Based on the iconic ride at Walt Disney World, Jungle Cruise tells the story of Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), a scientist determined to search for a tree with healing properties in the Amazon. She employs the services of Frank (Dwayne Johnson), a local skipper, to help her make the journey.
From the beginning, this movie was absolutely magical because the setting was amazing. The cameras captured some really cool aerial shots, and they filmed the movie in Australia, so they probably didn’t have to change the location much to get what they needed. It’s plenty wild Down Under, after all.
The stunts were pretty great too. Lily is established as a woman who isn’t afraid to go and take what she wants when she’s totally pulling a “Belle” – rolling around the scientific association’s archives on a ladder. Emily Blunt probably had a stunt double for some of that, but it still looked really cool.
Frank is introduced while pulling one of his cons. The entire jungle cruise is — as usual — rigged with pulleys and other stuff, and he swings around his boat with a rope to “save the day”. Again, Dwayne Johnson may have had a stunt double, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cool.
It’s kind of ironic that their journey together begins by Frank telling Lily she won’t find the tree, so it’s better to turn back before it’s too late. One would think it’s to a con-man like Frank’s advantage to tell her the tree exists only to eventually let her down. But it seems his willingness to make a quick buck overrides his cynicism and at least some of his con-artistry.
In addition to a skipper, con-man, and whatever else he may be — he’s definitely more than meets the eye — Frank Wolff is also the King of Dad Jokes. However, many of his jokes are part of the Jungle Cruise ride itself, so it follows that Disney World is the original King of Dad Jokes. Heck, it wouldn’t be surprising to find out Disney invented dad jokes. Dwayne Johnson just provided the impeccable timing.
Jungle Cruise is also a lesson in platonic friendship. That is, Lily and Frank become friends and stay that way. There are indications that Frank and Lily like each other, but it’s never explicitly shown. It’s refreshing because it proves that not every action and adventure movie needs a big, sweeping moment where protagonists of the opposite gender realize they love each other after the craziness that they’ve been through together.