5/10 Disney’s fight against original IPs continues as they fight to see how much of their upcoming film and TV slate can be sequels, remakes, reboots and adaptions so they don’t have to come up with any original ideas. After the tremendous success of all-time greats like “The Country Bears”, “The Haunted Mansion” (the reboot will probably be called “The Haunted Womansion”) and “Tomorrowland”, Disney thought it would be great to keep mining from their theme park attractions since it worked one time with “Pirates of the Caribbean”, despite the diminishing returns that franchise faced both financially and creatively. I for one can’t wait for the inevitable “It’s A Small World” movie which you know will win all the Oscars since it will break records for its diversity quotas. Anyways, back to this movie. “Jungle Cruise” has plenty of redeeming features but falls into mediocrity due to its unoriginality, some PC nonsense and overall ridiculous nature, no pun intended. In terms of unoriginality, this movie is 30% “Pirates of the Caribbean”, 20% “The Mummy”, 20% any Indiana Jones film, 15% “Romancing the Stone” and 15% a commercial for Disneyland. Many plot elements are stolen straight from the aforementioned films as well as countless other influences. There are some PC elements that feel extremely forced and out of place while simultaneously have absolutely no bearing upon the story. When it comes to LGBT characters, if their sexuality is important and necessary for the plot like in “Brokeback Mountain” or “Moonlight”, then having gay characters is essential. When their homosexuality literally has nothing to do with anything and is only shoved in to meet diversity quotas, it comes off as woke pandering that gets forced in during this movie. I couldn’t tell if the McGregor character was gay or just overly British at first but then we get an out of place scene letting us know he is both. Super important stuff to ram in there. A character breaks his ankle at one point and then several scenes later is seen walking, running and fighting just fine, as if the film makers forgot that the character just broke their ankle minutes earlier. There is an obscene amount of CGI to the point where this feels like it was all filmed in a Los Angeles studio indoors with green screens and zero real life jungle locations. In addition to the script problems and overuse of CGI, the talents of Jesse Plemons are wasted and Paul Giamatti hasn’t been this over the top since his cameo as Rhino in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, which hopefully you have forgotten about. But this movie isn’t a total waste as I must give credit where credit is due. Director Jaume Collet-Serra has some strong stylistic moments and along with his editor, some great scene transitions that look wonderful. The opening jungle cruise moments do connect in with the theme park ride and the cheesy puns put a huge smile on my face. The Rock and Emily Blunt do have some great chemistry and Blunt in particular is a complete delight. You can never have too much Emily Blunt and coming off of this as well as the excellent “A Quiet Place II” has her in front of many films viewers so hopefully more of them are appreciating her too. Despite how silly and ridiculous the movie is, I admit it is a fun movie that you will enjoy watching (unless like Indiana Jones, you are afraid of snakes). Despite being two hours long, the movie is well paced and always entertaining. Finally, the movie’s score from underrated composer James Newton Howard delivers thrills and sets the tone to match the Disneyland attraction expertly. Fun adventures movies are actually pretty rare these days so the enjoyment factor was fairly high. It is just a shame that what could have been something more akin to the original “Pirates of the Caribbean” film gets brought down by a disappointing script and many over the top aspects. I’m sure Disney will be wanting to turn this into a new hit franchise (a sequel is being developed) but perhaps they should cruise on over to some different screenwriters before they hit the greenlight on any follow ups to this.

#CrocodileRock / #RomancingTheRock / #EmilyBluntForceTrauma / #WhenLifeGivesYouPlemons / #PetalToTheMedal / #DirectorHasCartographyBlanche

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