“Jungle Cruise” was directed Jaume Collet-Serra who previously did a string of Liam Neeson films like, “Run All Right”, “The Commuter” & “Unknown”. This film was produced by Disney & based on the theme park attraction. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons & Paul Giamatti. This marks Disney 3rd attempt to make film based on their theme park rides after the massive disappointment that was 2015’s “Tomorrowland” and the wildly successful, “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise which features 5 films from 2003 – 2017. The film was set to release in the summer of 2020 but due the COVID-19 pandemic it was delayed until August of 2021.
In 1916 London, Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt) and her brother MacGregor (Whitehall) go before the Royal Society in an attempt to convince the Society to allow them access to a sacred artifact that could lead to a mystical tree deep in the Amazon. Lily is convinced that this tree could revolutionize medicine and cure diseases throughout the world. Against the Society’s orders, Lily & MacGregor head to Brazil where they meet a skipper, Frank Wolf (Johnson) who knows his way around the Amazon and is also secretly looking for the tree. Together, the trio travel through Amazon to find the tree however unbeknown to them, an ancient curse has taken off the land where the tree stands. A Spanish conquistador, Don Aguirre (Ramirez) and his men attempted to take the tree but were cursed and bound to the land and live forever with no way of taking the tree or finding peace. Lily, Frank & MacGregor go on this epic adventure of treasure hunting and swashbuckling to find an ancient artifact that can save humanity.
This movie a great way to return to the theaters and definitely worth the price of admission. The movie does draw a lot of inspiration from 1999’s “The Mummy” as well as Disney’s other theme park attraction based film, 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Despite these cliches & tropes, “Jungle Cruise” is entertaining in all the right places from the acting to the visuals. Johnson and Blunt have amazing chemistry and seem to be action adventure material. My only complaint is the very noticeable similarities to “Pirates” & “The Mummy” films but other than that, a damn good entertaining film.
Despite the pandemic and date changes, this film hit the mark and was a great way to return to the theaters. Even though the film had mild success at the box office, Disney has already announced a sequel with Johnson and Blunt returning to their respective characters however no other details have been released.