Home Page > Movies Index (w/mixed oldies) > > Movie Review

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Stone Age War Effort

Jungle Cruise on IMDb

Plot Overview

procurement speechIn 1916 at the cusp of the Great War, a Scotsman MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) gives an impassioned speech to the British Royal Society, begging to borrow from their archives an arrow­head retrieved from the Amazon Basin. It's believed to be key to the location of the fabled “Tears of the Moon” tree that “possesses unparalleled healing power.” Finding it would help the war effort, he says. His request is roundly rejected, but his enter­prising sister Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) lifts the artifact from right under their noses, and off they go.

PackingThe Amazon riverboat skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) whom they engage for the expedition is unable to carry their extensive luggage, which it turns out to be mostly MacGregor's wardrobe who is a suspected Nancy boy, while Lily travels light … and wears pants. They are hotly pursued by German royal Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) in a submarine. He wants the tree for Germany. Frank for his part is a hustler with many secrets and jungle liaisons.

conquistadorHaving lost sight of his quarry and lacking the map Joachim pulls a fast one and breaks the mummy curse on the 400-year-dead Spanish conquistadors to get undead Don Aguirre (Edgar Ramírez) to help him locate the tree. It all comes to a head under a blood moon.


Lily's pants are a practical matter for her mission, along the lines of what author Edward Wright wrote regarding an L.A. woman in the late 1940s: “She was wearing a rich woman's version of casual clothes—pressed wool slacks, a cash­mere sweater, and low-heeled cordovans with a man's-style wing­tip design—but they did little to soften her brittle image” (232). Lily is a humanitarian, a lover of man­kind. She rolls up her sleeves and gets busy finding this “cure for all ailments.”

Hitting Brazil in 1916, renowned for its disproportionately high m/f ratio due to heavy immigration, she enters a local watering hole, walks up to an hombre at the bar, and taps him on the shoulder. Immediately we wonder about her interest, but she's seeking information not action.

It's her brother MacGregor who confides to Frank that he's had three offers from women for marriage, but he's refused them all and would refuse any woman because his “interests lie else­where.” He doesn't tell him what they are but laments society's taboos on whom a person may love. Okay.

Lily loves animals and would free the caged birds and monkeys, but that doesn't mean she'd have carnal relations with them. MacGregor loves his sister enough to follow her to the ends of the earth, and Aguirre loved his sister enough to seek a cure for her illness in the jungle, but that doesn't mean they'd commit incest with them. For that matter the German submariners loved each other in a comradely but not carnal way. Seems to me that society is more opposed to acts of carnal love than to love per se. MacGregor is a lover of antiquity, but we hope his interest in the mummies is merely academic, not that of a sicko in a Harold Schechter novel:

“his victims—maybe a dozen in all, nobody knows for sure—were taken from the local cemeteries. He was”—Paul was about to say a necrophile when he remembered Lemmick's injunction against poly­syllabic words—“a ghoul.”

“Someone who robs graves,” Lemmick clarified.

“That's right.”

Lemmick made a little phew of wonder into his microphone. “What in the world would drive a human being to do some­thing like that?”

Paul smiled grimly. “You said it yourself, Lionel. He was a sick puppy.” (17–18)

One man's interests that lie elsewhere is another man's sick puppy. Since MacGregor was a guest of a jungle tribe for a time, might he not have found more acceptance with them? Consulting anthropologist Marvin Harris on What is Marriage? we read:

One of the problems with the proposition that the nuclear family is the basic building block of all domestic groups is that it rests on the assumption that widely different forms of matings can be called “marriage.” Yet in order to cover the extra­ordinary diversity of mating behavior characteristic of the human species, the definition of marriage has to be made so broad as to be confusing. —

Since the term marriage is too useful to drop altogether, a more narrow definition seems appropriate: Marriage denotes the behavior, sentiments, and rules concerned with coresident hetero­sexual mating and reproduction in domestic contexts.

To avoid offending people by using marriage exclusively for coresident hetero­sexual domestic mates, a simple expedient is available. Let such other relation­ships be designated as “noncoresident marriages,” “man-man marriages,” “woman-woman marriages,” or by any other appropriate specific nomen­clature. It is clear that these matings have different ecological, demographic, economic, and ideological implications, so nothing is to be gained by arguing about whether they are “real” marriages. (317–18)

Regardless of any heathen attractions in the jungle, it is doubtful MacGregor will give up the comforts of civilization for them.

Frank and Lily if they discussed marriage at all, did so in its conventional sense. For a proper definition, I'll quote Dr. Ide: “The Con­tem­por­ary Christian stan­dard was defined not by the bible but gen­er­ated by Roman law as defined by the jurist Modes­tinus who argued that marriage was ‘consortium omnis vitae, divini et humani iuris communi­catio: a life-long part­ner­ship, and a sharing of civil and religious rights’” (83–5). The religious rights occur in the context of what the Catholic Church calls marriage being a domestic church, the civil rights in a domestic partner­ship. In South America first one has a Catholic ceremony presided over by a priest, and after the couple is wed that way, they go down to the court­house to have a follow-up civil ceremony. The religious comes first, dominating the institution, God having created marriage in the first place. MacGregor's quandary won't be helped much in Catholic Brazil unlikely to go for the experimental. In later times and other places, the church and state may diverge on the experimental along the lines of one of Frank's jokes: “Had a girl­friend once, she was cross-eyed. Didn't work out. We could never see eye to eye!”

Frank has been getting tired with the vanity of plying the river day after day, same old same old. He's about resigned to letting the jungle claim him. But Lily perks him up; she's a lot of fun, makes him happy. There' a spark of romance generated and they may be on their happy way to a gay marriage à la (Eccl. 9:9) “Live joy­fully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.”

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The story was written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, John Norville, Josh Goldstein and Glenn Ficarra. It stars Dwanye Johnson, Emily Bunt, Jack White­hall, Edgar Ramírez and Paul Giamatti. Johnson is his good old heroic self. Blunt excels as a female scientist ahead of her times. White­hall is good as her troubled side­kick. Jesse Plemons plays with aplomb a German fish out of water. Other cast complete the picture competently. It is based on a Disney­land theme park ride but with an added super­natural element.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for sequences of adventure violence. I might add there are adult issues addressed as well. Runtime is 2 hours 7 minutes. The scenery is claustro­phobic. The snakes are slimy.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

“Jungle Cruise” is colorful if unoriginal. The frights are paced. The jokes are retrograde. The villain is forgettable. The river ride is a trip. Tarzan is more jungle friendly than is Frank. The leads developed a bit of unexpected chemistry. Young minds can wrap them­selves around it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed fun. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for Young Groups. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Harris, Marvin. CULTURE, PEOPLE, NATURE: An Introduction to General Anthropology fifth edition. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1988. Print.

Ide, Arthur Frederick. Noah & the Ark: The Influence of Sex, Homo­phobia and Hetero­sexism in the Flood Story and its Writing. Las Colinas: Monument Press, 1992. Print.

Schechter, Harold. Outcry. Copyright © 1997 by Harold Schechter. New York: Pocket Books, 1997. Print.

Wright, Edward. Red Sky Lament. Copyright © 2006 Edward Wright. London: Orion Publishing Group, 2006. Print.