Blu-ray News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Release Date: July 30th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Disney's Jungle Cruise - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Disney has been brought back to life in its live-action adventure department with the insanely fun and magical film Jungle Cruise, which is loosely based on a theme park ride. It's been a long time since Disney has created such a pure and simple entertaining and fun thrill ride for the whole family. People forgot Disney still had some of that magic dust of its sleeve, but low and behold, the movie giant is back with a mega-hit on their hands with Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson at the helm. Through a scary jungle, vicious animals, likable characters, zany action sequences, and fantastic romance - Disney, Blunt, and Johnson bring back that nostalgic wonder that made everyone revert back to being a kid when watching Disney films with Jungle Cruise

 Coming to Disney + and Theaters July 30th - Order Your Tickets On Fandango!

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
July 30th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Jungle Cruise has been in development hell for almost two decades. At one time, Disney wanted to take Woody and Buzz Lightyear themselves (Tom Hanks and Tim Allen) and put them smack dab in the center of Jungle Cruise. Years passed and the squared circle jabroni beater Dwayne Johnson, along with the amazing actress Emily Blunt stepped aboard the project with horror director Jaume Collet-Serra (House Of Wax, Orphan, a few Liam Neeson thrillers) to create an amazing trio that began a creative process that resulted in something truly special. One of the elements that work so well with Jungle Cruise is that it never placates its audience and continues to push the bounds of all genres with its PG-13 rating, much like Raiders Of The Lost Ark or Temple of Doom did so long ago. In fact, big influences can be seen across the screen with Raiders, Romancing The Stone, and Pirates Of The Caribbean with its own unique Jungle-themed twist. 

Jungle Cruise is set during the WWI era and follows boat captain Frank Wolff (Johnson), as he helms the fastest hunk of junk (with surprises) on the river with scientist Dr. Lily Houghton (Blunt), and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitewall) in tow. Their mission is to find the infamous Tree Of Life, which is said to have the ultimate healing powers that could in turn be used for modern medicine around the globe. Unfortunately, there is a sinister Imperial German aristocrat named Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who wants to steal this Tree for himself so he can use it for nefarious deeds to take over and rule the world. Throughout this journey, there is almost certain peril, frightening supernatural monsters, a wonderful large cat, and all of the action on water one could handle. 

As the film plays out, there are flashbacks to origin stories that explain some of the supernatural elements, along with some tidbits on Frank's secret past life. This weaves the narrative of the story in a way that audiences can bond with Frank, but also the other characters who seem to be fish-out-of-water on Frank's rusty old boat. Jaume utilizes his artistic eye to perfectly capture the thrilling action, but also the more dramatic moments that are full of emotion as Lily and Frank grow on one another.

While the director uses some scarier imagery with some of the monsters of the film, it's quick to throw in some slapstick and physical comedy for the younger audience resulting in the perfect dish of thrills and comedic performances. Additionally, the romantic angle is something from the '80s (again think Romancing The Stone and less Jewel of the Nile) and grows organically over the course of the film. Lily is never really in need of saving since she can handle herself well enough and constantly calls out the men who are by her side if they are in the wrong. It's a natural flow of character chemistry and it just oozes off-screen in the best ways. 

Meanwhile, Whitewall is having a blast being the germaphobe who turns into a warrior with a topical element to his character. And of course, Plemmons as the villain is just living his best life as the over-the-top bad guy with great threads. Edgar Ramirez and Paul Giamatti are in small-yet-pivotal fun roles as well. Then there is Dwayne Johnson looking like a giant version of Bogart's Charlie from the African Queen. He's as charming as ever with his elaborate and hilarious puns and dad jokes throughout the film but there's also a more tender side to him this time around too ash struggles with his past and his eventual love for Lily.

It's easy to see why this film works so well, due to the incredible script written by the Bad Santa scribes along with the man who wrote Blade Runner 2049, American Gods, and Logan. It's non-stop fun with great performances all around and changes the game a little bit here. There's a terrific action sequence when Lily and Frank are about to swing on a vine above dangerous ground, and it doesn't go as swimmingly as it has in other films, which is one of the bright and original spots in the film. James Newton Howard's score is remarkably fantastic and always adds to the suspense, comedy, and romance of each scene, and eventually becomes a character itself. 


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


Final Thoughts

Jungle Cruise is what made Disney so great all those years ago and has elements of Amblin movies by Spielberg and that certain magic that just captures everyone's inner child that makes them believe in something great again. This is a movie built for entertainment value and it delivers. What a fun ride. HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION! 

 Coming to Disney + and Theaters July 30th - Order Your Tickets On Fandango!