Ancient myths make for great stories. They are human stories about human characters going on extraordinary adventures that challenge both the protagonist and the audience.
The 2016 animated Disney movie Moana tells the story of a young lady named Moana Waialiki (Auli’i Cravalho). She is the daughter of a Polynesian chief who must save her island and her people. For time immemorial, her people have traveled the seas. But now the crops are dying and the sea is not yielding fish to the fisherman.
Believing the myth that the g-d Maui (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is responsible for this curse, she goes on a journey to find him and force him to return the heart he carries to its rightful owner.
This movie is really good. It is charming, entertaining, and completely adorable. The Rock is at the top of his game and Cravalho is a lovely addition to the Disney princess line. Moana is determined, independent, fearless, and perhaps a little naive about the expedition she is about to go on.
When a company such as Disney chooses to make a movie based on one of the rides in their theme parks, the requirements for a successful adaptation are different than another IP. The writer(s) are only limited by their imaginations. However, there must also be some adherence to the original context, even if it comes out of an unorthodox direction.
The new Disney movie, Jungle Cruise premiered this weekend on DisneyPlus. Taking place during World War I, Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) desperately wants to be accepted by the scientific community. But because she is a woman, her work means nothing. Wanting to prove the naysayers wrong, Lily and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) travel to the Amazon. Her goal is to prove that a centuries-old curse is not a myth, but the truth. Their guide is the smartass Captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), whose boat looks like it could sink at every turn.
As they get deeper into the jungle, the secrets and dangers slowly reveal themselves. On their heels is Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons), who has his own reasons for wanting the magic that is supposedly promised in the stories.
This film is an interesting hybrid of The Mummy and The African Queen. Blunt and Johnson have decent chemistry. I appreciated that Blunt’s character. She certainly breaks the mold in terms of how women in his genre are seen and treated. I also appreciated that one of the main characters is LGBTQ and while they may seem to neatly fit into a stereotype, they don’t.
Overall, it was enjoyable. But I wouldn’t call it completely memorable. For an action/adventure, it was decent, but not as thrilling as it could have been.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Jungle Cruise is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.
The premise of Young Rock is that The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) is running for President in 2032. He sits down with an interviewer to tell his story.
On Kenan (Kenan Thompson) the title character is a television host and a recent widower living in Atlanta. Supported by his brother, Gary (Chris Redd) and his father-in-law Rick (Don Johnson), he is attempting to put his life together after his wife’s passing.
I told myself that I wanted to give both shows on a shot. Now that I have, I can move on. Young Rock is boring and Kenan is just a modern reboot of Full House.
Do I recommend them? No.
Kenan and Young Rock air consecutively at 8:00 and 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday.
Every film genre has its own basic narrative structure. The question is, does the screenplay blindly follow that narrative structure or is it used as merely the bones of the story?
The disaster film, San Andreas, was released in 2015. Raymond Gaines (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is a helicopter rescue pilot living in Los Angeles. When the biggest earthquake in history hits California, his daughter, Blake (Alexandra Daddario) is in San Francisco. Ray’s ex-wife, Emma (Carla Gugino) reluctantly asked her former husband to find their daughter. Putting their history aside, Ray and Emma have to work together to locate Blake.
As disaster films go, the plot is paint by numbers. But there is something about this particular film that rises above what is expected. It is not the best movie I’ve ever seen. But if I was looking for a popcorn film that gives me the chance to step away from my reality for a few hours, this movie is it.
We all have dreams. Sometimes, it takes one person to believe in you to make your dreams come true.
The new NBC show The Titan Games premiered on NBC tonight. Hosted and produced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Titan Games gives ordinary men and women with athletic dreams the opportunity to show their mettle in a series of competitions. At the end of each episode, one man and one woman will be victorious and have a place in the final challenge at the end of the season.
I like the spirit of this show. I like it because it shows that one does not need to be rich and/or famous to compete for what they really want from life. If these people can go through these obstacles to see their dreams become reality, then you and I can do the same.
I recommend it.
The Titan Games airs on NBC on Thursday evenings at 8PM.
Like many that live with mental illness, The Rock is genetically disposed toward living with depression. His mother suffered from the disease and nearly killed herself in front of her son when The Rock was a teenager.
I find comfort, as weird as it sounds, that The Rock has made a public announcement. Mental illness, even after all of these years, still carries a stigma. In coming out of the closet, so to speak, he has put another public face on the disease. If someone like The Rock can live with depression and still live a full and happy life, then perhaps the rest of us can.