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Jungle Cruise (2021)

Dr. Lily Houghton enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff to take her down the Amazon in his dilapidated boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal – a discovery that will change the future of medicine.
3.8 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
3.3 / 5
MOVIE SCORE
Representation
Black
Latinx
LGBTQ
Pacific Island
Women

Incluvie Movie Reviews


Daleyna
August 4, 2021
3.5 / 5
INCLUVIE SCORE
3.5 / 5
MOVIE SCORE

‘Jungle Cruise’ Is Fun but Has Questionable Representation

Jungle Cruise is a great ride for the family -- both the real ride and the movie, but both are also problematic in their depictions of marginalized groups.  I truly enjoyed Jungle Cruise. This was my first theater-going experience in over a year, and the movie’s spectacle and action made it a great choice to see on the big screen. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s charm serve as the backbone of this movie. Disney tries (and fails) yet again at slipping in a sliver of gay representation. In the meantime, the fantastic visual effects distract from the movie’s issues. While the primary antagonist is a hollow, mustache-twirling stock villain, the secondary villains are a delight and surprisingly macabre for a Disney movie marketed towards families. The plot gets much more complicated than I would've thought. The story is even rooted in historical imperialism and colonialism that the film, unfortunately, just skims the surface of. And while I did have a lot of fun watching this movie, it has so many problems that need to be addressed.  Dwayne Johnson plays Frank Wolff, the charismatic, adventuresome scoundrel that we’ve all seen in action movies a thousand times before. The character, for the most part, is an archetype (which is the same problem almost every character has in this movie). The performance feels redundant to watch because Dwayne Johnson is not a chameleon actor who disappears into a role -- this is just Dwayne Johnson doing what he always does. While I love Johnson, his inability to do something different hurts Jungle Cruise. I know Disney wanted a big-name actor who would sell tickets, but Johnson’s charisma cannot save all the problems with this character.  A plot twist reveals that Frank is truly Francisco Lopez de Heredia, a 400-year old Spanish conquistador who came looking for the Tears of the Moon with the villain, Aguirre. When Aguirre attacked the native tribe protecting the magical tree, Francisco turned on him. At first, I was intrigued and happy to be caught off guard by this plot twist; Frank’s character was pretty boring and didn’t have much depth (though this reveal didn’t exactly fix that). However, immediately after this reveal, I couldn’t stop thinking about the plot holes and questionable casting decisions. Frank is a 400-year old Spanish conquistador who’s lived in Brazil all of his life, so why does he have an American accent? Johnson isn’t even of Hispanic descent -- he is Black and Pacific Islander. When Frank lets his true accent “slip” as he reveals his real identity, the fake Spanish accent is so bad I almost laughed in the theater. He doesn’t pronounce words in Spanish like a Spanish speaker at all. Meanwhile, the conquistador villains keep their accents and speak entirely in Spanish. Why wouldn’t the same apply to Frank? All of these inconsistencies took me out of the movie for a while, and I couldn’t look at Frank’s character the same. What the movie was telling me directly contradicted Johnson’s performance. I was simply filled with this confused, disappointed feeling. 
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Movie Information


Dr. Lily Houghton enlists the aid of wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff to take her down the Amazon in his dilapidated boat. Together, they search for an ancient tree that holds the power to heal – a discovery that will change the future of medicine.

Rating:PG-13
Genre:Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Directed By:Jaume Collet-Serra
Written By:Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, Michael Green
In Theaters:7/30/2021
Box Office:$220,889,446
Runtime:127 minutes
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures, Davis Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Flynn Picture Company, Zaftig Films, Seven Bucks Productions

Cast