Jungle Cruise

Mangrove Swamp

Jungle Cruise is a 2021 adventure-comedy movie, starring Dwayne Johnson. Way before it was a Disney+ film though, it was a Disneyland ride. In this ride, tourists are transported in safari boats, reminiscent of the African Queen, through jungle waterways populated with various animatronic creatures. It was one of the park’s original rides, one that I first rode as a small child. Looking backwards, telescoped by time this theme park experience occurred somewhat contemporary to another boat tour that I took on the far side of the world, on Bangkok’s klongs. The klongs or canals are waterways that still crisscross that city. Back when I toured them Thailand was very much a third-world country. The klongs were lined with houses and the people who lived there used the waterways for everything, transportation, drinking water, bathing and as sewers. Somehow in my child’s mind, these two tour boat experiences became conflated, even though one was make believe, while the other was a way of life. Layered over these ancient memories is this new movie, which is set in the Amazon. The theme park ride is nonspecific and draws from jungles around the world. The movie makes a nod to this difference by including the ride’s animatronic hippo, even though they are not native to the Amazon. Like on the ride though, Johnson as Frank, the movie’s cruise boat captain is an endless fountain of bad dad jokes. I mention this, because next week I will be taking another jungle cruise.

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