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Jungle Cruise (2021)

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 Jungle Cruise is a 2021 American fantasy adventure directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from screenplay written by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, and Michael Green, based on Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name.[1] Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, the film stars Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti, and follows the captain of a small riverboat who takes a group of travelers through a jungle in search of the Tree of Life.

The Story:

In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors travel to South America in search of the Tears of the Moon, a mythical tree whose petals can cure any illness, heal any injury, and lift any curse. After most of the men die in the jungle, the survivors are nursed back to health by a local tribe using the tree petals. When they refuse to reveal the location of the tree, the Spanish destroy the village, and as punishment are cursed to never die and never be able to leave sight of the river.

In 1916, Dr. Lily Houghton and her brother MacGregor detail Lily's research on the Tears of the Moon to an association of English explorers, explaining that the petals could revitalize medicine and aid in the war effort. The Houghton's request access to an arrowhead recovered by Dr. Albert Falls that Lily believes is key to locating the tree. When the association denies their request, believing the tree to be a myth and a female scientist unqualified to join their ranks, Lily steals the arrowhead instead. She narrowly avoids Prince Joachim, a German aristocrat who also wants the arrowhead and the tree.

In South America, Frank Wolff takes tourists on jungle river cruises, which he embellishes with fake dangers and corny jokes. When his boat engine is repossessed by businessman Nilo, he attempts to steal it back. Caught in the act by Lily, Frank pretends to be Nilo and arrogantly tells her that the Tears of the Moon is a myth and that she will not be able to handle the dangers of the jungle, but changes his tone when he notices that Lily is in possession of the arrowhead. Frank's deception is revealed with the real Nilo shows up, but Lily hires Frank anyway after he underbids Nilo and bravely fights off a wild jaguar attack.

Frank, Lily, and MacGregor depart on Frank's boat but are almost intercepted by Nilo attempting to get his engine back, mercenaries hired by Joachim to retrieve the arrowhead from Lily, and Joachim himself attacking in a German submarine. After they make their mistake, it is revealed that the attacking jaguar was actually Frank's pet Proxima, and Lily wonders if Frank can be trusted.

Joachim locates the cursed conquistadors, whose bodies have turned to stone due to them traveling too far from the river, and have been infested over time by tree roots, snakes, and insects. Joachim frees them by diverting the river, and offers to help them break the curse if they help him to retrieve the arrowhead.

As Frank, Lily and MacGregor continue down the river they become closer. MacGregor reveals to Frank that he was nearly disowned by his family due to his homosexuality, but Lily stood by him. Breaking into Frank's cabin, Lily finds photos and drawings of new inventions such as the automobile, but also discovers drawings of the arrowhead and research on the Tears of the Moon. Lily accuses Frank of wanting the tree for himself, but he explains he gave up searching for it a long time ago and believed it couldn't be found. They are attacked by a tribe of "cannibals" who demand the arrowhead, but this is revealed to be another deception by Frank working with a friendly tribe. Frank apologizes and says he was unable to call off the plan, but Lily rebuffs him. Trader Sam, the tribe's female leader, translates the writing on the arrowhead, revealing the location of the tree, and that it only blooms under a blood moon. The conquistadors attack and manage to take the arrowhead; Frank recovers it and gives it to Lily but is stabbed through the chest with a sword and falls to his death. Lily runs away from the river so that the Spaniards cannot follow her.

The next morning, Lily discovers that Frank has miraculously survived. He reveals that his real name is Francisco, and he is actually one of the cursed conquistadors, unable to die or leave the river. The expedition to find the tree was originally a noble one to save the leader's sick daughter, but when the natives were attacked by the Spaniards, Frank switched sides to help the villagers. After years of fighting, Frank trapped the others in a cave away from the river. He then spent time searching for the tree to lift his own curse, but had been unable to find it without the arrowhead.

An injured MacGregor stays behind with Trader Sam while Lily and Frank make the final journey to the tree. MacGregor is captured by Joachim and forced to reveal the location of the tree. Frank, Lily, the Germans, and the Spaniards all converge on the tree, which begins to bloom under the blood moon. The moon passes quickly as they fight, and Lily is only able to recover one petal. MacGregor kills Joachim, and Frank crashes his boat to block the river, turning himself and the other Spaniards into stone. Lily uses the petal to revive Frank and break the curse, only afterwords discovering that due to a shift in the moonlight there is one petal left for Lily's research.

Back in London, the society has offered full membership to Lily, which she rejects. She shows Frank London and gives him his first driving lesson in her automobile as well as delivering a corny jock herself.

The Description:

Jungle Cruise
Jungle Cruise - theatrical poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJaume Collet-Serra
Screenplay by
Story by
  • John Norville
  • Josh Goldstein
  • Glenn Ficarra
  • John Requa
Based onThe Jungle Cruise
by Walt Disney[1]
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyFlavio Labiano
Edited byJoel Negron
Music byJames Newton Howard
Production
companies
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
Running time
127 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$200 million[3]

A feature film based on the Jungle Cruise ride began in 2004 following the success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl the year prior. The project laid dormant until 2011, when Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were set to star, though that version fell through and Johnson was cast in August 2015 and Blunt the following January. The rest of the cast joined in spring 2018, with filming taking place in Hawaii and Atlanta, Georgia from May through September that year.

Jungle Cruise was released in the United States on July 30, 2021, simultaneously in theaters and digitally through Disney+ with Premier Access. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who felt it was fun and praised Johnson and Blunt's chemistry, though believed it overused CGI.

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