Emily Blunt Transcends Overstuffed ‘Jungle Cruise’ in New Film

“Jungle Cruise” is a fun journey that features Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson’s great chemistry and banter on film. Continue reading to learn more about the film.

Remember those fun adventure flicks from the past? What about “The Mummy”? What is the plot of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”? Are you familiar with the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”? At the very least, the first one? In “Romancing the Stone” or “The African Queen,” how about the typical romantic banter of an attractive but completely mismatched couple?

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Jungle Cruise is film based on a theme park ride

“ Jungle Cruise ” most certainly does, and it isn’t going to let you forget that. This is a movie that exists only to remind you of at least a dozen previous films that you fondly recall and then coast from there. And owing largely to its charming and fully game actors Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, it almost gets away with it. who generally manage to make you forget you’re seeing a film based on a theme park ride that appears to have been custom-made at the nostalgia factors. It isn’t a cinematic crime to wear your influences on your sleeve, but “Jungle Cruise,” directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Michael Green frequently does so to its cost.

The plot involves Spanish conquistadors, a crazy German prince (a delightfully over-the-top Jesse Plemons), and an idealistic English woman, Blunt’s Lily Houghton, all of whom have dedicated their lives to seeking a fabled cure-all known as “Tears of the Moon.” Following a fantastic start to Lily that involved a lone robbery in a museum’s archives, She and her dashing brother MacGregor (a scene-stealing Jack Whitehall) fly to the Amazon rainforest, where they hire Frank (Johnson), a failing riverboat captain, to guide them down the river in quest of this flower.

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From its production design to its costumes, “Jungle Cruise” is intentionally and enjoyably ludicrous (although some of the CGI animals are distractingly artificial for a production of this size). However, it becomes mired down in its own overly-explained mythology when it might have just sailed out in search of a mystical MacGuffin.

Johnson’s Frank, on the other hand, is a lot of fun. As a homage to the theme park ride, the screenwriters have given him a slew of corny puns, which Johnson sells as he usually does. He’s still extremely watchable and light, and he and Blunt seem to be having a great time together. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

Blunt, on the other hand, is completely amazing and operates on a different plane. She is entirely at ease as Lily, and it would be wonderful to see her reprise her role on the big screen.

But there’s a major flaw: “Jungle Cruise” doesn’t function as the romantic comedy it claims to be. The chemistry and banter between Blunt and Johnson is fantastic, but not romantic. It’s more of a platonic buddy cop relationship, which is great, but the screenplay attempts to make it something else, and it just feels fake, especially as the storyline becomes increasingly dependent on Lily and Frank’s relationship.

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Moreover, despite their valiant attempts, Blunt and Johnson are limited by a script that relies too heavily on milquetoast zingers about Lily’s trousers, Frank’s instrument, and MacGregor’s material obsessions. There are also some odd choices in how they portray sexism and misogyny at the time: Is it credible that a group of male scientists living under Queen Victoria would find it ridiculous to propose that a woman could rule an Amazonian tribe?

Perhaps my expectations grew a bit too high over the last year, and “Jungle Cruise” became the center of my summer movie aspirations. It’s a fun journey with two true cinema stars that, like the classics it mimics, may become a rewatchable classic. However, on first viewing, it appears to be a sincere and safe homage.

The Motion Picture Association of America has classified “Jungle Cruise,” a Walt Disney Pictures movie that will be available to rent on Disney+ on Friday, PG-13 for “adventure violence.” The film has a running duration of 127 minutes. Two and a half out of four stars.

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