Movie review: Jungle Cruise
The Rock is playing babysitter again.
If you are looking for something to occupy the under-10s for two hours, Jungle Cruise - which opens in cinemas here today - is here for you.
For everyone else in double digits, this is not a cruise, it is a slog. And a slog that takes a while to get going.
The influences are obvious: a touch of Pirates Of The Caribbean (both are based on Disneyland rides), a number of nods to Indiana Jones films and a longing gaze at the 1999 version of The Mummy.
You have two genuinely charming leads in Emily Bunt and Dwayne Johnson (and even the irritant, Jack Whitehall) but not much in the way of chemistry.
If Blunt's headstrong Lily and Johnson's rogue-lite Captain Frank were allowed to bicker platonically, it would feel more natural. You can buy that relationship. But whenever romance is suggested, it does not work. It doesn't help that here, The Rock is avuncular to the point of being sexless.
There is also the size difference. Compared with Blunt, Johnson is so vast, truly embodying his wrestling moniker, she may as well fall in love with the boat. It has to be said that the entire venture would be better if Blunt was paired with someone more on her level, rather than acting against a wall of pecs.
While Jungle Cruise wants to be an action romp, the action itself does not connect. It could be the CGI (computer-generated imagery) barrier that makes everything seem so unreal and removes the stakes.
Ironically, for a boat-based adventure, this also feels rudderless.
Jesse Plemons has fun with his accent as the villainous German aristocrat, Prince Joachim, but he is oddly absent in much of the film.
His main function is to suddenly lurch it into the supernatural - everything is ordinary, then suddenly he is talking to snakes.
Joachim unleashes Edgar Ramirez's deadly mercenary Aguirre and his team of undead conquistadors to chase Lily and Frank.
One final request for these Disney ventures: Let us see the sets.
Like Mulan, Jungle Cruise appears to be edited in the belief that we have micro attention spans, which means we are never allowed to marvel at the scenery - whether real or CGI.
Jungle Cruise does evoke classic adventure films, but only in that you would rather be watching them than drifting along with this.
FILM: Jungle Cruise
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jesse Plemons, Jack Whitehall, Edgar Ramirez, Paul Giamatti
DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra
THE SKINNY: Rejected by a patriarchal scientific society, Lily Houghton (Blunt) sets out to find a rare flower that can cure all ills. She employs a boatman (Johnson) to take her and her brother (Whitehall) to the heart of the Amazon, but nefarious forces are looking for the same thing too.