Review: “Jungle Cruise”

The half-century old Disneyland attraction, Jungle Cruise, comes to life.

Disney Movies

The half-century old Disneyland attraction, “Jungle Cruise,” comes to life.

Yana Conour

Directed by John Collet-Serra, “Jungle Cruise” is a half-century old Disneyland attraction come to life in July of 2021. 

Set in 1916, the movie focuses on a British researcher, Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), and her brother, McGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall), who set out on a mission to find an ancient and magical tree somewhere near a point on the Amazon. I think that if carefully and properly executed, this plot had the potential to be that of a great movie, however, it didn’t turn out great and was pretty disappointing

Despite it being a rare occurrence for me to fall asleep at a movie theater, at some point in the film I found myself waking to a scene occurring thirty minutes after the one I had previously watched. Within that half-hour nap, I missed virtually nothing, and was astonished by how easy it was to understand what had happened in the scenes I wasn’t present for.

What’s more troubling about this movie is that it included some sort of revised version of a racially stereotypical Disney character known as Trader Sam, who could previously be seen at Disneyland at the Jungle Cruise attraction off of which the movie was based, before being removed because of various complaints about the offensiveness of his portrayal. 

In the movie, Trader Sam appears as a woman, played by Mexican actress Veronica Falcón. Though it’s clear that there was no harmful intent or malice behind including the character specifically in the movie, the fact that it has any ties to anything remotely stereotypical is still off putting. I find that the inclusion of the character sort of implies, even if unintentionally, that it’s okay to push the boundaries of stereotyping and appropriation despite a clear demand from the public not to do so. 

My issues with the content of the movie do not, however, include a critique of the acting. I found that every actor, from Emily Blunt, who plays a heroic expeditioner, to Édgar Ramírez, the main villain in the story, did exceptionally well in portraying their roles, as it seemed they were connected to their characters and invested themselves into becoming those people.

However, I found that the movie lacked good pacing, mainly because many of the scenes seemed almost unnecessary, and as if they were there with the sole purpose of making the film longer. To me it felt like most of it was filler content rather than something that genuinely entertained me.

Overall, I was disappointed with too many aspects of the movie to  have enjoyed it.