I love jungle adventure films, and I like Dwayne Johnson, but Disney's Jungle Cruise is a perilous journey into mega-budget awfulness, director Jaume Collet-Serra unsuccessfully steering this wreck of a movie into turbulent waters with a messy script that lurches awkwardly from one CGI-drenched scene to another.
'The Rock' plays riverboat captain Frank Wolff, who is hired by well-meaning scientist Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) to take her and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) on an expedition into the most uncharted regions of the Amazon in search for the tree of life, the petals of which can cure all known ailments. This being a Raiders of the Lost Ark style adventure, the tree is also of interest to a group of nasty Germans, led by Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who has less altruistic reasons for finding the life-giving plant.
Lovable rogue Frank steers his CGI boat down the CGI river, while Lily marvels at the CGI animals that inhabit the region, all the while pursued by Joachim in his CGI submarine. After successfully navigating CGI raging rapids and a CGI waterfall, the adventurers discover an ancient underwater mechanism that drains an entire river bed (frightfully clever chaps, these Amazonian engineers), revealing the CGI tree to our intrepid explorers. Unfortunately, Joachim has several supernatural CGI conquistadors on his side, who cause problems for our heroes and heroine.
The terrible too-many-cooks screenplay, by no less than seven writers, makes very little sense at times: no explanation is given for how Joachim knows how to locate and reanimate the ancient Spanish conquistadors, each of whom has their own inexplicable superpower. Even more perplexing is the revivification of the tree by Lily, who mumbles some unintelligible nonsense, before snapping open her precious stone arrowhead to reveal a sachet of Miracle-Gro (or something like that-I really wasn't sure).
With its muddled plot and overuse of digital trickery, Jungle Cruise is a frustratingly lacklustre ride, but perhaps the film's biggest failure is to never genuinely excite the audience: with his Indiana Jones movies, Spielberg frequently put the hero in palpably perilous situations that kept the viewer on the edge of their seat; it's hard to feel thrilled and exhilarated when Jungle Cruise's characters are engaging in witty banter while supposedly facing mortal danger.
2.5/10, rounded down to 2 for the CGI dolphins, the CGI frogs, the CGI snakes, the CGI tarantula, the CGI toucans, and for Proxima, Frank's pet CGI jaguar.
Jungle Crud (IMDB: 2)
On: 9/24/2021 12:00:00 AM By: BA_Harrison