WHERE TO WATCH:
Now showing in cinemas.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Dr. Lily Houghton enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff to take her down the Amazon in his ramshackle boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal - a discovery that will change the future of medicine.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
Inspired by the Disney theme park ride, Jungle Cruise takes viewers on a wild ride down the unpredictable waters of the Amazon River, starring Dwayne Johnson (Frank Wolff) and Emily Blunt (Dr Lily Houghton).
Far from sailing into unchartered territory, the fantasy adventure is reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz 1999 classic, The Mummy. Inspired by fantasy favourites like Pirates of the Caribbean, director Jaume Collet-Serra, still manages to capture the spirit of the theme park attraction while perfectly honouring the adventure films from yesteryear.
We meet our heroes at the height of World War I, when adventure-seeking researcher Dr Lily Houghton enlists the services of charismatic skipper Frank to guide her down the river's most dangerous waters. Accompanied by her dapper brother, MacGregor Houghton, the three embark on a thrilling journey to uncover the mystery of an ancient tribal artefact with healing powers.
Although we've previously seen Dwayne face the untamed wilderness in The Rundown, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and the Jumanji reboot, in Jungle Cruise, we see a side of the action-star that we haven't quite seen before. With the former wrestler's shredded physique and physical abilities usually on full display, the actor took a more vulnerable approach to Frank. And taking a more relaxed approach worked when partnered with a force of nature, like Lily. What I enjoyed most about the movie was the witty and quick-paced banter between Frank and Lily; the lively back-and-forth was true magic.
I admired and gave a round of soundless applause for Lily's tenacious and unbreakable spirit - considering the period the film is set and the restrictions on women's rights at the time. Damsel in distress for who? Lily is more than capable of fashioning a makeshift hand glider and rescuing herself!
Last to board the expedition is Lily's brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), who, with a penchant for the finer things in life, is visibly out of place in the deep, dark, scary jungle. In one of the movie's most talked about scenes, MacGregor discusses his sexuality with Frank during a poignant heart-to-heart. It's done in such a subtle and clever way it can easily be overlooked by someone who isn't paying attention. Yet, it still makes a very powerful statement.
What I appreciate about the movie is that all the characters - from our heroes to villain Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) and fearsome leader of the cursed soldiers, Captain Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez) are all fully realised. And each character brings a new layer of colour, mystery, adventure and humour, without drawing attention away from her protagonists. But what becomes evident is the thin line between good and evil, and perhaps that nothing good ever comes from revenge.
If there's a message to take away, it's about being brave, despite what challenges lay in your path, albeit set by society or manifested by your own self-doubt. Dig deep and tap into your inner strength - you might surprise yourself.
If you're buying a ticket for an action-comedy that the whole family will enjoy, you won't be disappointed, but I guarantee you'll be sticking around for the corny gimmicks and dad jokes! So, hop on board this enjoyable voyage if you're seeking a heart-warming adventure with two charismatic and endearing heroes.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: