I’ve had a run of reviews lately that have ragged on Disney synergy and how each of their latest products (I won’t say films) has been a way of linking to another of their properties in order to boost something or advertise something else. Be it all the live action remakes as of late that inspire renewed interest, and purchases, of the older originals. Maybe its Black Widow using its closing credits sting to sell more Disney+ subscribers with a 2 minute advert for Marvel’s Hawkeye. Jungle Cruise at least tries to…who are we kidding, its a push to shove people into their parks and onto the Jungle Cruise ride with a film so vanilla and lifeless that I find it hard to imagine it encouraged anyone to go anywhere, telling the story of a quest to find a tree capable of saving countless lives with powers of immortality coming from its flowers.
In the end, Jungle Cruise feels like this years Dolittle, a big budget adventure with a decent cast that runs through the clichés of classic adventure films seeking a purpose. While Dolittle had a farting dragon, here we have Johnson’s steam boat driver Frank fist fighting a computer generated Jaguar while his painfully arrogant compatriot Lily (Emily Blunt) describes how her way of doing things is the right way in the most condescending way possible while inadvertently making herself look like an utter idiot. It’s the same formula throughout and each are afforded jokes that feel mildly offensive but not enough to ruin the Disney mood of things. For a film all about twists, there is nothing surprising about Jungle Cruise, no nuance to anything you see in front of you. It’s dinner theatre, all bright lights and loud voices bumbling around in search of some sense of purpose. Ultimately the word I would use that best describes Jungle Cruise is crass.