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Jungle Cruise Review

This film reminded me of old school Disney films like the Haunted Mansion, where you had a great cast, a great set of characters and a little bit of real-world madness mixed in with mystical beings. It really pushed your limits on what is in this world and made for a fantastic adventure ride that you didn’t want to end.

Jungle Cruise follows intrepid explorer Lily and her brother MacGregor as they travel to the Amazon River to hunt down a mysterious tree that has healing aspects to it much like the flower in Tangled. When they reach the Amazon a skipper called Frank joins them on this journey, but Frank isn’t all that he seems to be and there’s a lot more to his backstory than first meets the eye.

Of course there are bad guys in any sort of film like this and this film’s bad guy is Prince Joachim who wants the petals of this specific tree for his own dark gain.

This film is based off a ride at Disney World and I was lucky enough to experience ride when I was a teenager and to see it translated onto the big screen was perfect. It’s a great little ride with a lot of puns and quips that are very enjoyable and come through in Frank’s performance and character incredibly well. The timing that this film is set is brilliant as well because it is during that intrepid explorer phase, and having Lily as the main character rather than her brother shows some female independence coming through in a time where that was not a thing, and I think a lot of children could look up to Lily as this incredible explorer and wish to be like her one day too as she is very inspiring.

I was concerned when the mystical bad guys of this film, a bunch of soldiers who have been taken by the forest and moulded with some of the forests aspects – including one being turned into honey through bees and even the big bad guy who looks normal until he was stabbed and snakes protruded from his body – were revealed as I worried how they’d fit into the story. However when the big twist is revealed and once all the pieces came into place they made a lot more sense they were very foreboding and scary characters, and it definitely added a lot more depth to the film then the Prince did. Yes, he was a scary character, but didn’t hold the same intrigue as these other bad guys did.

Of course this is a family friendly film but watching it as an adult is an absolute joy, you understand all the little puns and jokes, the scary characters are still quite terrifying especially depending on your own phobias especially around bees and spiders, and nothing felt too cheap or too dumbed down for a younger audience. It’s one of those films that you could grow up watching and as you get older realise more of the jokes that went over your head the first time, and I think that’s really special with this film because it has that longevity to it.

I will say at parts the CGI wasn’t the best and did pull me out of the fantasy. The CGI of the dead soldiers was fantastic however parts where Lily and Frank etc could be seen swinging through the jungle and other such moments definitely felt very cheap and underwhelming. However overall it was very enjoyable and did make me reminisce of the early Pirates of the Caribbean films, another film that is based off a Disney ride, because of how good the bad guy characters looked in their magical way.

I do hope this is a trend that we see with Disney in that they make more films that are family friendly and not just for children because I think they are the most fun, especially as an adult with no children myself, and seeing as it’s based on a ride in the Disney park you do have to wonder what other rides could be made into films too. I definitely put my hat into the ring for It’s a Small World being a horror movie about killer animatronic children, think about that for a minute…it’s incredible.

What do you think of Jungle Cruise?

Until next time.

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