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Ronak Kotecha, TNN
Ronak Kotecha, TNNSep 24, 2021
Times of India

‘Everything you see wants to kill you, and can,” warns skipper Frank Wolff, who by his own admission runs the cheapest yet the most thrilling jungle cruise. Of course, he has his ways to make this happen (read con the unsuspecting riders with fake antics), but he meets his match in the feisty Doctor Lily, who is always chasing after some far-fetched idea and she will go where no one else has. Her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) joins her mission to find the tree that possess unparalleled healing powers that according to Lily will ‘change medicine forever.’ It’s a simple one-line plot that can accommodate a lot of action and adventure and it does. But for a film that boasts of six writers, Disney’s ‘Jungle Cruise’ is a classic example of too many cooks. Only here, the broth is not entirely spoilt. It certainly feels like many movies rolled into one, where director Jaume Collet-Serra takes more than a leaf or two out of many mythical action sagas. Just like the theme park ride, ‘Jungle Cruise’ focuses way too much on transporting its audience on an adventure cruise and adds more cinematic elements like exciting chase sequences and fights to up the ante. It’s relentless and also overstuffed with new characters that keep popping up, right until the climax, but none of it feels soulful. The set pieces are elaborate and the atmospherics do build the cinematic grandiose needed for a big screen experience. However, the CGI doesn’t hold up just as well, which is a big let-down. It’s high on star power with too many characters apart from the central ones. In them is also Disney’s first ever openly gay character, quite sensitively handled, in a way that it lends depth to this otherwise fatuous film. Dwayne Johnson adds yet another big budget outing to his kitty and is actually well cast for the role. His character’s wit isn’t exactly LOL-funny, but he makes it up with all the action. It’s refreshing to watch Emily Blunt goofily stumble in her role of a firebrand doctor, who spells trouble. Her action feels organic and fun to watch. Their chemistry is sweet. Jack Whitehall lends able support and Jesse is loud and over-the-top as the annoying Prince Joachim. The only thing louder than him is the background score. ‘Jungle Cruise’ had way too many expectations riding on it due to its sheer scale and it somehow manages to sail through. So, hop on if you’re game for a cinematic ride meant for the big screen with quite a few bumps along the way.Read full review

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