On December 18, Disney announced the 20th entry in their classic theme park series, Walt Disney World’s Jungle Cruise . The new attraction is set to debut in 2023 at the Magic Kingdom’s Adventure Isle section, replacing the current version that has been running since 1987.

Disney is known for high quality animated movies. Although their movies are usually great, they are a bit too simple for my taste. Jungle Cruise is a good example. It’s a simple movie with a simple plot. I like it because it’s an easy movie that I don’t have to think too much about.

We always get asked to do a review for the latest Disney movie. We always decline because we hate doing those types of reviews. It is a chore to look at the film from a purely objective standpoint. You need to look at the film from both sides and come to an unbiased conclusion. You can’t just say something is good when you like it, and say it is bad when you don’t like it. We don’t like doing those types of reviews, so we always decline, and one day, we can make time to sit down and make a proper review.

JUNGLE CRUISE REVIEW (2023)

Reviews of films

When I first heard about Disney’s Jungle Cruise, a cinematic version of the popular theme park ride, I was dubious that it would be much more than a dud. I enjoy Dwayne Johnson and the kinds of flicks that the previews for this picture resemble, but I am skeptical of Disney’s live-action films. Except for the Pirates series, their theme park ride-based movies have traditionally failed, and I don’t believe The Haunted Mansion or Tomorrowland are lost masterpieces. With the big embarrassments and lack of excellent theatrical production this year, Disney has been grating on my nerves more than usual. But it would be unjust to hold all of this against a single film. Let’s take a closer look.

 

The first scene of Jungle Cruise features a dramatic narrative about cursed Spanish Conquistadors, which is later revealed to be a pitch for an explorer’s club. This effort to win the explorers over by siblings Lily (Emily Blunt) and MacGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall) fails miserably. Lily goes out in search of an item that will take her to the Tears of the Moon, a mythical healing plant that has the potential to change medicine. She obtains it, but she has to flee from a German prince (Jesse Plemons) and society members. When Lily and MacGregor arrive in the Amazon, they seek out Mr. Nilo (Paul Giamatti), who owns virtually every boat in the region and offers jungle excursions. Instead, she meets Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) and the two buttheads she meets along the way. Can this motley crew of misfits make it to the Tears unscathed?

I’m undecided about Jungle Cruise. Some elements pleasantly surprised me and won me over, while others drew my attention to issues that might have been avoided. The musical score for Jungle Cruise is by James Newton Howard, and it’s really beautiful. At every turn, it’s thrilling, intriguing, and ominous. Frank’s flashback sequence is my only niggle here. During this moment, why did the music change to a rock sound with an electric guitar? It has nothing to do with the environment or tone. Jungle Cruise is breathtakingly beautiful visually. Not just to stick it to these $30 Disney+ releases, but also because of its rich aesthetic, I suggest watching this film in a cinema (if it’s safe in your region). The forest seems alive, as if it were a character in and of itself. In this way, the film reminded me of the 2016 version of The Jungle Book. The animals and vegetation are realistic, and the consequences on the cursed Conquistadors are spectacular. These figures, as well as the animation depicting their state, reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean. This is where Jungle Cruise shines, and I believe they could have gone much farther in this approach.

Nilo and Prince Joachim, the film’s other antagonists, don’t fare as well. I like Paul Giamatti and am usually eager to see him in new projects, but his part in Jungle Cruise has me completely taken aback. Nilo is irritating and unfunny while contributing nothing to the narrative, and it’s not his fault. Nilo loses all threat and significance to the broader narrative once Frank, Lily, and MacGregor are on their way down the river. Despite Frank damaging his port and many of his buildings, when we meet him again at the end, he does nothing. Why would they do such a thing to one of Hollywood’s finest character actors? What a waste of time. With Joachim, I’m having a same issue. I adore Jesse Plemons and was looking forward to seeing him in this film, but he’s portrayed as a joke, and not a very amusing one. There’s a moment when he fails to pronounce the term “forest,” and MacGregor tries to comprehend him for a long. Did they truly think this joke was hilarious enough to go on for a few minutes? I want to be enraged, yet I almost feel sorry for the humor’ creator. Perhaps they need a hug. One of the saddest and most frustrating parts of Jungle Cruise is the antagonists. For one thing, there are just too many of them. In terms of idea and execution, I admire the Conquistadors, but I believe Nilo and Joachim should have been chosen. The issue might have been addressed if either character had been given more screen time and treated with greater respect.

Frank and Lily, on the other hand, were much more appealing to me than I had anticipated. Dwayne Johnson is one of my favorite actors, although I like him more for his own sense of humor and charm than for the roles he plays (except for Maui). Despite doing some terrible things early on, Frank is nice enough. I was likewise taken aback by his background revelation; I didn’t expect the film to continue in that direction. They had me cornered. The trailer gave me the impression that Lily had faults and makes errors, which was not the case. I was worried she’d be the brave, perfect leader, and Frank would stumble along, following her instructions. Their dynamic was well-balanced, and they worked well together. These characters aren’t very deep or imaginative, yet they work nicely in Jungle Cruise. MacGregor was also one of my favorites, but I don’t believe the authors treated him credit. It’s upsetting when you discover his secret since it explains why he behaves like a cliché. A character should not be characterized only by one element of their personality, and none of the other leaders are defined in this way. Disney finally accomplishes something they’ve been claiming credit for for years. I wish it had been done more elegantly, with more space for the actor and character to breathe and be more than one character characteristic.

Overall, I had a good time on the Jungle Cruise. It’s hardly a classic, and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films are still the greatest Disney theme park flicks. However, the performances, graphics, and music make it worthwhile to watch, particularly if you have the opportunity to go to the theater.

Plot – 6
Acting – 8 points
Editing/Directing – 6
8 – Music/Sound
Digital and Action Effects – 9

7.4

Okay

Overall, I had a good time on the Jungle Cruise. It’s hardly a classic, and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films are still the greatest Disney theme park flicks. However, the performances, graphics, and music make it worthwhile to watch, particularly if you have the opportunity to go to the theater.

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