Quick-Thoughts: Jungle Cruise

I love Metallica as much as the next guy, but I already kind of wasn’t that crazy about their song Nothing Else Matters. I must say though, this movie’s rendition of it alongside its “accompanying visuals” made me want to actually shoot the song now. 

“Part Raiders! Part Pirates!” If you pitched that to me right now, as I pretend to be your imaginary stock stereotype producer, I’d have to exclaim, “YES, PLEASE”, but there’s something so dryly uninteresting with how Disney’s Jungle Cruise goes about such an alluring concept. There’s a scene in the beginning of the movie where The Rock (i.e. Frank Wolff) is telling a bunch of cliché puns to his audience of boat riders, and obviously the joke of it all is that they find them to be unbearably cringy. Funny thing is though, a majority of this movie to me ironically felt like a bunch of clichés from every arc to every resolution, to most its quips and most its thrills, that would have me cringing as well. This conundrum truly feels like a been there done that (and far better too) situation in the flesh. From the “Rainforest DLC” pack for the Davy Jones crew to the (like maybe three) over-the-top Keaton set pieces, like mentioned before, this must certainly be Disney’s final stroke attempt at making the next Pirates of the Caribbean genre of franchise while also adding a dash of some “Jones tones” for the archeologist enthusiasts and the general formula of the modern blockbuster that Disney has very much helped establish, crossbreeding the output in totality. To keep things short, the journey here doesn’t seem to operate how it would like its subgenre-blend to pan out. Although, I guess that’s what happens when you hand this demanding burden over to Jaume Collet-Serra, a mixed bag of a director for me who’s (sorry!) atrocious shot compiling of action sequences here feels more Pan (2015) than it does Gore Verbinski’s pirate features. 

Besides the fact that green screen effects can still look this bad — it’s like the Return of the Jedi (1983) speeder bike chase scene all over again! King Kong (2005) basically nailed this technological stuff 15 years ago people c’mon! — the whole picture appears more lost and hastily assembled not when it comes to its effects team, but rather when it comes to its writing; s**t gets so junkie hooked on using awkward McGuffins at any given time that they didn’t even try to make them seem plausible by the end, probably just thinking by that point, “ah screw it; this will happen cause we want it to and we’re done making excuses for it; go home now and please don’t act like you care enough to complain after all we’ve been through”, and by golly they were absolutely f**king right because I didn’t. If anything, it was like I was collectively witnessing an actual crumbling idea fall in full cinematic view. I’m sure someone will find a bit of beauty in that, right?

Yet, in hindsight, I can’t say this movie is a complete unwatchable disaster, more so gearing towards the painfully mediocre and run-of the mill side of things than the abysmally amateur; although if you ask me, “run-of-the-mill” is starting to become the new “abysmal” and “amateur” for me. But yes, this does entail, however, that the expectedly professional actors do give competent performances here, and The Rock’s (i.e. Frank Wolff’s) trickster persona ends up being by a long-shot the most entertaining thing about the film despite how they idly write in and reveal his many complexions. I can’t turn down the Nazi-incentive attitude of good old Meth Damon too, though I wish they let the man go full psycho instead of chastising his peculiarities every time it finally seemed like they were about to burst. Nonetheless, I do genuinely think there are a few clever scallywag gags here and there that do remind me of some A-class Pirates fare [again, mostly transpiring because of the shenanigans by The Rock (i.e. Frank Wolff)] but it only happens ever so occasionally within this over two-hour runtime that feels more like it’s wasting minutes being indecisive of if it should cater to the modern thrills of say a Jumanji 2 (2017)-type framework or rather the nostalgia of its acclaimed adventurous ancestors. In my opinion, it just barely fails in both regards. All in all, Jungle Cruise is sadly *sigh* mostly nothing but forgettable.

Anyways, does anyone else think Emily Blunt kind of looks like Billie Eilish? Idk why, but I just noticed that…

Verdict: D+

2021 Ranked

“Jungle Cruise” is now playing in theaters and available to purchase on Disney+.

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