HomeMovies'Jungle Cruise' is a Fun-Enough Family Romp

‘Jungle Cruise’ is a Fun-Enough Family Romp

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in Disney's JUNGLE CRUISE
Photo Credit: Frank Masi

What did you think of Jungle Cruise’s trailer? 

Did you think it looked like a charming adventure for the whole family with two talented, charismatic actors working together? Or did you think it looked bad?

Whatever you thought of the trailer, go with that. 

Myself? I thought the trailer looked fine. It looked like a throwback with modern tech, where the stylish CGI is in tune with the, “classic adventure from way back when,” intent.  I like that look. Emily Blunt (playing heroine Lily) is a fantastic talent, and I thought, “she looks like she’s having fun.” Dwayne Johnson (playing Frank Wolff) can either be a fantastic talent (Pain and Gain, Fasts 5 & 6) or he can be a charming enough leading man (Fast 8, Hobbs & Shaw), and he seemed to be contently nestled in the latter category. 

Those instincts were correct. 

This isn’t a negative or sarcastic review. On the contrary, saying, “if you want to watch Jungle Cruise, you should,” feels like one of the highest compliments a critic can give. It wears its fun-for-the-whole-family intentions on its sleeve and hits the target demographic dead center. The action isn’t revolutionary, but it thrills like a slapstick theme park ride. A library set piece in the beginning, where Lily escapes some German baddies while hopping on a ladder, could either be called a humorous action scene or large scale slapstick. Both descriptors work.

The supernatural villains also have an inspired look, hitting that gross enough to spook but not enough to traumatize sweet spot for children. Being Spaniard soldiers that are composed of different elements of the jungle (one is made of snakes, another, bees), there’s a nastiness to their looks that establishes them as unique threats, and just enough silliness to make them fit for a childhood fairy tale. 

It’s the film’s ability to hit that sweet spot that helps it stand out. It may not transcend fun for the whole family, the way masterpieces like Toy Story or Into The Spider-Verse do. But, unlike Space Jam 2, neither will parents have to justify their pain because, “well, the kids are laughing.” 

Jungle Cruise is a pretty, funny, and well acted time-waster. If that’s what you’re looking for, give it a go.

Jungle Cruise is now playing in theaters and available to rent on Disney+.



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