Following their mundane regime, Disney Studios rips another Walt Disney’s artwork into a live-action CGI overloaded film with no motive. Jungle Cruise brings to screen a spectacular cast starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in an ambitious project. Only if the film had any substantial value of something perceived as “Cinema.”
The theme park narrative follows a philanthropist treasure hunter-cum-scientist, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), on an Indiana-Jones kind-of pursuit. She hunts for magical petals from the Tree of Life that are mythically believed to have healing powers. On her journey into the dense amazon forest, a local skipper, Captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), assists her and her brother, MacGregor.
However, an overused treasure hunt story is incomplete without a cliche German protagonist. An aristocratic german, Prince Joachim is simultaneously chasing the Tree of Life to help his fellow soldiers in World War 1. The film is set amid the War, i.e., 1916. While the story is pretty much straightforward, we’d still like to highlight a few intricate plot points if someone missed them.
Jungle Cruise for Tears of the Moon
The legend of Jungle Cruise termed as Tears of the Moon implied that a single petal from a great tree could cure any illness or break any curse. The tree was hidden in the dense forest of Amazon, and its location was inscribed in a sacred talisman called Arrowhead, protected by the guardian tribe, headhunters.
After the lost expedition of British archaeologist Dr. Albert Falls, the Arrowhead ended up in London, from where Dr. Lily Houghton stole it and commenced her journey to the regions of Lagrimas de Cristal (in Amazon Forest).
However, the wild forest was inhabited by dangerous headhunter tribes and a cursed Spanish conqueror Don Lope de Aguirre.
Cursed Soldiers of Don Lope de Aguirre
In 1556, the daughter of Spanish conqueror Don Lope de Aguirre fell ill. To cure her beloved daughter, Aguirre voyaged to the jungle of Amazon to bring her the mythical Tears of the Moon that could have saved her life.
However, during the hunt, most of Aguirre’s men died, later to be saved by the headhunter tribe through the use of Tears of the Moon. The petals mended all that was broken and gave Aguirre hopes to save his daughter.
However, when the tribal chief refused to reveal the location of the tree and hand over the Arrowhead to Aguirre, he massacred the whole tribe in his blinding rage. Before dying, the chief cursed Aguirre and his men with an eternal curse to never leave the sight of the river again. They were trapped in the jungle for an eternity. History did follow Aguirre but failed to trace the most compassionate man in his crew, Aguirre’s cartographer, Frank Wolff (originally named Francisco Lopez de Heredia)
The truth of Captain Frank Wolff
Frank Wolff spoke fluent Spanish, suggested to Lily that he drew and was cursed by the river, and had dozens of maps drawn by Don Aguirre’s cartographer, Francisco Lopez de Heredia. After the first raid by cursed Aguirre and his men, Frank finally revealed his buried identity to Lily and MacGregor.
Frank’s father was a mercenary recruited by Aguirre’s father in Algiers, 1556. After his father’s death, Frank swore loyalty to Aguirre and accompanied him on a death mission to the Amazon jungle to find Tears of the Moon to save Aguirre’s daughter, Anna. Frank charted the amazon during the hunt, and his maps were later found by other treasure seekers, among which Lily was one.
During their mission, Aguirre got impatient and slaughtered the tribe in his madness, but Frank didn’t comply with his villainous act. After the curse, Aguirre and his men fought a continuous battle with Frank to pass their eternity. However, at some point, Frank got bored and trapped his fellow soldiers in a cave away from the river. Deprived of the river’s water, the jungle curse ravaged their body turning them into monsters. They were stoned for more than 300 years until German imperialist Joachim rescued them to aid in his wicked plans.
Due to the curse, Frank could never leave the sight of the river and thus built his life around it. In these 300 years, he made a boat, Quila, and established the nearby town. However, Frank lived a pretty long life and wanted to finally rest. His heart was yearning for death.
In Frank’s cabin room, Lily found London Bridge images, The Weekly Earls menswear magazine, and motor car posters. These souvenirs suggested Frank’s aspirations that will be fulfilled by the end of Jungle Cruise.
Riddles of the Arrowhead
Tribal woman Trader Sam translated the inscriptions on Arrowhead that revealed the location of Tears of the Moon. She narrated, “The Tree hides where the Moon bled. It sank into the west, over the heart of the serpent, where the fang bites its own tail.” Lily quickly recognized the fang bites code and pointed to the location of the tree, La Luna Rota.
At La Luna Rota, through a mechanism, Lily and Frank drained the water that fulfilled another riddle, “to prove yourself worthy, you must turn water into stone.” With all the water drained, La Luna Rota turned into a location with stones. It also revealed a cave leading to the tree.
When Lily and others reached the cave, the tree was already dead and parched. To bring it back to life, Lily had to solve the third riddle, which was, “Brokenhearted warrior climbed to the highest peak and shot his arrow into the Moon. From there, the Moon learned real pain and began to weep. When the Tears fell, grew a sacred tree.”
Lily finally discovered that the Arrowhead was a heart that hid the gem. Frank broke the heart piece and placed the broken heart and the gem on the mechanism that did the expected wonder. The Tears of the Moon bloomed to life.
The final puzzle was, “For tears to bloom, the great tree must be under the rare crying Moon. Hence, Lily and other hunters needed to pluck the petals before the moon set, and the petals perished again.
‘Jungle Cruise’ Ending Explained
In the end, MacGregor bravely killed Joachim, and Lily successfully saved a petal for her research. Frank sacrificed his life and steered the boat to block the river so that curse would seize Aguirre and his deadly mates. But, with the river drained, even Frank turned to stone.
To save her own world, Lily sacrificed the last surviving petal to bring the love of her life back to life. Frank’s curse vanished, and before the trio could step out of the cave, they found another petal blooming in the vicinity.
It could be speculated that Lily used the petal to develop a medicine to heal and save countless lives. Frank handed off his ship to harbormaster Nilo Nemolato and traveled to England with Lily and MacGregor.
For her impeccable success in Botany, Lily was made a full professor at Cambridge. She spent her happy days with Frank. Frank was seen wearing a Maroon Suit piece in the closing sequence, just as he fancied from The Weekly Earls menswear magazine. Lily tried teaching Frank to drive a motor car (his other ambition), and the screen fades out with a crazy couple on the ride. Like all Fairy Tale Movies, it was happily ever after.
Jungle Cruise is a 2021 Action Adventure Film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It is inspired by Walt Disney’s theme park attraction of the same name.