‘Jungle Cruise’ – a review

Having gone on several of the Disney rides in locations other than in the US, I had no first-hand knowledge of what it might be like.

That aside, I have had a wealth of old movie viewing to fuel my imagination for what to expect, and those experiences didn’t let me down. Hollywood’s vision of the jungle has not changed much in the last 50 odd years.

And, with the Humphrey Bogart classic, The African Queen, firmly planted in the back of my mind, and this latest venture set in the same period, I was ready for anything the jungle could throw at me.

In this outing, the premise is a treasure hunt, not for actual treasure, but a life saving flower that grows on a tree somewhere in the jungle. Adventurers have been seeking it for many centuries, including a hapless expedition of Spaniards.

It was, as it should be, the stuff of legends.

We have all the usual suspects, man eating natives, poison darts, killer creatures including lots of snakes (and I hate snakes), rapids and waterfalls. And, yes, there’s the boat being saved at the last second from going over the edge. I had to wonder if that was a ‘feature’ of the ride in reality.

Visually, the jungle never looked better. If indeed, it was the actual jungle.

Like ‘The Mummy’ there is the hapless brother providing the comic light relief, and, I have to say, he did it quite well.

There is the strong willed, self-sufficient woman ready to face any danger, well, just about everything, except for one simple fear, for which it seems all superheroes have that makes them human.

And the fact she wears pants is the running gag.

Then there’s the Skipper, not the captain, of the boat, who needs no introduction. Oddly though, he drives the boat like it’s an instalment of Fast and Furious. And for those who remember a kangaroo called Skippy, will not be surprised by the heroines retort when he calls her ‘pants’.

Of course, it would not be as exciting if there wasn’t the archetypal baddie and being set around the time of the first world war, it had to be a German who is seeking the ‘prize’ in order to win the war for Germany. It was played with just about the right amount of dripping menace.

For light-hearted entertainment, and one of the better two hours I’ve spent in a movie theatre, there are, surprisingly, a few twists and turns you don’t expect.

Then there is an obvious rapport between the two leads, sometimes missing in stories like these, but their relationship didn’t get in the way of reaching the satisfactory conclusion.

All in all, it was one of the more entertaining films I’ve seen in a while, one where at the end, I found myself wanting more. Perhaps it will be like Pirates of the Caribbean, and we’ll get to go on another ‘cruise’.

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