Combine parts of previous hit adventure movies with a popular theme park ride and add two actors with great on-screen chemistry and you have Disney’s Jungle Cruise.
Based on the Disney theme park ride which first opened in Anaheim, California in 1955, Jungle Cruise‘s storyline has a similar feel to such box office hits as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Mummy, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even The African Queen.
Set in in the midst of World War One, the movie tells of feisty and resourceful botanist Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) who is in search of The Tears of the Moon, an ancient and mythical tree in the Amazon. The tree’s petals are said to cure any illness or break any curse.
She believes the key to finding the tree is an ancient arrowhead which a chauvinistic British based adventure organisation is about to sell to Germany’s Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons).
After stealing the arrowhead she and her loving but unadventurous brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) head to Brazil. Here the pair hire cocky riverboat captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to take them up the Amazon in his rather rickety tourist boat in search of the tree.
At the start of the journey the relationship between Lily and the equally determined Frank is strained. She’s not amused by his attitude or his continual, and often very bad, jokes. He’s not used to dealing with an independent, intelligent and very capable woman who knows exactly what she wants and is no pushover.
However as time goes by, and they face numerous natural, man-made and supernatural challenges, the two grow closer.
Joachim is behind most of the challenges (apart from some rather nasty rapids). As well as trying to kidnap Lily, the submarine-travelling Joachim also tries to torpedo Wolff’s boat.
Even more dangerous is Joachim’s unleashing of the snake-filled Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez) a Spanish conquistador who, together with his equally scary looking men, has been dead for 400 years and is also in search of the tree.
Watching the chemistry between Blunt and Johnson is the highlight of Jungle Cruise. Both play their parts perfectly and importantly, for such a movie, look as if they are really enjoying themselves.
Whitehall is amusing as Lily’s at first timid but then more self-assured brother while Plemons clearly enjoys playing the ruthless Joachim.
While Jungle Cruise is most likely to appeal to youngsters, the performance and the appeal of its stars ensures older audience members can also enjoy the ride.
Jungle Cruise is now playing in cinemas
and is also available on Disney Plus with Premier Access.
*Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2021 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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