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Jungle Cruise (2021)

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7/10: Jungle Cruise
Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Just like Pirates of the Caribbean, this started life as a Disney World attraction before becoming a feature film, it was delayed from release for a whole year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but when it did come out, I was hoping it would be a good ride, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (House of Wax, Orphan, The Shallows). Basically, in 1556, in South America there is a search by Spanish conquistadors (knights) to find the Tears of the Moon, a mythical tree whose flowers cure illness, heal injuries, and lift curses. Don Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez) stabs the tribal chief for refusing to reveal the tree's location and destroys the village. The dying chief (Pedro Lopez) curses the conquistadors, making them immortal and unable to leave the Amazon River for all eternity. In 1916 London, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) has been researching the Tears of the Moon, and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) presents it to the...

7/10: Slowly runs out of steam
Wednesday, August 4, 2021

When this was first announced, I had little or no expectations for the film. After all, the success rate of Disney rides turned into movies was very average.But after reading some of the reviews stating that it was an adventure movie that could hold up next to Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. My expectations then went nuclear, and it also had the element of 3D, which I have a weakness for.Johnson and Blunt are wonderful onscreen, bouncing off each other and having wonderful chemistry, which takes away the fundamental problems of the film.The first act is amazing, introducing our main characters with wit and lively action to complement each of them. If it stayed like this for the majority of the film, it could have easily been one of the funniest adventure films I've seen in a long time.However, as soon as the titular adventure is underway, we have more time with Jack Whitehall, who...

7/10: Decent family action adventure
Sunday, August 8, 2021

As World War II gets under way, siblings Lily and MacGregor Houghton steal an Amazonian arrowhead which is apparently the key to finding a fabled blossom with is a miracle cure-all. This brings them to the ramshackle river steamer belonging to rogueish skipper and serial liar Frank, and the adventure is under way.Disney turns another theme park ride into a movie, aided by heavy influences from the ride itself, the Pirates franchise, Indiana Jones, and The African Queen. This leads to the most obvious criticism of the movie: it is very obviously assembled from bits and pieces from elsewhere, and doesn't easily forge its own identity.Dwayne Johnson's Frank is the likeable hunk character which he can do in his sleep, and Emily Blunt is generic feisty, somewhat ahead of her time proto-feminist with annoying contradictory traits of imaginative resourcefulness and determination coupled with naivete. Only Jack Whitehall goes beyond cardboard cutout. His effete MacGregor...

6/10: Solid, if unremarkable, Disney fayre
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A bit like Chris Pratt, I like Dwayne Johnson. He's an out and out entertainer - there is nothing complicated about his presentation, and here is no different. This is just a family adventure film that sees him taking his clients "Lily" (Emily Blunt) and her posh brother "MacGregor" (Jack Whitehall) on a search to find a tree with leaves that might have amazing recuperative powers that could eradicate illness. Along the way, they have to battle a jungle brimming with hungry beasties and with some recently revived ancient conquistadors who have an agenda all of their own. The visual effects are as you'd expect from Disney and as far as it goes this is a perfectly acceptable, lightweight piece of cinema. It's derivative, certainly - it has shades of "The Mummy" (1999) to the storyline alongside a bit of "Dead Man's Chest" (2006) with Whitehall reminding me a lot of the John Hannah character from the former...

7/10: Impossible not to like, difficult to love
Friday, July 30, 2021

Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are their usual, hugely enjoyable selves and even Jack Whitehall isn't particularly annoying. The story zips along pleasantly enough, delivering all the necessary action as it does so and, before you know it, two hours have passed agreeably enough. And that's about it, really...You can't help but enjoy everything while it's happening but, once done, there's not an awful lot left on the bones to pick over. Hollywood being what it is, I'm sure a sequel is in the works. There really shouldn't be. They just barely managed to make this initial movie work, trying to repeat that process will, on the evidence of what we have here, be a very risky endeavour. Leave well alone and move on to the next Disneyland attraction would be my advice. Jason Statham in It's A Small World, anyone...?Kudos, by the way, for the excellent use of Metallica...

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