Disney’s Jungle Cruise is the latest Disney movie that brings a classic Disney attraction to life on the silver screen. Starring Dwayne Johnson as Skipper Frank and Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton, this is an Amazon adventure that is full of adventure, fantasy, and comedy. In the movie, Dr. Lily Houghton hires Skipper Frank to search for a legendary tree that has the power to heal, and potentially change the future of medicine. Of course, as is often the case, things don’t go exactly as planned and soon this cruise through the jungle isn’t what was expected.
The story for Disney’s Jungle Cruise is one that makes sense and moves along at a pleasant pace. While it does pull from the world (like a lot!) of The World Famous Jungle Cruise in the Disney Parks, it continues to go on beyond what is seen in the Jungles of Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland. It creates a world that builds on legend and history as well. The result is a movie that feels very Disney.
A bulk of Disney’s Jungle Cruise takes place in the Amazon. Some of it takes place in London. Watch the credits and appears that this isn’t where the movie was filmed. There were a lot of effects used in this film. Thankfully, by and large, they work quite nicely. The world that the movie takes place in feels authentic. The digital effects, for the most part, worked quite nicely. While not a perfect film in terms of visual effects, it is good enough to not be distracting. Things look and feel like they should and so I’d give the quality of visual production for this film an A-. The audio was solid and at no point did I notice anything that seemed off. This gets a solid A. Overall, it’s an enjoyable enough movie to look at and listen to.
The characters really bring this movie to life. The characters all made sense and added to the story. There were the leads, the bad guys, the comic relief, and some filler characters. All of them had a purpose for being in the movie. None of them seemed just thrown in because they could be. Yes, one of the villains was a bit dramatic and seemed like they were pulled from an Indiana Jones film, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The chemistry between Skipper Frank, Dr. Lily, and her broth McGregor (Jack Whitehall) was very enjoyable to watch. It appeared everyone who was in the film, enjoyed being in the film.
The score for Disney’s Jungle Book was written by James Newton Howard. This is the most recent in a string of scores he has written for Disney in recent years. These include Maleficent, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, and Raya and the Last Dragon. It has the sound of an adventure film and at times has a bit of a John Williams sound to it. It helped move the movie along and fit with what was going on. At one time it does feature Metallica as well. While it may not be as iconic as some of the themes heard in Indiana Jones or even Pirates of the Caribbean, it does have a nice feel to it and is enjoyable to listen to. It also adds to, not detracts from, the movie. It is pleasant to listen to and definitely helps with the story that is being told.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise is an enjoyable film that seems to pull inspiration from multiple beloved places. First off, it definitely is very reverential to the attraction that inspired the film. Throughout the film, there are multiple references back to the attraction. These are solid references and often quite humorous if you like that kind of humor. The movie also pulls from movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones it seems. They are adventures that have a bit of legend included. Thankfully, the inspirations pulled from the other films are positive additions to the film and not detractors. The movie pulls from what works in other movies and runs with it.
While this movie isn’t perfect, it is enjoyable and funny. There were multiple times throughout the movie that I found myself laughing out loud. Part of this was the script, part of it the delivery. All of it was enjoyable. If there was anything that wasn’t enjoyable it might have been some of the creatures that were found in the jungle. And Frank-ly, the movie needed them so this isn’t a complaint (just a bad pun).
From the beginning of Disney’s Jungle Cruise until the end, I was pleasantly surprised that this was a movie that felt like it came straight out of… well… the jungle. For years I have loved riding The World Famous Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. This movie felt like it could have been written by a bunch of skippers. And Dwayne Johnson acted as if he had gone through Skipper training to become one of them. This movie definitely gets a hat tip. It is one of the most enjoyable Disney live-action movies I’ve seen in recent years. I look forward to watching it again!