Jungle Cruise movie… It’s a rip-roaring, rollercoaster of a film featuring an all-star cast. What is not to love! And, funnily enough, it’s also got a lot to tell us about the Amazon.
After all, it can be a bit monotonous learning about the Amazon rainforest through a load of angry social media posts and unconvincing statistics.
So when Disney sends us down the Amazon river with Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall on an adventure, it would be rude not to use the opportunity to see what the Jungle Cruise movie can really tell us about the Amazon.
(Full credit – To Disney studios and the makers of Jungle Cruise).
The Jungle Cruise Movie is set over a century ago, where Dr. Lily Houghton and her wimpy brother, McGregor, venture to South America in search for a tree with magical healing powers.
It features supernatural reptiles, the Rock, and some rather dashing Indiana Jones-style explorers outfits.
Of course, most Disney movies have an element of fantasy, but the idea of the Amazon rainforest having unique healing powers is actually closer to fact than fiction. In modern medicine, over 25% of drugs are sourced from plants in the Amazon rainforest. An incredible figure, considering only 5% of the flora in the Amazon has even been studied. Who knows what else is out there – Lily, we’re behind you!
Another notable pair in The Jungle Cruise Movie is skipper, Frank, played by Dwayne Johnson, and his pet leopard. The duo capitalize on their unconventionalism – no one expects man and beast to be friends, so don’t suspect a thing when Dwayne Johnson is able to beat a leopard in a fight with his bare hands. (To be fair, it is Dwayne Johnson.)
The surrounding people are so concerned with their own safety, they are both willing to act irrationally and just accept what they see to be legitimate.
Here, the Jungle Cruise Movie can give us two comparables to the current situation of the Amazon rainforest. Firstly, wildlife is far less of a threat to us than we are to it. Due to habitat loss and hunting, leopards are soon to be endangered.
Positioning animals like leopards as ferocious beasts, as happens in the film, villanises them. But in reality, Dwayne Johnson’s leopard is perfectly harmless. (But then, that wouldn’t make quite such good cinema, would it!?)
Now, due to our excessive deforestation, its species is far more vulnerable than we are, and it is our responsibility to protect its habitat. Cue – One Tribe!
We are on a mission to protect the Amazon rainforest and all of the species that live inside it, from leopards to magical medicinal trees.
Speaking of wildlife, and Disney using the Jungle Cruise Movie to fuse fact and fiction, another species that features in the film is the pink dolphin. Emily Blunt is warned not to look them in the eye because of their curse – which, granted, may be a bit of an old wives’ tale, but Disney aren’t joking with the notion of a bright pink dolphin cruising along the Amazon river.
Blunt’s character is an intrepid explorer and naturalist, setting off to find a mythical, magical tree.
Like the tree, the Amazon pink river dolphin is a legend – a real one – but like the leopard, has a declining population due to human interference. Contamination of waterways and man made objects like dams and fishing debris are a huge threat to the species.
Protecting the Amazon rainforest is the only way of preventing incredible, ‘magical’ creatures like the pink river dolphin from becoming extinct.
Of course, as the Disney Cruise Movie exemplifies, there are also people in the Amazon rainforest.
Presumed to be threatening to our heroes (are we noticing something of a theme?), the tribe members are ultimately invaluable assets to Lily’s quest, thanks to their knowledge of the Amazon river and its history.
The film finishes in a typically exciting Disney climax, in no small way due to the efforts of the tribes.
Indigenous groups such as the Yanomamo and Kayapo have been living in the jungle for thousands of years, and have unsurprisingly accumulated a detailed knowledge of the Amazon rainforest and methods to subsist from it.
The main take-away from the Disney Jungle Cruise Movie? The Amazon rainforest is not the threat. People are. Unlike in the Jungle Cruise Movie, however, there is no magic tree that can bring people back to life or save the world. The rainforest is good, but it’s not that good. Which is exactly why we have to protect it.
We don’t want to give away too many more spoilers, so make sure you check out the Jungle Cruise movie to see Emily Blunt, Dwayne Johnson and Jack Whitehall in action. It’s fun, as Disney films usually are.
What do you think of the pink river dolphins? Do you think leopards are actually kind of cute?
And, most importantly – are you ready to start the long, and very real, quest to saving the Amazon rainforest today?
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