The one-and-done ride that is just as essential to our childhood memories as the It’s A Small World ride, Jungle Cruise is one of the most iconic rides in all of theme parks. Just as you’d expect, the theme park ride is the right recreation of the beloved attraction from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
I recently went to Disney World for the first time in 14 years, and I had a blast. One of my new favorite things, however, is Jungle Cruise.
And the best part of the Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World is the train ride back. You get to relax in a cabin with a big window, watching the jungle pass by your window. As the train speeds along the tracks, the rushing of the jungle gives a feeling of being in a hurry, and being in a hurry helps you to pass the time. And then the train stops, and a spasm of movement in the jungle reminds you that you are in a hurry, and you want to get moving again.
The new fantasy adventure film from the House of Mouse, ‘Jungle Cruise,’ is based on the famous Disneyland theme park of the same name, which has been open for 66 years. The amusement ride can be found at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland’s Adventureland area. Though the exact paths taken vary per park in different areas, the structure is very much the same. Riders board a boat that travels through several well-known rivers, where they may see animatronic creatures and listen to a captain describe the journey.
However, the picture has a supernatural element to make it more entertaining. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Emily Blunt, and Jack Whitehall appear in “Jungle Cruise,” which will be released in theaters on July 24. Spanish filmmaker and producer Jaume Collett-Serra directs and produces the film, which stars Jesse Plemmons as the villain.
The plot follows Blunt’s character, Dr. Lily Houghton, and Whitehall’s character, McGreggor, on an expedition into the treacherous Amazon in pursuit of a mystical tree known as “The Tears of the Moon,” whose petals have the ability to heal all illness and may drastically alter the field of medicine. The two enlist the help of a skipper named Frank, played by Johnson, who turns out to be an unkillable 400-year-old pack of walking muscles on their perilous journey, which is constantly interrupted by the evil Prince Joachim, played by Jesse Plemons, who is after the magical petals for his own selfish gain.
The film begins wonderfully, providing background on the quest if you will, and then seamlessly weaves the viewer into the story. The transition from an apparently innocuous excursion to full-fledged action scenes with fleeing torpedos and a cursed ugly tree monster, a repulsive honey creature, and a snake-bodied baddie all contribute to an exciting conclusion.
The protagonists are both attractive performers, but in this film, they fail to romantically connect with one other. Given that they are meant to mend a shattered heart, we would anticipate more onscreen chemistry. However, given that this is a family film, I assume it is kid friendly. Fortunately, the well-written banters with lots of one-liners, which Blunt and Johnsson perform brilliantly and interestingly, make up for the gap. With his supposed German accent, Jesse Plemons is hilariously humorous, but the part suits him since he is a master of portraying nasty people on film, which he does so effortlessly that he almost steals the show from the protagonists.
The plot is unoriginal, and the CGI, particularly with the jungle creatures, is a little shaky, but Jaume makes up for it with beautiful editing and excellent staging and execution of the battles and pursuit scenes. The buildings, clothes, automobiles, and boats all represent the 1910s period, and the lovely warm colors mix in well with nature, resulting in a visually attractive and believable work of motion art.
It’s pretty empowering to see the lead female star as this strong, focused, and unwavering woman who is determined to bring good to the world and will risk everything, including her life, to see the world healed, as opposed to the extreme male villain who, despite having all the firepower to keep the world at peace and help it, is determined to destroy and conquer it for his own gratification. Also commendable is Dr. Lily’s bravery in embracing her femininity by wearing in clothing considered unfashionable by society at the time.
The filmmakers worked hard to be as close to the famous riverboat amusement park as possible, including the waterways, the animals seen along the journey, the captain, and his same old gruff jokes, so it isn’t that far-fetched.
Finally, ‘Jungle Cruise’ is a fun-filled family film that you can watch with the whole family, regardless of age, without experiencing any strangely uncomfortable moments. It successfully captures and maintains the attention of its target audience throughout, as well as providing the amusement for which it was designed.
SCORE: 7 OUT OF 10
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