Jungle Cruise (2021) Early Review - A Fun Adventure (Written By Hussain Alokaily)
Disney as of late hasn't really made much if any brand new blockbusters and instead have been digging through their vault and remake their classic animated films instead. Sure, there have been some good ones like this year's Cruella which tried to do something new but, there was also The Lion King remake which was just a shot for shot rip off of the original classic. It was because of that that made me oddly look forward to the Jungle Cruise as it's something more original in the vein of the Pirates films. After seeing Jungle Cruise, I can say that Jungle Cruise is a fun time of a film that its intended target audience is sure to have fun with.
The biggest thing I can praise about the film is the chemistry between the leads as Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt essentially carry the entire film on their back. Their chemistry lights off the screen as both of them are very charismatic and really put their all which makes their combination really that much better. Many scenes of the film that involve the two just simply chatting can be enhanced that much more which made the film that much more fun to watch. It's not just their chemistry as both play good characters that have great moments to shine. Johnson surprisingly plays a more selfish character in comparison to his other roles which made his character more refreshing. Blunt also character contrasts really well with her more adventurous and light role that seals the package between her and Johnson that much more.
As for the other cast members, most of them also do a great job in their roles as supporting members. Jack Whitehall's character (who plays Blunt's brother) is in the film as the third wheel to Johnson's and Blunt's characters but manages to add a lot of the light moments to the film and nails a lot of the moments. As for Jesse Plemons's villain role, he steals the show whenever he is on screen. He isn't in the film as much as the leads but, Plemons really lights up on the screen for the moments he has. Paul Giamatti is in the film for a few brief moments but his comical role did have its moments as well.
As for the film itself, what also made the film a lot of fun to watch with its overall sense of adventure. Its overall tone matches the type of film this is trying to be as it has lots of mythology, locations, and most of all, some really fun action scenes. This is something the early Pirates films really nailed and it's something that Jungle Cruise comes close to recapturing. What further brings the sense of adventure is James Newton Howard's score that manages to really enhance the big moments and make them that much more fun to watch.
In terms of other aspects of the film, the VFX and sets are also all great and bring the film setting and world to life. The VFX does a great job selling the world and even some of the creatures which all look excellent and blend in with the film live-action element. The sets also do a great job bringing these locations to life which is a major credit to the production designers.
There are only a few things that don't work in Jungle Cruise's favor. Firstly, the beginning does take time to get rolling which made the first act feel longer than it really needed to. The film picks up significantly after on as it becomes a well-paced action-adventure film which makes the 1st act that much more slow in comparison. Also while the villains can be fun to see on screen, they also lack a lot of motivation. Plemons villain is really just there to be the cartoony villain and the other villain being Edgar Ramírez's character is really weak. Now Ramírez's character gets decent motivation but, lacks overall screen time to make any impact.
Overall, Jungle Cruise does nothing brand new but, is a good time at the movies that is sure to please the family demographic it's aiming for. The film excels with its sense of adventure, fun action, amazing chemistry between the leads and, a good theatre experience. So even though it's flawed in areas, the movie excels in what it needs to do and I'm sure families will enjoy the film in theatres.
Jungle Cruise is in Theatres and on Disney Premiere Access on July 30th, 2021