Jungle Cruise Parent Guide
This is a thrill ride of a film, packed with fantastical action scenes, charming characters, and suitably detestable villains.
Parent Movie Review
It’s the middle of World War I and young botanist Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) is convinced that she can find a way to prevent much of the suffering and death that is ravaging the world. Her late father taught her the legend of the Tears of the Moon, a tree whose flowers have healing powers. If Lily can find the tree, its petals could save countless lives and possibly turn the tide of human history.
Obviously, a prize this great is not easily won. To guide her quest, Lily first steals an ancient artifact covered in mysterious markings that hold the key to finding the tree. With her brother (Macgregor played by Jack Whitehall) in tow, she then sails to Brazil and negotiates with ship’s captain, Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) to take them upriver in his deceptively decrepit vessel. But the trip is perilous because cursed conquistadores haunt the Amazon’s shores, Frank has his own secrets, and an obsessed German prince (Jesse Plemons) is tracking them in his submarine…
There’s really only one question that matters when it comes to movies like this: “How does it stack up against the Indiana Jones films?” Harrison Ford’s intrepid archaeologist stands atop the light-hearted action thriller genre and while many movies have tried, few have succeeded in grabbing the same hold on pop culture. As for Jungle Cruise, it comes pretty close. Lily and Frank share Indy’s determination, nonchalance, and ability to crack jokes when danger threatens. (Frank also dishes out some truly terrible puns, but the less said the better.) The film is visually arresting and the action scenes offer high octane excitement, made all the better by the charm of the cast. The plot, however, is more Kingdom of the Crystal Skull than Raiders of the Lost Ark. The beginning of the film is all pulse-pounding excitement but as it delves into Frank’s backstory, it becomes increasingly ludicrous – although it can’t top the total insanity of the aliens’ skulls in Indy’s final film.
Given the genre, it’s no surprise that the movie’s biggest issue is violence. Non-stop, bone-crunching violence. There are countless fistfights and scenes where people are shot at with firearms and are stabbed with swords or knives. Since this is the Amazon, poison darts also make an appearance. But the worst for me are the snakes. Having giant serpents slithering through the jungle is bad enough, but it’s much, much worse when snakes erupt through the skin of one of the conquistadores. This film is filled with jump scares, moments of fantastical violence, and frequent scenes of extreme peril. Not frightening but still disturbing to some viewers, will be the movie’s stereotypical portrayal of the indigenous people in the film. The depictions are often favorable, but they hew to the “noble savage” trope, which is an improvement over more negative stereotypes, but still pigeonholes indigenous characters.
Negatives aside, Jungle Cruise provides teens and adults with an entertaining ride which manages to deliver some positive messages about loyalty and courage and having a meaningful life. Sexual content is minor, despite one scene where the dialogue operates on two levels, one of which has sexual overtones. In addition, MacGregor explains his loyalty to his sister as a reciprocal response to her own steadfast support of him as he faced the challenges of being gay in that era. Homosexuality is never mentioned but the point is clear. Whether or not you consider this scene a plus depends on your own sexual ethics.
For Disney, Jungle Cruise is a thrill-ride of a film that will fill its coffers and keep viewers thinking of the titular theme park ride, which is now being refurbished to remove the egregious racism. Given the mutually beneficial relationship between the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and the films it spawned, I predict the same kind of relationship here. Be prepared for plenty of sequels. They’re even harder to kill than cursed conquistadores.Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramirez, Jesse Plemons. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release July 30, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for Jungle Cruise
Rating & Content Info
Why is Jungle Cruise rated PG-13? Jungle Cruise is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of adventure violence
Violence: Fistfights occur throughout the movie. There are also scenes where weapons are used – firearms, swords, knives, and poison darts. A torpedo is even fired in one scene, causing significant destruction. Main characters are shown dead and injured. A man is crushed when part of a stone building falls on him. A woman chloroforms a man without his consent. An angry man kills people who have disappointed him. A jaguar attacks a man in a restaurant. A man’s hands are pressed down on a hot surface. A man kills a small animal to use as bait. A man makes a makeshift blow torch and uses it in self defense. There are frequent jump scares and scenes of fantastical violence. Undead characters spread fear and terrorize people while committing acts of violence.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss. A couple discuss removing a sword from his chest in a manner that conveys extended sexual innuendo. There is a coded conversation about a main character’s homosexuality.
Profanity: There are three terms of deity in the movie. A scatological curse is heard in German.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters drink alcohol in a bar. Men frequently drink an unnamed beverage out of flasks: it’s likely alcohol. An animal gets drunk and vomits.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
Jungle Cruise Parents' Guide
If a plant could heal all wounds and cure all diseases, what effect would that have on the world? How would it affect countries’ economies? How would it change human culture? How would it affect the way people perceive their lives? Would there be any downsides to such a discovery? How could such a boon be fairly distributed to people around the world?
Related home video titles:
If this is your kind of story, you’re going to want to have a movie marathon with Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For more action in the desert sands, The Mummy dishes up curses and danger in equal measure.
If insane plots are your thing, National Treasure and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets both provide plenty of action along with plots that are frankly unbelievable but still manage to be lots of fun.
Dwayne Johnson has a flair for popcorn flicks and brings plenty of charisma to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level.
Madcap adventure is given a comic twist in the cult classic The Princess Bride. This tongue-in-cheek film is filled with hilarious scenes and will have your kids quoting lines of dialogue for years to come.
Family audiences looking for a lighthearted quest movie can’t go wrong with Onward. This animated Pixar classic follows the exploits of two brothers who are trying to complete a magic spell that will allow them to spend 24 hours with their late father.
If you’re looking for adventure movies for kids, you can introduce them to Finding ‘Ohana, a story about siblings who set off on a treasure hunt in Hawaii and find more than they expect. Adventures of Tintin is a CGI animated film focusing on the adventures of the intrepid young reporter who stars in the European graphic novels. And, of course, the most outrageously funny adventure movie of all is Muppet Treasure Island, which provides manic fun (and some great music) for viewers of all ages.