After watching another family friendly movie, F9, I decided to give this one a go. Dwayne Johnson is always fun, right? And it was! I had a blast of escapism, and loved the sense of adventure into the Amazon it provided. I missed these old adventure movies where the characters would go into the jungle and conquer traps, and natives. Just some good old campy fun. Like Romancing the Stone, or going more modern, a few of the Rock’s movies: Jumanji, Journey 2, The Rundown.
Now, besides the fun, I felt Dwayne Johnson was out of place here. His muscles most definitely ruining any immersion. No way was his character’s backstory what it was. I laughed during those scenes. But, he did have chemistry with Emily Blunt and she was simply divine to watch. A pure joy. Her character’s earnest need to explore and find the truth behind her bedtime stories came across beautifully. I loved watching her outwit her opponents. Simply remarkable. What was great about Dwayne Johnson was his delivery of lines; hilarious. The brother felt a complete trope and caricature and pandering to the LGBTQ+ crowd that one would typically find in a Netflix production. The plot mattered little as to the character himself, his purpose was to hold back the main character and bridge the villain to her and then redeem himself in the final act. Could have been any other kind of character, a sister, a mother, a father, a close friend, could have had any sexuality but it didn’t matter because regardless, they’d be trying to spin the narrative of how nobody respects that kind of person but family. Why not a drug addicted brother, and his redemption? Or a destitute/bum and this is his saving grace. Point is, that aspect of his character added nothing to the plot.
There was an over abundance of CGI but there was also plenty of practical effects, so as a viewer, in the moment, I enjoyed it. Later on though, I noticed the glares and cracks in such use of CGI. It makes the scenes forgettable. I find it difficult to remember besides major points of the plot. Happily though, the cinematography is beautiful. Wide, sweeping panoramic shots of the jungle and rivers.
Overall, I can see why Disney might be wanting to continue making movies out of their theme park rides. There’s a potential here for lots of money. Alas, I don’t think Jungle Cruise will do that. It released at a bad timing, and the movie itself while fun is also meh. Like I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of Dwayne Johnson or Emily Blunt, but as for the movie itself… Maybe?