REVIEW: “JUNGLE CRUISE” (2021) Disney Studios

I was probably 4 years old when I was first taken to Disneyland. I can’t remember my exact age, but I do know I was very young and my parents took me on the Jungle Cruise ride – and I freaked out and started screaming and crying. Because yes, I thought it was real and I remember so well the big hippo opening his mouth right where I was sitting in the boat and I thought I was going to be eaten, and basically thought lions, tigers and bears were all after me. I cried so hard and was so terrified, that I never went on that ride again until I was a teen – possibly even older! Needless to say, there was no crying watching this version of Disney’s “JUNGLE CRUISE”, only laughter as it is definitely not that ride and a much different story to boot.

This adventure begins with Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), who hires a wisecracking skipper, named Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), to take her down the Amazon in his ramshackle boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree whose petals hold the power to heal all — a discovery that will change the future of medicine. Along for the ride Lily’s posh, upper-crest brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), who doesn’t clearly belong anywhere in a jungle, but succeeds in stealing a lot of his scenes with his over-the-top persnickety ways, most particularly his interactions with Frank’s pet leopard whom they have on board the cruise. The CGI might have been a bit lacking on the leopard, but Whitehall makes it funny so it’s very easy to overlook.

(L-R): Dwayne Johnson as Frank Wolff, Emily Blunt as Lily Houghton and Jack Whitehall as MacGregor Houghton in Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While ‘Jungle Cruise’ could have just been a simple escapade through the jungle with some good action and laughs thrown in, we do get some long drawn out sections with Johnson’s character Frank explaining a bit of a convoluted backstory of the special flower, and the enhanced version of the long dead enchanted conquistadors of his time. Kids especially, might get a bit lost here as let’s face it, they just want the lions, tigers and fun action aspects of his character that help endear Frank to us more. Director Jaume Collet-Serra gives us a big scale action adventure here with plenty of laughs thanks to Johnson giving us some of his best cheesy humour with one-liner awful, terrible jokes that are so bad they are absolutely downright funny. It’s perfectly done and no one in this film takes it all to seriously and that is possibly it’s biggest highlight except for the fact that the biggest thing that upstages them is the absolute wonderful, electric chemistry between Blunt and Johnson. This would have been a totally different movie without that as together they are an unbeatable team here and yes, the glue that holds this film together. But the supporting cast consisting of Jesse Plemons, and again, Jack Whitehall with his witty-ness, Edgar Ramirez, and Paul Giamatti, all add to the adventure as well and round it all up.

So my advice is no crying – and get your ticket for the fantastical journey that is – Jungle Cruise.

Grade: B-

Follow me on twitter: @pegsatthemovies or Instagram: Peggyatthemovies

Review Screening: Monday, July 26, 2021 at El Capitan Theater ~ Courtesy of Disney Studios


5 thoughts on “REVIEW: “JUNGLE CRUISE” (2021) Disney Studios”

  1. Hey Peggy! I’ve never actually ridden Jungle Cruise before though I went to Disneyland several times and the first time in my late teens. I’d imagine the ride would be scary for a 4 year old! I think the movie can be quite scary for young kids, I just finished my review to post tomorrow. I LOVE Jesse Plemons in this, soooo funny! I’ve never seen him before this one though I know he’s in a lot of popular shows, but he definitely is memorable here.

    1. Oh you are fortunate. hahahahha it’s like sometimes I wonder if my memory of it is mine or just of what my parents told me happened. But I know I definitely remember the hippo and the tribe people when they rushed out of the jungle. Even when I went back on the ride as a teen – it had been changed because I’m guessing I wasn’t the only terrified child. It’s like the JAWS shark at Universal used to scare kids so badly that they had to scale it back some. I think it was kinda the same thing. Jesse Plemons has been on my radar since Breaking Bad, always enjoy him. Paul Giamatti was the only meh part of the casting for me. I will definitely check out your review. I’ve not been feeling so hot lately with the long haul Covid ickiness so I’m a bit behind..but I will get it back together.. 🙂

  2. Loved this, thanks! Looking forward to seeing it soon. From what you say, sounds a little bit like Brendan Fraser (man+ for hire), Rachel Weisz (academic in pursuit of matters academic) and John Hannah (stiff upper and lower lip & tongue very much in Brit cheek) in The Mummy (1999). A lot of The Mummy’s success (as a first movie rather than franchise) hinged on these three characters: Weisz taking herself and her academic pursuits seriously, Fraser taking her seriously and Hannah (also seriously) trying to keep a lid on the wretched coffin.

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