Today we have two films that share the common element of Emily Blunt leading the cast. One is the horror / thriller A Quiet Place Part 2, and the other is the fantasy / adventure Jungle Cruise.
A Quiet Place Part 2 (Video on Demand) – The major success of the first film was based on how director John Krasinski actually played on the silence and fear of the unknown, to turn his film into a mini suspenseful masterpiece. The monsters when they arrived were great too, but they didn’t outright carry the movie like we expected the monster movies to. Given that, we can’t exactly expect him to rely on the same tropes to bring this Part 2 to life. And he doesn’t! Just to change the pace, there is more use of sound and dialogue; and a daring opening act that functions as a prequel to the first film. We’re up against the events leading up to this awesome start to Part 1, and that sets the tone for what follows, as Part 2 has the Abbotts dealing with neighbors – friendly and not, and the children Regan and Marcus come to theirs as saviors of their brave new world.
In fact, it’s this really exciting development that makes this 90 minute movie a real thrill ride and gets us excited about Part 3 – a rare feat if you ask me, and kudos to Krasinski for having it. succeeded. If there’s anything that will end up wowing us, it’s the trust in kids Regan and Marcus to take this film to new territory. It doesn’t come straight off but evolves with precision, so we’re not even aware of what’s going on until we’re in the last twenty minutes of the movie. Putting his cast in all forms of danger has never been the issue with Krasinski in this now certified film franchise, and as such, this release is in a good way. It might have been easy to just put Evelyn (Emily Blunt) at the center of this second installment, but it would have been expected and too obvious. It’s a part 2 that works, with an ending that gets us right on edge – again!
Jungle Cruise (Disney + or in theaters) In the Disney tradition of turning their iconic amusement park rides into full feature film franchises, we finally have the first installment of Jungle Cruise. It’s not as inspired as Pirates of the Caribbean (which had more installments than needed); but luckily it’s way better than Haunted Mansion (does anyone even remember that disaster led by Eddie Murphy?). What director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan and The Shallows) and the writers essentially do is take a plethora of references to turn this movie release into a mishmash of almost everything that has worked in the past. as adventure thrillers mixed with fantasy. Here’s a nod to the Indiana Jones franchise, then The Mummy, and we get clips from The African Queen, Romancing the Stone, and even Herzog’s Aguirre, Wrath of God – but all made light and airy.
What unfortunately doesn’t trigger is the all-important on-screen chemistry between Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson. They do well when introduced from the start and do their own scenes; but when they finally get together to embark on the river cruise, you wait for something to gel and it never burns. Plus, in this movie we have what might be one of the first gay characters in a Disney movie, but other than using Emily’s main character‘s brother as the nerve for understated humor, nothing’s wrong with it. is really made of the character. The special effects are sumptuous and the scenic scenes with their sustained rhythm compensate for this lack of chemistry between Blunt and Johnson. And is it just me, or does even the CGI of the biggest jungle animals look wrong? There is promise in the supporting cast of Jesse Plemons, Paul Giamatti and Edgar Ramirez – but only Plemons has the good idea to get the upper hand.
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