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Disney’s Jungle Cruise is a thrill ride

Jungle Cruise is a fun action adventure film/’buddy comedy’ that brings an amusement ride type experience to the cinemas.

Travel down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt). Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his boat that is falling apart. 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.

Often, when a movie becomes a hit, it gets turned into a theme park ride (think Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, or Shrek and KungFu Panda closer to home). Disney have a history of doin this process in reverse by creating a film universe for their existing rides. Jungle Cruise is the best example of this since Pirates of the Caribbean.

Jungle Cruise is a classic Disney movie through and through, it even has a wacky animal sidekick.

I loved this movie. Action films aren’t really ‘my thing’ but this one was so much fun that I may actually change my mind about the whole genre. There was laughter, so much laughter, and I actually jumped in my seat. Go along- you will have a good time. Just a note – this isn’t really a kids movie. Some older kids will be fine – others will be having nightmares for months to come…

This film reminded me of so many other films – there are homages sprinkled throughout not just to other classic movies, but also Easter eggs for dedicated fans of the original ride. This film is definitely worth going to see – and if you can -try to see it in a cinema.

NOW THE BIT WITH mild SPOILERS

So as much as I loved this film – it wasn’t perfect. The plot was a bit subpar, although the action and jokes made up for it. So many plot holes… Why does Dwayne Johnson have an American accent in this movie? Why did they have to make the bad guy German? Why is the tiger in the Amazon? Just don’t think too hard about it…

Disney recently had to redesign the theme park ride due to racist depictions of indigenous people. The movie skirts around the issue reasonably well, with the over the top displays of ‘vicious savages’ shown to be all a big show for the tourists.

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Then there is the depiction of Lily’s brother Macgregor by Jack Whitehall. Macgregor is Lily’s bumbling cowardly brother, who is more focused on what he is wearing than the adventure ahead. Unfortunately his effeminate character is more of a caricature played for laughs than it needed to be. He has a heartwarming scene where he comes out to Frank, however the word gay is never actually used. To be honest, I think being openly gay in 1916 would require much more courage than is recognised. Macgregor truly deserves to be the other hero in this story, and not just because he starts to swing punches towards the end.

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This is definitely a step towards inclusion and representation. Are Disney there yet? Not sure – but let me know in the comments what you think.

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