Jungle Cruise is definitely not a film for adults who have progressed past the level of a 12-year-old. The writers tried to cram as much action into 2 hours as possible. It went from thrilling to exhausting and finally tedious. But at the end of the day, it was entertaining enough to keep us hooked.
The chemistry and the banter between Blunt and Johnson were great. That’s probably the main reason why this worked. In fact, I think all the actors fit very well in the roles that they played. While it wasn’t as scary as I hoped, and didn’t the film didn’t give you the edge of your seat as much as expected, it was still a well-thought-out storyline and had many twists and turns. They did a wonderful job of confusing you between what is real and what wasn’t. You will find out more and more what I mean as you watch the film.
The problem was with the character arcs. I think they eventually did well with Frank’s arc as you could understand his motivations. But the problem was with the relationship between him and his friend. The flashback provided a good flashback but they never developed that. Whenever they met, it felt like a generic hero-villain confrontation and nothing like the friends or brotherhood connection as seen in the flashback. I think that could’ve been a big moment in the story but it was a missed opportunity. As for Lily then we are shown nothing from her side to get invested. She’s trying to get this petal for the scientific community but we are never shown why this means so much to her. We learn a bit about her through her brother but only in the form of a dialogue. That’s not enough for us to invest in her. Even in the end, she chooses one life over countless more. Again, what did we build up for?
Disney doesn’t entirely disappoint by giving us a fun ride with healthy helpings of humor, without offering any serious plotline or sophistication. The hero’s-journey style adventure infusion of history and archaeology is complimented by Disney’s superior CGI and animation which gets tedious at times but stays consistent enough to give a wondrous end product and perhaps a universe that might spur more sequels.
Overall, there’s nothing new here. It’s all the adventure thrown into a blender and poured into a Disney Jungle Cruise boat. The only thing missing was a cameo appearance by Brendan Fraser! Nothing inventive but we were never expecting that. Good enough for a one-time watch, at least.
K- Score: 53%
STW: 14/30, D: 12/25, C: 5/8, E: 3/5, PVD: 7/12, A: 7/10, S: 5/10