Aboard Disney's Jungle Cruise, a film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter) and based on the 7 minute theme-park attraction! Once departing, there's no turning back from a bloated two hours, a convoluted story, goony wooden characters, and endless action that feels weightless.
Frank (Dwayne Johnson) takes Lily (Emily Blunt) and her gay brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) on an expendetion through the Amazon to find magical healing petels from The Tree of Life in order to use them for medicine and help others. A sinister group led by Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) competes to locate these petals. Along the way, the group encounters adversity in the form of rapids, other civilians who seemingly pose a threat, a haunting history, and Plemons’s ruthlessness.
The magical petals are an eye-rolling McGuffin that launches the silly-toned adventure. With little known about our characters for most of the film, we are forced to watch them advance from one action scene to the next without feeling any sense of connection to anyone.
The dialogue reflects unrealistic quick-witted characters who are unphased by the life-or-death scenarios they come up against. The “humor” misses virtually every time. Because the characters are incredibly nonchalant among the perilous obstacles that cross their paths, you never feel tension or worry for them because the characters themselves never seem to be concerned about losing their lives.
Jesse Plemons is a terrific actor but his talent is wasted on a robotronic Saturday morning cartoon-feeling villain. Blunt and Johnson do not have any impressive standout scenes either. Johnson’s backstory isn’t revealed until 1 hour and 40 minutes into the film and, while some could argue that it is to hide a “twist” it would have been more compelling if the screenplay showed us the film from his perspective and revealed the information in the flashback from the very beginning! Despite Disney featuring their second homosexual character after 2017’s Beauty and the Beast Le Fou, McGregor is merely a standard unimpressive sidekick character.
The CGI and green screen extravaganza are appalling but this certainly does not sink the film for me, as I can ignore poor technically made movies if the story and characters resonate with me. Unfortunately, this film does not.
Given Disney’s reputation, it is easy to predict where this ship will end. Not once did I feel any tension as the stakes never feel real nor do the characters. You will simply have to wait two hours for characters to chase these petals and the lackluster action amongst the contrived characters make this entry one where you will be excited to deboard the ship once it is all over.
Jungle Cruise will release theatrically and on Disney+ with Premier Access (which I would not recommend paying) July 30th.
|Final Verdict:||Once departing, there's no turning back from a bloated two hours, a convoluted story, goony wooden characters, and endless action that feels weightless.|