FILM REVIEW | Jungle Cruise

It might not have seemed possible, 20 years ago, to create a hit movie based on a theme park ride.

But then Pirates of the Caribbean came along and brought with is so much fun that that idea was blown out of the water.

While the next attempt at turning a Disneyland attraction into a film - The Haunted Mansion - might not have had quite the pop cultural impact of Pirates, the latest is certainly an improvement.

Jungle Cruise throws a big budget at a classic adventure story - educated explorer heads into the wilderness to discover a fabled item.

In this case, the explorer is Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place) and the wilderness is the the Amazon River in Brazil.

Lily is searching for the legendary flowers - Tears of the Moon - believed to cure any illness.

Along with her less adventurous brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall, Mother's Day), Lily teams up with river cruise captain Frank (Dwayne Johnson, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) to find the mysterious location of the flowers.

Adventure time: Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Whitehall star in Disney's latest big-budget adventure film Jungle Cruise, rated M, streaming on Disney+ now. Picture: Disney

Adventure time: Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Whitehall star in Disney's latest big-budget adventure film Jungle Cruise, rated M, streaming on Disney+ now. Picture: Disney

The film has all the adventure hijinks one would expect, perhaps without the memorable one-liners to go with them.

Enjoyably, Lily is shown as quite capable and headstrong - not remotely a damsel.

Less great is the reliance on plenty of CGI animals, including Frank's pet jaguar, Proxima.

The CGI creatures are an unnecessary distraction and remove the viewer from their engagement with the story.

Kids should have a fantastic time with the film, as the action moves along at a cracking pace and the scenery is filled with colour.

Their parents might enjoy a fantastic use of music which opens the film and returns for an explanatory flashback scene.

Metallica's exceptional song Nothing Else Matters is reworked, with the help of the film's composure James Newton Howard, to have more of a Latin sound.

Strong guitars and drums being used to score a Disney film is a rarity, but one that works brilliantly in Jungle Cruise.

It's honestly worth watching just to listen to Metallica.

Shame about the cringeworthy romantic sub-plot though.

Rating: 6.5/10

This story Jungle Cruise film review: Decent Amazon adventure first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.