Jungle Cruise

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Jungle Cruise Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Ride-based adventure is fun, if predictable; peril, scares.
  • PG-13
  • 2021
  • 127 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 52 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

Promotes courage, perseverance, teamwork. Characters work together and think creatively to defeat a curse, vengeful enemies, a sociopathic villain. Characters' stories/journeys promote idea of personal growth and value of acceptance and living a nontraditional life. You don't have to be what everyone expects you to be.

Positive Role Models

Lily is a pioneering botanist and adventurer -- a Ph.D. who's never afraid of being the only woman in a room. She's brave, smart, resourceful, goes after what she wants (often bending rules to do so). Frank is knowledgeable, protective. Both are willing to put themselves in danger for their missions -- and each other. MacGregor is a dedicated brother who accompanies and supports Lily; he implies but never says outright that she was the only person who stuck by him when he realized he was gay. Native Amazonians are initially portrayed as cannibal warriors out to capture (and eat) foreigners, but (spoiler alert) it turns out to be for show. Still, the story exploits those stereotypes and certain others (MacGregor is fussy and high maintenance, Joachim is cartoonishly German, etc.), and Joachim's accent is played for humor.

Violence

Frequent peril/tension, action violence, physical comedy, creepy imagery -- including conquistadores being turned to stone or coming back to "life" while made of bees, snakes, etc. Native Amazonians are killed, a villain is squashed. At one point, it's suggested that a key character has died. People get abducted, slapped, stabbed, bitten by snakes and piranhas, threatened/attacked by a jaguar. Falls, chases, explosions. Torpedo and guns fired, swords and knives brandished. A villain callously smashes bees. Amazonians are described as cannibals, but (spoiler alert) it's just for show. Arguments/yelling.

Sex

Lily and Frank banter and flirt, eventually sharing longing looks. Characters share a kiss. A conversation about extracting a knife borders on suggestive.

Language

"Oh my God," "ruddy," "fresh hell," "crusty old farts," "shove it up your association," "booga booga," "wimpy," etc.

Consumerism

This movie is based on/promotes a Disney ride. Lots of merchandise tie-ins off camera.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink in taverns, where some background characters seem to be drinking heavily. Characters drink whiskey from a flask, liquor from bottles. A jaguar drinks spilled wine, gets tipsy. MacGregor brings an entire suitcase of liquor on board.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jungle Cruise is an action-fantasy adventure inspired by the classic Disneyland ride. Set in 1916, it follows intrepid Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), who hires skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) to guide her and her brother down the Amazon River in search of a mythical healing tree. Violence and peril are the biggest issues: Expect frequent danger, creepy cursed villains (as well as a cartoonishly evil German baddie), weapons (guns, torpedoes, swords, knives), an implied significant death (and some actual less significant ones), threatening snakes, and a jaguar that looks more vicious than she actually is. Adult characters drink from flasks and bottles, and an animal gets tipsy. One conversation about removing a knife from someone's body could be perceived as suggestive (though the double meaning will likely go over kids' heads), and there's some flirty banter and a couple of kisses. Without saying it outright, one character comes out to another, who's supportive. While main characters demonstrate impressive courage, perseverance, and teamwork, the movie's initial depiction of Native Amazonians as a tribe of angry cannibals is concerning, even though (spoiler alert) it turns out it's largely for show.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3, 9, and 12-year-old Written byAshley R. July 31, 2021

Exciting Family Fun

Jungle Cruise actually exceeded my expectations. It was a fun adventure movie, similar to movies in the “Night at the Museum” and “Journey to the Center of the... Continue reading
Adult Written bymac001 August 9, 2021

Surprised at the sexual innuendo

I thought this movie was a little more violent that we anticipated for a Disney kids movie, with more gore (implied or otherwise). My 11 year old left the theat... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byollybee August 3, 2021
I went to see this Jungle Cruise in theaters with my siblings ages 8-14 and we all LOVED it! it was action packed from start to finish, with lots of twists and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 29, 2021

One of my favorite Disney movies!!!

Let’s talk about the good first. This is a very funny movie. I laughed so much in the theater. Yet I also got creeped out in the theater. This was a awesome exp... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in 1916, JUNGLE CRUISE opens with bold botanist Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) stealing an Amazonian arrowhead from an elite -- and anti-woman -- British explorers' club. The artifact is supposed to lead Houghton to a mysterious location on the Amazon River where legendary healing flowers bloom on an ancient tree. Lily and her brother, MacGregor (Jack Whitehall), head to the Amazon and hire brash skipper Frank Wolff (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) to guide them on the perilous river trip. Along the way, Lily and Frank must avoid not only the natural dangers of the Amazon but also a villainous German prince (Jesse Plemons) who's also searching for the tree, as well as a group of Spanish conquistadores who need the flower's petals to reverse their immortal curse.

Is it any good?

The irresistibly charming stars help make this adventurous, occasionally swashbuckling ride adaptation amusing, if not as memorable as The Mummy or Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnson can make nearly any character likable; here, Frank's silly, punny jokes are also a fun nod to the Disney ride's vibe. Blunt, likewise, is ideally cast as the pioneering Dr. Houghton. Lily bucks social mores of the time by having a job and a Ph.D., knowing how to defend herself, and even wearing trousers (Frank calls her "Pants"). She also has a refreshingly close relationship with her brother, who's posh and fussy but is still willing to follow her into murky, life-threatening situations. Other members of the cast are underused -- like Paul Giamatti as a local riverboat mogul and Edgar Ramirez as head conquistador Aguirre -- or they overact, like Plemons' caricature of a sociopathic German villain, Prince Joachim. 

The movie's landscaping and production art are vibrant and immersive, and director Jaume Collet-Serra should be applauded for making sure to organically include themes of gender, class, and discrimination against the Amazonian natives -- without being preachy. Still, the movie's portrayal of those natives is a bit cringey, even if the movie course-corrects to subvert the same stereotypes it initially seems to be perpetuating. Luckily, Blunt and Johnson cheerfully elevate the story enough to make audiences gloss over some of the screenplay's missteps and enjoy the ride. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the level of violence in Jungle Cruise. Does stylized or fantasy violence impact viewers differently than more realistic violence?

  • How do Lily's actions convey that she is both brave and smart? Do you consider her a role model? What character strengths does she demonstrate?

  • How is drinking depicted in the movie? Are there consequences for any character's drinking? Why does that matter?

  • Did you notice any stereotypes in the film? Why is the initial depiction of the Native Amazonians problematic? Is it excused by the fact that the tribe is in on the joke/plan?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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