Trailer Review - Jungle Cruise
Back in the eighties a movie came out entitled "Running Scared." It was big enough to be released in Europe, but there it was called "Two Funny American Policemen." It was a cultural difference which made the title change necessary to something less dramatic sounding and more of just a description of the contents. And while I know "Jungle Cruise" is the name of the ride, it really seems like they just weren't trying from the word "go".
"Quick hide, Ms. Blunt"
Here we are again. I would like to thank the nice folks at Disney for making another ride into a movie instead of the other way around. And as much as I enjoyed "Haunted Mansion" and about half of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films, this doesn't mean a ride film is going make it without a lot of work. Does anyone remember "The Country Bears" ($35 million to make a cool $18 million worldwide)?
So, the Rock (or do I call him "Dwayne" since he isn't wrestling a giant timber wolf in this movie) is in the jungle, strumming his guitar, and arguing with Emily Blunt (or do I call her "the Blunt" since she must be smoking something to be in this movie) about the existence of the tree of life or fountain of youth or Eldorado or whatever. She is sure it is out there because she has a funny shaped stone on her necklace, which makes her Rachel Weise's character from "The Mummy", including the part where she dances around the library on top of a ladder. And the Rock is sure it doesn't exist because for the last dozen years he has been running a tour boat through the least "savage" part of the Amazon. A place so safe, he has to "arrange" the thrills.
"There it is. The backside of water"
-Frank (the Rock)
But because Ms. Blunt is determined and the Rock is greedy, (good guy greedy not bad guy greedy) they strike a deal. So they are off to find "it" before some obvious bad guys stumble onto the secret and accidentally release some CGI monsters (this time they are covered with snakes instead of seaweed or scarab beetles) who will destroy the world. Where are Jack Sparrow or Rick O'Connell when you need them?
Oh, and the bad guys are bad. They have vaguely Nazi-like uniforms. They work with military precision. And they have a Submarine. (I am surprised it isn't painted black though.) Which if we learned anything from "Fate of the Furious", villains have submarines that can pop up at any time and in any place. Even in water that is shallow enough to require the use of flat bottom boats. And they can fire torpedoes no mater how little water there is.
Fortunately, for our heroes, the villains aren't smart enough, precise enough, and their torpedoes can't catch up to a tour boat.
"Just get away from me. That was a disaster"
-Lily (Emily Blunt)
But the bad guys aren't the only things in the Jungle Ms. Blunt and company have to worry about. The Rock warns everybody that the Amazon is full of danger with the line "everything you see wants to kill you." And they demonstrate this by throwing all manner of wild animals at us including a leopard (which must have escaped from the zoo) walking through a bar in the middle of the day. According to the Rock, leopards are so deadly "they can smell your fear."
This all leads us to important questions: what does fear smell like and how can leopards (who don't spend a lot of time with humans, because they are wild) know what human fear smells like?
With all the necessary villain and peril boxes checked off, the Rock and Ms. Blunt can get started running, jumping, boating, and swinging through the jungle. And because this is a comedy, they don't do some of those things right the first time.
The truly scary thing about all of this is how many of these items seem to be recycled from other films, 1999's "the Mummy" in particular. Finding the secret clues hidden in a library. The secret "key" that answers all questions. The intrepid female explorer fighting her way to the lost temple. The hired mercenary who knows more than he is telling. The actual villain being a CGI monster who has a pest coming out of a wound in his face. The only thing they are missing is the intrepid female explorer's brother traveling with her for no good reason.
Jack Whitehall portrays Ms. Blunt's unreliable brother.
Maybe they should give Stephen Sommers a writing credit.