Jungle Cruise review: Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson take viewers on a wild ride

Jungle Cruise is yet another movie based on one of Disney’s theme park attractions. Just like in the ride of the same name, Lily (Emily Blunt) sails through the Amazon rainforest in search of a mystical treasure said to bring power and wealth beyond imagination. She is guided along this journey by Frank (Dwayne Johnson) – otherwise known as Skipper – a conman looking to make a quick buck. After a short Avengers-like introduction of each character, Frank, Lily and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall, more about him later) set off to find the Tears of the Moon.

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Jungle Cruise review: Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson take viewers on a wild ride

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There are a few problems along the way, of course.

Lily and MacGregor are being chased by Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), a vicious royal eager to find the treasure before anyone else and keep it for himself.

Throw in some added curveballs from the dangerous, man-eating Amazon river itself and you have a standard Disney movie ready for consumption.

Before Jungle Cruise came out there were many comparisons made between it and Disney’s other flagship live-action franchise: Pirates of the Caribbean.

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Jungle Cruise review emily blunt dwayne johnson

Jungle Cruise review: Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are the stars of the film (Image: DISNEY)

Jungle Cruise review emily blunt dwayne johnson

Jungle Cruise review: The film’s story is gripping and intense (Image: DISNEY)

Although some parallels are certainly obvious, Jungle Cruise pales in comparison to even some of the lesser Pirates movies.

Despite the film ramping up the stakes of the narrative quite quickly it never truly utilises any of its threats.

Over the course of the adventure different examples of danger, traps, villains and friends come and go, creating a constant feeling of being on the Jungle Cruise ride itself.

However, it’s a lot. And these events simply don’t stick around long enough for viewers to sink their teeth into.

Jungle Cruise review jack whitehall

Jungle Cruise review: Jack Whitehall plays Lily’s brother, MacGregor (Image: DISNEY)

That isn’t to say Jungle Cruise is messy – far from it. The overarching narrative of the exciting adventure is certainly gripping, and viewers will absolutely want to know how things end for Frank, Lily, and MacGregor; over the course of two hours, however, it feels a little padded.

Although it is a little stuffed, every knot in the journey is absolutely gorgeous. The stunning vistas of the Amazon rainforest are extremely pleasing to the eye, with a constant bombardment of sun, sludge, animals, bugs and a living, breathing ecosystem in clear view at all times. Despite the entire film being situated in the one location (more or less) it never feels stale.

The funny, lighthearted moments of the film are bright and colourful, while the moody, darker portions of its story are reflected in the frankly terrifying depths of the rainforest.

With that said, Jungle Cruise does seem to be a bit of a stretch in tone. The film’s main villain, Prince Joachim, is an eccentric buffoon who is reminiscent of Back to the Future’s Biff Tannen.

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But some of the side villains, who have a much darker past and a haunting set of skills, feel a lot like the undead from Pirates of the Caribbean: vicious and twisted. The Curse of the Black Pearl’s greatness shines through in specific moments during Jungle Cruise, but never truly take hold of the film.

Blunt and Johnson are truly fantastic. They bounce off one another with gags and physical acting in memorable ways that will no doubt incite sequels in the coming years.

Blunt’s charm, sophistication and fearlessness errs on the side of Rachel Weisz’ character Evelyn Carnahan in 1999’s The Mummy. Truly an icon.

Johnson continues to create exciting and hilarious characters in his performances. Frank feels like an extension of the former wrestler’s acting in the Jumanji franchise, but with a lot more wit behind it.

Johnson also suplexes a leopard, which is the best two seconds of the entire movie.

Viewers will no doubt find Lily and Frank’s entire journey more thrilling than a barrel full of monkeys.

The most glaring issue in Jungle Cruise is Whitehall.

Not only does his acting as MacGregor come across as extremely amateur and drab, but it also feels a little out of place.

Disney ought to be applauded for (finally) putting an openly gay character in the forefront of one of their films, but giving him one poignant four-second scene talking about his sexuality doesn’t feel like enough. Be better.

CONCLUSION

Jungle Cruise is non-stop fun from beginning to end. Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are the outright stars of the show that are never boring to watch. Although the film’s plot is gripping, it is overly padded at times and has some tonal issues with the main villains. Despite this, viewers looking to return to the cinema will not be too upset with Disney’s latest adventure.

Jungle Cruise hits cinemas on July 30 and will also be available on Disney Plus with Premier Access.

Read More: Hollywood News

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