MOVIE REVIEWS

Review: Chemistry Of Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson Keeps Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ Movie From Sinking

Jul 30, 2021, 9:53 AM | Updated: 3:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland has been a fan favorite since it first opened in 1955. It was so popular there that it’s at all the other Disney parks in the world except Disneyland Paris.

Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE in theaters and on Disney+ Premier starting July 30, 2021. (Disney)

The new “Jungle Cruise” movie from Walt Disney Pictures was (obviously) inspired by the ride.  But how do you turn a five-to-10 minute theme park ride into a full-length feature film?  Well, similar to “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you throw in a whole bunch of extra stuff and hope it works.

“Jungle Cruise” is set in 1916. Determined researcher Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) believes the legends of a mystical plant located somewhere in the Amazon jungles. So she heads to Brazil with her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) and enlists the help of wisecracking riverboat skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson).

The Houghtons need Wolff and his rickety old boat to guide them through all the dangers the river has in store for them, which includes a German prince in a U-boat (Jesse Plemons) and some undead conquistadores who are all searching for the same plant.

For me, the strongest part of this film was its two leads. I thought Blunt & Johnson had palpable chemistry (that jokingly made me a little worried for Blunt’s real-life husband John Krasinski).

Johnson gets to drop most of the bad puns that the Jungle Cruise amusement park ride is famous for. There are also some unexpected twists.

Blunt looks a natural as a female Indiana Jones-type character. Some of the action and chases are ridiculous but mostly fun ridiculous.

But I had a lot of problems with the movie as well. Though at times it seemed like “Jungle Cruise” was aimed at young kids, there was imagery and violence that was way too grown up for them. There were also too many villains.

I’ve never ridden Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, so I didn’t catch any of the Easter eggs from the ride that director Jaume Collett-Serra put in the movie. But my friends who are big fans of Disney parks noticed and loved it.

Ultimately, what you think of the movie may depend on what you think of the ride at the Disney parks.

If you want to see “Jungle Cruise,” it’s playing both in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier. If you want to wait it out for the movie to come to the free part of Disney+, that won’t happen until Nov. 12.

Interested in seeing this movie?  Watch the video at the top of the page for my full, in-depth review, age recommendations & final rating.

(L-R) Jack Whitehall as MacGregor, Emily Blunt as Lily and Dwayne Johnson as Frank in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE.
Photo by Frank Masi (c) 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Scene from Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE.  Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra on the set of Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE.  Dwayne Johnson is Frank Wolff in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE. Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier starting July 30, 2021

 


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth is the movie and pop culture guy for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out some of his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

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Review: Chemistry Of Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson Keeps Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ Movie From Sinking