Reviewed by: Eric Tiansay
CONTRIBUTOR—first time reviewer for Christian Spotlight
Exploratory expeditions into remote territory
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Dangerous wild animals and evil people
Snakes in the Bible
What about Gays needs to change? Answer —It may not be what you think.
Dwayne Johnson … Frank Wolff
Emily Blunt … Lily Houghton
Jesse Plemons … Prince Joachim
Paul Giamatti … Nilo Nemolato, harbormaster
Jack Whitehall … MacGregor Houghton
Veronica Falcón (Veronica Falcon) … Trader Sam
Edgar Ramírez (Edgar Ramirez) … Aguirre
Sulem Calderon … Quila
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Flynn Picture Company
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Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
More than 65 years after debuting as a popular Disneyland theme park ride, Jungle Cruise is cruising into theaters and streaming on-line with a live-action adaptation.
So is the long wait worth it? Perhaps.
“Jungle Cruise” is touted as a rollicking river boat thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff ( Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and intrepid botanist Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt).
The movie calls to mind the spirit of movies such as the Indiana Jones films, “Romancing the Stone” and “The African Queen.” However, it’s not an instant classic like those films, but the Disney flick is family-friendly for the most part and lightly entertaining with plenty of humor in the form of dad jokes.
“Jungle Cruise” has a strong moral theme, espousing self-sacrifice, seeking the good for many and touting being trustworthy. However, Christians need to be concerned about violence in this film, as this is the main reason for its PG-13 rating. Discerning parents will also want to be aware of the movie’s supernatural element, which is a major plot point.
Set in 1916 when the world is at war, “Jungle Cruise” begins with Lily traveling from London, England to the Amazon jungle where she enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila (which supposedly translates to goddess of the moon)—his ramshackle-but-charming boat.
Lily, who is portrayed by Blunt as a female Indiana Jones, bucks the male-dominated system at the time by wearing trousers for the journey, which prompts Frank to call her “Pants.”
Thrust on this epic quest together with Lily’s brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), the unlikely trio encounters innumerable dangers from wild animals and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest.
Speaking of supernatural forces, the film features a curse spoken by a dying tribal chief and undead 400-year-old conquistadors who command creepy snakes that could scare small children. Snakes emerge from inside a man’s wound.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, “Jungle Cruise” has multiple intense sequences, including a German U-boat firing torpedoes at people, threat of cannibals, lunging and biting snakes, killer bees, blow darts, machine guns, pistols and rifles, spears, knives, a character being stabbed with a sword through his body and a bad guys being killed instantly by a huge slab of plaster.
Perhaps the most concerning and controversial part of “Jungle Cruise” is the script calls for McGregor to be Gay. He comes out to Frank. Although McGregor doesn’t use the word “Gay,” he says he broke off three engagements with women because his “interests happily lay elsewhere.” And carrying a spear, he asks a man, “Would you like to bite down on my stick?” (an innuendo)
McGregor goes on to say that he would do anything for his sister Lily because she was the only one who “stood by” him while he was shunned by family and friends because of who he “loved.”
During my screening of film, the scene didn’t seem to garner much attention from the audience, and it appeared to go over the heads of my sons, who are 9 and 11.
On the plus side, there are several elements from the park attraction featured in the movie. The most notable is the “back side of water” gag that most of the cast members use during the theme park attraction.
“Jungle Cruise” also offers plenty of laughs—depending if moviegoers are fans of puns. With a dorky-deadpan delivery, Frank delights in saying things like “toucan play that game,” and he points out that certain rocks are “taken for granite.”
Additionally, the movie has a strong moral theme as lying, being dishonest and not trustful are looked down upon. Christian parents can also point out the healing powers of the “Tears of the Moon” is fictional, but Jesus is mankind’s true healer.
Among Disney movies based on Disney theme park rides, “Jungle Cruise” is fairly good—way better than “Haunted Mansion,” but not as memorable as the original “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
On the whole, the Rock and Blunt have chemistry together, which really keeps the movie afloat.
Not recommended for kids under 12.
Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.