Review: Jungle Cruise (2021)


Jungle Cruise (2021)

Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra | 127 minutes | action, adventure | Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti, Veronica Falcón, Dani Rovira, Quim Gutiérrez, Dan Dargan Carter, Andy Nyman, Raphael Alejandro, Simone Lockhart, Pedro Lopez, Sulem Calderon

At first glance, there is no direct link between Katherine Hepburn (1907-2003), the actress still with the most Oscars to her name, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) and current Hollywood stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. But the former starred in ‘The African Queen’ (1951), which was said to be one of Walt Disney’s favorite films. This adventure film about a man and a woman who takes a boat trip across the Congo in Africa during the First World War and, despite all the contradictions, fall in love, partly inspired the film producer and entrepreneur to come up with the Jungle River Cruise attraction, which now shines in four of Disney’s theme parks. . And ‘Jungle Cruise’ (2021), just like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Haunted Mansion’, is based on this attraction.

The story of ‘Jungle Cruise’ is set in 1917, during the First World War. The British Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), with her much less adventurous brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) in tow, wants to search the inhospitable and dangerous Amazon region for the Lágrimas de Cristal tree, because according to tradition the flowers heal diseases and wounds and lift curses. Once in Brazil, Lily tries to arrange a boat and guide. In a classic case of mistaken identity, she ends up with Frank Wolff, creator of bad puns and captain of a jungle cruise boat. Frank initially holds off the boat (sorry, not sorry), but when he sees that Lily has an arrowhead that may hold the key to where the lifesaving tree is located, he adjusts his tactics. The deal is closed.

This is of course not without a struggle. There are more privateers on the coast – Jesse Plemons as German Prince Joachim (the character is said to be based on a real person) is creepy in a funny way – and Frank’s opportunistic side clashes quite a bit with Lily’s ambitious nature. Let alone that MacGregor’s lifestyle – he likes luxurious dinners and fashion – is not exactly sustainable on a ramshackle boat, which also houses a panther.

‘Jungle Cruise’ is above all a family film. As a result, the inevitable romance that blossoms between Lily and Frank is easily confused with friendship, and the film never becomes as exciting as classics of the genre like ‘Indiana Jones’ or certain scary scenes in the ‘Pirates’ series. There are dangerous snakes and ghosts in it and someone dies because a boulder falls on him, but that is more in the style of Wiley E. Coyote and Roadrunner. The CGI isn’t convincing on every front and the story is actually overcrowded – as if the five (!) writers all had trouble ‘killing’ their ‘darlings’. As a result, the playing time is also a bit too long, it could easily have been fifteen minutes shorter without losing impact. But the film is amusing, despite the sometimes very lame jokes (luckily the film is aware of that). The charm of the protagonists makes up for a lot. ‘Jungle Cruise’ offers nothing you haven’t seen before (and better), but is just fun enough for an evening of entertainment.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.