Review: Jungle Cruise

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jesse Plemons, Edgar Ramirez, Paul Giamatti

There are some things that I expect when I see a Disney movie: I expect great production value, I expect to be entertained, and I expect to like it. When I think of all of the Disney films that I have seen recently this has been the case; Black Widow, Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella. Going into Jungle Cruise I expected the same but got something I wasn’t at all expecting.

Jungle Cruise is the latest film from Disney that you can see either in theatres or on the Disney Plus Premier Access platform. It stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Emily Blunt.

Blunt plays Dr. Lilly Houghton. Set during World War 2, Dr. Houghton doesn’t get a lot of respect from her male peers. She sets out on a journey with her brother Jack (Jake Whitehall) to track down the ‘Tree of Life’. This is something believed to possess healing power. To get to this tree they will have to navigate the jungle. If only they had a guide! Enter Frank (Dwayne Johnson). Frank seems to know the jungle like the back of his hand. He has bad dad jokes for days that leave most cringing but there is a certain charm to his character. Frank doesn’t want to help them at first but for the right price, he will seemingly will help anyone.

The three of them find themselves on a mission but they aren’t alone, Prince Joachim, (Jesse Plemons) is on their trail as he wants the tree for himself.

We have seen films like this in the past where there is a goal or something our heroes want to obtain, and there are evil forces trying to stop them. Goonies comes to mind. And the same way Goonies is talked about and adored years later, Jungle Cruise could develop that following.

First of all, I don’t think I have to sell anyone on The Rock—I know I should be saying Dwayne Johnson but I’m an old school wrestling fan. He is arguably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood today as he generates hit after hit. The big surprise for me in this film was Emily Blunt. Screenwriters Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have crafted an amazingly strong female lead with this role.

I have always had respect for Blunt for her roles in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the Quiet Place films and Your Sisters Sister, I now have more because I never thought of her as an action star but she showed in this film that’s another skill in her locker. Her performance in this film was so impressive not just because I didn’t expect her in an action role, but she achieves it flawlessly.

And you know a film is great when I am this far into talking about it and am now just mentioning the great Paul Giamatti is in the cast as well.

Jungle Cruise is a triumph, as once again Disney delivers. The score, the cinematography, the action sequences, it excels in all of those phases. While you have the option of seeing this in theatres and on the Disney Plus premier access platform, I would recommend seeing it in theatres as it deserves the larger screen, but that’s a personal preference. I will note there are some scary sequences so those with small children should keep that in mind.

And if you had told me that Metallica and Disney would have formed a partnership I would have said ‘no way’ but after seeing the film I am saying “NO WAY!!!!’

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt may be the most entertaining on-screen partnership I have seen in sometime.

Grade: B+