Jungle Cruise, rated PG-13
Jungle Cruise, the latest Disney film to be inspired by one of their theme park attractions, is an entertaining action/adventure film, that includes a lot of humor, though may be too dark and scary for very young children. The film, which had a budget of approximately $200 million, was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter, Non-Stop), and had a team of five writers.
The film opens in 1916, with MacGregor Houghton, played by British comedian Jack Whitehall, trying to convince the Royal Academy in London to finance an expedition into the Amazon to find the Tears of the Moon tree, the petals of which are said to have healing powers. While he is speaking, his sister, Lily, played by Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), sneaks into the archives of the Academy and steals an arrowhead from the last Amazon expedition, which is key to unlocking the location of the tree. Lily steals the arrowhead just as German Joachim, played by two-time Emmy nominee Jesse Plemons (Fargo, Black Mirror) is set to collect it after making a large donation to the Academy.Frank Wolff, played by Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji, Moana), is the skipper of a small jungle cruise boat on the Amazon. Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) plays the gold-toothed, harbor master Nilo, who owns all of the other boats in the harbor, and to whom Frank owes money. Frank’s passengers have to endure the same corny jokes and fake dangers as those who have gone on the Disney World attraction.
Lily gathers up maps belonging to her legendary father and travels with MacGregor to the Amazon to find the Tears of the Moon tree. Lilly hires Frank to take she and MacGregor to the tree.
Along the way, they run into many dangers, including a German submarine captained by Prince Joachim. There are chases, fights and other surprises.
Content issues are minimal. One of the major characters shares that he is gay in a very unnecessary scene. The film would be too scary and dark for young children, perhaps under the age of 8.
The cast was strong, led by Johnson, Blunt and Whitehall. The soundtrack by nine-time Oscar nominee James Newton Howard (News of the World, Defiance, Michael Clayton), added a lot of the film, which did feel overly long at 2 hours and 7 minutes.
Overall, Jungle Cruise was an entertaining summer film with minimal content concerns.