Who woulda thunk that Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt would make a great on-screen pair? In Disney’s latest theme-park-ride-to-feature-film, Jungle Cruise, the duo toss out perfectly timed bickering and bantering like an old married couple and that chemistry is the real reason why the movie works.
Blunt plays Dr. Lily Houghton, who has made it her mission to find an ancient tree with mysterious healing abilities that is supposed to be located deep in the Amazon. She and her reluctant brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall), hire Frank Wolff (Johnson), a boat Captain who’s lately been regulated to giving riverboat tours (complete with every lame tour guide joke you can think of), to take them down the river. The three of them, along with Wolff’s pet tiger, set forth on journey, tailed in a submarine by an evil German Prince (Jesse Plemons), who’s hoping to get to the tree before them. Along the way, we meet a handful of ancient battle worn conquistadors, led by Edgar Ramirez, who have a major beef with Wolff, because wouldn’t you know it, he’s not exactly who he says he is.
It was really fun to see Plemons and Paul Giamatti, as a blustery harbormaster, in full on character parts. The two chew up so much scenery – but in the best way possible – there’s almost nothing left. It was nice to see the prim and proper brother (Whitehall), be able to defend himself when he had to and not need to constantly be saved. It’s a small, but nice touch that only makes the film better.
The writers Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have dusted off the formula from the original Pirates of the Caribbean and, with the help of director Jaume Collet-Serra, made a perfectly fun, summertime romp.
As much as I liked that movie though, I couldn’t help but think each action sequence or strange multi-colored animal would end up in newly revamped ride at Disneyland. Thankfully, the film was a lot of fun, so I didn’t walk away feeling had. So, with that, I’ll see you in line at Jungle Cruise, the ride.