Are you looking for a family friendly action/adventure/comedy that will be good entertainment for the entire family? Then look no further than the Disney Live Action film JUNGLE BOOK.
Yes…Disney has made another movie based on one of it’s them park rides and this one is more like the first PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN film than most of the other attempts.
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (several Liam Neeson action flicks like NON-STOP), JUNGLE CRUISE is part PIRATES, part INDIANA JONES and part AFRICAN QUEEN (look it up, kids) as we follow an adventurous young lady in the 1910’s. She heads to the Amazon and hires a ne’er do well Jungle Cruise skipper to take her up river.
Pretty standard set-up, right? We’ve seen this “mis-matched” frenemies premise before but in the hands of Emily Blunt and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, it is a very entertaining (albeit familiar) ride with 2 tremendously charismatic performers working off each other very well and they look like they are having as good a time in this film as we are.
They are joined by a bevy of assorted characters that help fill out this journey. Edgar Ramirez and Veronica Falcon are enjoyable enough as a couple of characters along the way, while Jack Whitehall surprised the heck out of me as the wimpy brother to Blunt’s character who becomes more and more three dimensional as the film progressed – something I didn’t think this film would even think about doing.
A pair of wiley veterans – Jesse Plemons and good ol’ Paul Giamatti – are also on board and each add some (but not a lot) to this film. Plemons is the main villain and he just wasn’t villainous enough for my tastes while I wanted much, much more of Giamatti’s character than was in this film (and it is a rare film, indeed, that you are left wanting more with a Giamatti character).
But make no mistake, this is a Rock and Blunt flick and these two professionals hold the center of this film together very, very well.
Director Collet-Serra keeps the action (and comedy) moving along at about the right pace, never dwelling too long on any of the plot points (for if you were to think too much about any of it, it would fall apart) and (for the most part) keeps the action sequences fun and coherent and avoiding over-directing, over-CGI-ing and over-loading these sequences.
Speaking of CGI, the main issue with this film is the special effects work – it is not the best (probably a budget issue) and, at times, you really need to suspend disbelief in watching the CGI and convincing yourself that it is a Live Action film you are watching and not a cartoon.
But, since the intended audience for this film are families, the less-than-perfect CGI (at times) is forgivable as JUNGLE CRUISE provides plenty of PG-Rated action and fun that the entire family will enjoy.
Letter Grade: A-
8 stars (out of 10) and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)
Review by bankofmarquis