more than necessary so I think you may be cool there. But when I leave a film thinking I have watched equal parts “Indiana Jones,” “The Mummy,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” a dash of “The African Queen,” and even more Disney magic (with some great deep cuts for fans of the attraction itself), that is not a bad day at all. (Granted, I would REALLY like to know who the team is that is responsible for covering up Dewayne’s tattoos; those cats deserve an Oscar for that ALONE.)
Although I could see “Jungle Cruise” taking on more chapters, I also don’t feel like it was left open to do so if they really don’t want to. This stands alone without any threads to be shorn up, which we all know not to be the Disney way as of late so that was a nice breath of fresh air. Even though this will be available on the Disney+ Premiere access, this deserves to be seen on a movie theater screen. There were even a few moments that made myself and others believe that there is a 3-D version of this out there somewhere that would be a lot of fun to watch as well. Any type of premium format would be a good way to see this film, but beware that there are some subtle sub-plots that may cause some questions from the younger set. All in all, “Jungle Cruise” is a good time that can be had by all and one that could warrant multiple viewings and still be fun! Watch out for that hippo!