Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez
RATING: 4 Stars
Based on Disneyland’s theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travellers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles. Dwayne Johnson plays a skipper with a dark secret, who agrees to transport an English explorer and her brother thought the perilous Amazon jungle in search of a legendary tree with magical properties.
If you have even been to Disneyworld/Disneyland and ridden the Jungle Cruise ride then the humour in this film will resonate straight away. That corny, eye rolling onslaught of dad jokes is kind of what the ride is known for, and they have an entire sequence in this film to pay homage to that, even the ‘Backside of Water’ joke, which was always my personal favourite. It’s unfortunate, but if you aren’t familiar with the ride, and you don’t have that nostalgia element, if you are over the age of about 10, the humour probably wont land right. But I had an absolute blast.
You can tell that both Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson are having such a great time with this one. Johnson is always effortlessly charming in everything that he is in, but here he dials that charisma up to eleven, I loved his character a whole lot. Emily Blunt is also a delight on screen, and embodies the ‘Strong, Independent woman’ attitude perfectly. Even if that trait is hammered home about as delicately as a sledgehammer. Jack Whitehall was a pleasant surprise as well, probably because the role he played required very little actual acting. He was basically playing an exaggerated version of himself, in period clothing. The villains were a little less convincing. Jesse Plemons plays the most over the top, stereotypical German villain we have seen in a long long time. And then the villains go all ‘Black Pearl’ on us with the conquistadors, and really, we didn’t need them.
I was totally onboard (pardon the pun) with this film being a mix of Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone, and then they had to go and throw a paranormal curse type story in there and that’s where it kinda started to lose me a little bit. The plot didn’t need to get as needlessly complicated as it got. The adventure would have been enough on it’s own, but no, they had to take it one step further. Then once they take it there, and everyone’s secrets are finally revealed, it is incredibly obvious where the story is going to go and how it is going to end. It wasn’t a deal breaker, just a little disappointing.
Overall though a great family film, with lots that people will love, especially those who will know all the inside jokes and Easter eggs. Some adult enough jokes are thrown in there so that the parents will have something to giggle at as well as the kids. But the old school adventure plot will delight the entire family.
‘Jungle Cruise’ is out in UK cinemas now!