Straight Outta the Movies: Jungle Cruise

Straight Outta the Movies: Jungle Cruise

Let's talk about Jungle Cruise, as I write out immediate impressions coming out ot the movie theater.


The wife and I are just leaving Jungle Cruise. (The movie, not the ride.) Our immediate impressions: A lot better than it had any right to be, if I'm being honest. I expected this to be similar to the lower end of the Pirates movies, but there was good enough chemistry between Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt that I enjoyed it. It's something closer to the first Brendan Fraser Mummy movie, in the sense that it's not a good movie, but it's one that you could easily pop in on a Saturday afternoon and have a lot of fun with it.

What's Jungle Cruise about? Well, Emily Blunt and her Pants (Hey, don't look at me like that. They make it a point to repeatedly call out that she's wearing pants, because it's WWI times and "WOMEN? PANTS? HARUMPH!") are searching for a magical MacGuffin in the Amazon that can cure curses and diseases and whatnot. She needs a guide, so she finds The Rock, who guides her for a nominal fee. They have to find the MacGuffin before an Evil German™ and a crew of cursed Conquistadores beat them to it. I won't spoil the big story twist, but had this just been a story of Rock as an everyman tour guide grifter getting in way over his head, I probably would have liked this a lot more. Instead, things get convoluted quickly in the final act and I didn't quite enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

A lot of the effects are going to remind people of the Pirates movies, for better or worse. Disney sure loves going to that "undead" well. Plus, "If you believe in legends, you should believe in curses, too" is basically a poorer version of "You'd best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner... you're in one!" But while that part of the plot felt a little derivative, it wasn't enough to kill my enjoyment. Just don't expect a lot out of the climax, because it felt like very standard summer movie fare.

For those Disneyland/Disney World passholders, they might be wondering, "Ozzie, but what about the dad jokes? Are there dad jokes?"

Here's the thing. Rock gets a lot of the dad jokes out of the way early, but over the course of the movie, he'll occasionally drop a really bad pun or a horrible dad joke at an inappropriate moment and that was great. I actually would have liked this movie if they had done more of that. Like, at the climax, just have Rock randomly spout out a dad joke, because he can't help himself.

Anyway, Jungle Cruise is a strong popcorn flick. It's better than like the last three Pirates movies, at least, and that's almost entirely because of Dwayne Johnson. I will say this in favor of the movie, though. They went out of their way to replicate a lot of the set pieces for the ride. Not just the river, but also the Adventureland marketplace that surrounds it, the boats, the harbor, everything that you'd see at Disneyland. So kudos for accuracy, if nothing else.

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