Thursday, August 5, 2021

Jungle Cruise (2021)

I am of two minds about this film. The cast include two of my favorite performers in Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt but the trailer makes me cringe because it's Disney to a fault. Too many ideas, too much going on and an excuse to build a franchise out of the thinnest of premises. No matter how much danger the characters are put into you know nothing bad will happen to them, not so much as a scratch and that eliminates any dramatic tension. But, again, the leads are so charming that is almost doesn't matter once things get rolling

Totally created by committee where every scene and line of dialogue feels like it went through dozens of people before it was 'allowed' to be part of this creature they were making. But how does one turn one of the most boring amusement park rides of all time deserves to be elevated to the next great Disney franchise ala Pirates of the Caribbean, it too a victim of it's own success and excess?

Charm and the relationship between the leads makes you ignore the dumb parts which made me feel manipulated. With all this movie has going for it, why did I enjoy it as much as I was 'supposed' to enjoy it? Less would have been definitely more here but since when does the Mouse pull back from excess?

Anything you need to know about the story can be found in the trailer.

Of course Emily Blunt is the kind of take charge girl who is totally out of place in the world she lives in. She doesn't suffer fools gladly especially with their antiquated ideas about what woman is capable of. She has lots of showing off to do. Hell she even wears PANTS and kicks ass, like every good Disney princess. How can Frank no adore her? She is an animal lover too.

Johnson plays Frank, a tour operator, con man, poor joke teller, and adventurer, the perfect companion to find the mythical plant (The Tears of the Moon) Blunt is searching for. He has a plan to get out of any jam and of course is invincible to anything that would attempt to kill him in the Amazon.

Again, the banter between Blunt and Johnson is the true attraction here. They are both very game for the shenanigans going on here. But they are nothing compared to the CGI jaguar who serves as Frank's partner in crime. It steals every scene it's in. Where is my Proxima the Jaguar cartoon on Disney Plus?

The film is also intentionally 'woke' with a coming out scene that really pushes the limits for Disney but if they can change the color of their princesses at a whim, what is one gay character to them? Just a male princess as far as I am concerned.

Our team is pursued the whole time by a German aristocrat with his own submarine (I know, just go with it). If there needs to be a bad guy you can't do better than an evil German and cursed Conquistadors. They are CGI also. Nothing you haven't seen a thousand times before but for this story it all works.

Overall, despite all the things I SHOULD have hated about this movie, I actually enjoyed it very much. It sucked me in like all great movies do. I am thankful I live in a time when I can see every Dwayne Johnson movie and no one is more surprised than me to admit that. He is such a charming actor who really cares about the projects he choses. In time this one will find it's place as a Disney classic. It's a winner that you and the kids will enjoy a lot. It's the reason summer movies were invented in the first place.

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