The Jungle Cruise, based on the iconic Disneyland ride, on the hunt for the enchanting Tree of Life ,which beholds the Tears of the Moon, magical flowers with healing powers. While the Houghton siblings, Lily (Blunt) and MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) are amongst the many obsessively searching for the Tree, they land up in Brazil and enlist the help of Frank Wolf (Johnson), a skipper and his rustic but surprisingly dependable boat named La Quila. Our protagonist is Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), an adventurer searching for a mythical Amazonian tree that can cure all disease. The recognizable boat makes the jump to the big screen; its skipper, Frank, is played by the eminently likable Dwayne Johnson.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt anchor the rollicking adventure with superb on-screen chemistry and together, The film didn’t need the gentle romance presented here, but director Jaume Collet-Serra makes it work, and both Johnson and Blunt earn each stolen glance. Johnson also, when he wants to, has a way of being so charismatic that you forget he’s an insanely proportioned individual. Sure, the script will occasionally remind you of this, but his character, the lightly scheming river skipper Frank, is winningly charming, even when he’s trying to pull a clever con.
As snakes, cannibals and maggoty supernatural beings rattle around the frame, Jungle Cruise exhibits a blatantly faux exoticism that feels as flat as the forced frisson between its two leads. There’s a turbulent sequence in which the boat speeds toward a waterfall, and a funny one that fools us into thinking, for a moment, that the movie is going to exploit the outdated stereotype.
Jungle Cruise is a rollercoaster of an adventure in the classic Disney style.. Though if you have an aversion to snakes or bees, you might want to look elsewhere for some adventure fix. The film moves along at a swift pace, with fun and excitement around almost every bend. The villains are Disney scary, which means scary enough to frighten younger kids into covering their eyes. Jungle Cruise runs about two hours and, sure, with that comes a few dips here and there. This and too many other Disney adventures including, the entire “Pirates” franchise all boil down to the same plot.
Jungle Cruise is a joyous summer romp rooted on by a fun script and some completely captivating chemistry between stars Johnson and Blunt. The mythology elements don’t always work, and some of the villains fizzle, but whenever the leads are on screen, including Jack Whitehall, the film finds its heart and soul.