Disney's Jungle Cruise - Family Movie Review

Disney's Jungle Cruise - Image from Walt Disney Studios

I remember riding the Jungle Cruise as a kid and laughing my way through the ride, hearing the corny jokes, and seeing wild animals and even catching a glimpse of Trader Sam.  The Disney Parks have always been a favorite destination of mine, so when I heard Disney was making a movie about the popular ride, I was so excited!  As details were released and I found that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt were going to star in Disney's Jungle Cruise, my anticipation grew.  After a release delay thanks to COVID, it was finally time to see Disney's Jungle Cruise movie, but would it live up to the hype I had built up in my mind?  And is it something I can watch with the kids?

Curious about visiting the Jungle Cruise ride at Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom?  Check out that time my son got to be a skipper of one of the boats and a full review on eating at Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen

Disney's Jungle Cruise - Movie Review

Disney's Jungle Cruise is a strange and comical journey along the Amazon.  The movie was. . .interesting, and it actually took me a few days before I could write my review and process my feelings.  One thing is certain, you will laugh throughout the movie.  There are many funny moments and one-lines, including these great quotes from Skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson).  Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton is his foil - serious and quite the workhorse, their interactions are hysterical.  The funny moments on the boat were everything I expected from my own Jungle Cruise experiences - right down to Trader Sam being brought to life.

So what didn't work?  Well, I feel first of all that the movie was too long.  Clocking in at just over 2 hours, the movie probably could have been closer to the 90 minute mark and moved at a brisk pace that kept the laughs coming and the story moving along.  I just found myself struggling to get into the bigger storyline - the actual adventure they were on.  

Disney's Jungle Cruise - Image from Walt Disney Studios

Is Disney's Jungle Cruise OK to watch with your kids?  Eh, it has a PG-13 rating, but quite frankly I don't know that it deserves that.  There is some violence, but it's the kind of violence you find in a movie like Indiana Jones. . .not blood, guts, and gore.  I wouldn't have a problem watching the film with my kids, but I worry that without the movie plot being able to really grab me, that it would have a hard time grabbing them too.  

All in all, Disney's Jungle Cruise is a solidly OK movie.  If it wanted to be a thrilling action adventure, it should have leaned into that and lost some of the kitschy / corny jokes and really made an adventure movie.  Or, lean into the ride experience and make it corny and silly - totally a silly film for kids and family to enjoy together.  It was like the movie couldn't make up it's mind what it wanted to be, which left me and my husband scratching our heads a bit to figure it out.  I wanted to LOVE the film and I ended up LIKING it instead.  Come for the jokes, enjoy the laughs, and don't think too hard about it to make the most of your viewing experience.

About Disney's Jungle Cruise (From Walt Disney Studios)

Join fan favorites Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt for the adventure of a lifetime on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” a rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.

Jaume Collet-Serra directs the film, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez and Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. John Davis, John Fox, Dwayne Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Dany Garcia and Beau Flynn are the producers, with Scott Sheldon and Doug Merrifield serving as executive producers. The story is by John Norville & Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa, and the screenplay is by Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa.

Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” releases in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on July 30, 2021.

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