I Have Lost Something

I Have Lost Something

This is more of a discussion than a review or recommendation.

Consequently, I will make no effort whatsoever to avoid spoilers.

You.

Have.

Been. 

Warned.

************************SPOILERS*****************

Busy weekend for Dwayne Johnson. He had Jungle Cruise drop to standard subscriber tier on Disney Plus and Red Notice launch on Netflix.

First up, Jungle Cruise.

Whether or not you’ve already seen this movie, you’ve already seen this movie.  It’s Brenden Frasier’s version of the Mummy from twenty years ago.  For that matter, it’s also Romancing the Stone from forty years ago (ouch).

Woman Adventurer, who has no time for love, goes adventuring in some far-off exotic locale to find the Magic MacGuffin of Whatever.  There she meets Handsome Male Guide whom she finds attractive but instantly establishes an antagonistic relationship with, but eventually, she falls hard for him.  There are a variety of bad guys in competition with her for the Magic MacGuffin of Whatever.  At the end, the bad guys are defeated and the MMW is found, but Woman Adventurer realizes that what she wanted all along was to find the love of her life.  Which, of course, she did with Handsome Male Guide.

They kiss.

The End.

You already figured all of that from just watching the trailer.

The movie is based on the Jungle Cruise ride at the Disney Parks.

“When Walt decided to get into the amusement park business one of the things, he felt a need to incorporate was the True Life Adventures. On Disneyland’s opening day, one of the few rides that were actually operating was the Jungle Cruise. Admittedly, in rather a different form than it is today.  

At first, the ride was played straight.  It was a trip deep into the jungle. Unknown perils were ahead, with beasts and natives awaiting the guests. The Skipper of the boat being the guide and lead actor.  The Skipper is the one part of the ride that has stayed more or less the same; the success or failure of the individual ride is very much dependent upon his performance.  John Lasseter used to be a Skipper when he worked at Disneyland.

The Jungle Cruise was the first ride to incorporate animatronics, (largely because live animals would be at best unreliable performers and at worst an active menace to the guests).  Gradually comedy began to filter its way into the ride and its more iconic scenes began to be added.”

The filmmakers were polite enough to front-load all of the ride gags and fan service.  I did appreciate that the key to the MMW was found by Doctor Falls’ expedition.  Yeah, I remembered the joke from the ride.

“To your right, you will see the famous Schweitzer Falls, named after Doctor Albert Falls.”

The rest were all the puns the Skippers have always told over the years, except the Rock’s passengers were completely stone-faced and one girl kept begging him to stop.  The native attack was totally fake as they were in on the con that Skipper Frank was pulling on his tourists, (hardly a new trope but I could practically hear the filmmakers breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for this brilliant innovation no one had ever seen before unless you saw F Troop).

The action scenes were good.  I was only mildly annoyed that Trader Sam is now a woman (banished from the ride’s canon but sure as hell not from the gift shop).  That was one bit of unwanted Woke.  

Another slathering of Progressive Pablum was Woman Adventurer’s Wastrel Brother confessing to the Skipper that he would never get married because, (*barrel-chested sigh*), he could never marry the one he truly loves.  Wastrel Brother being gay added nothing to the plot and didn’t move the story forward at all.  This character trait was never mentioned again and it was clearly shoehorned in at the insistence of some Disney exec.  And forgive me for stating the fucking obvious but in 1916, he damn well would have married a woman. Probably a strappingly large spinster with an unusually close relationship with her lady’s maid, they would have had a long, happy, respectful, and childfree marriage.

Anyway.

All the actors gave good performances.  Emily Blunt turned in her typically strong, yet vulnerable independent woman trope.  The Rock played the Rock. Surprise kudos to Jesse Plemons for the comedic but still menacing Prince Joachim. Good work Jesse, it isn’t easy to do both at the same time.

I liked the twist of the Handsome Male Guide being one of the cursed conquistadors.  He had been trapped on the Amazon unable to leave sight of the river for 400 years.  They played fair with that one.  There was a stream of hints peppered here and there throughout the movie.  Skipper Frank spoke Portuguese in town but Spanish in private.  The other cursed conquistadors were pissed as hell at a guy named, “Franchesco.” The Rock’s pet Jaguar had the peculiar name of Proxima (Next in Spanish).  Apparently, he gave all of his Jaguars the same name. The payoff was set up and the setup was paid off.  I appreciated the craft.

However, I strongly suspect that in the original script once Woman Adventurer had the MMW she used it to release the soul of Skipper Frank. It would have been a better and more poignant finale.  Which isn’t allowed in something as aggressively mediocre as a Disney movie.  Consequently, the MMW lifts the Rock’s curse and she immediately acquires a second MMW even though there had only been one in the first place.

That way she gets to have everything.

Truth be said, it doesn’t matter because this was never going to be anything better than an “okay movie.”  Not great, not terrible, just okay.

The problem I had with it was the same problem that I had with the next movie.  My hackles were raised during the whole film, and I had to repeatedly fight them down. I’ll tell you why later.

Next up, Red Notice.

My aforementioned hackles were up and bristling during this whole flick and I didn’t even try to fight them down.  This one starred Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot. 

Ryan Reynolds is playing Ryan Reynolds; he’s only got the one character, as does the Rock and Gal Gadot. Anyway, Reynolds is the former Greatest Thief in the World but has recently been demoted to Number Two by the Bishop (Gal Gadot).  He wants his rank back. He will do that by getting the Third Egg of Cleopatra (there are three MacGuffins and they are art treasures by the name of the Eggs of Cleopatra). The Rock is a cop who has been accused of stealing the first of these eggs and teams up with Reynolds to try and clear his name.

The fundamental problem with this movie (which was clearly and obviously) never meant to be taken seriously was Gal Gadot’s character who was the Bestest Thief Evah!

No matter where Reynolds and Rock went, she always beat them there.  She was constantly one step ahead of them with only the thinnest fig leaf of an explanation as to how she got there.  She outwitted them at every turn without trying at all.  The most ludicrous scene in the whole film was when skinny as a rail, 130-pound Gal Gadot beats up Reynolds and the freaking Rock at the same time!

She looked like the worst possible feminist, social justice Mary Sue.  The rules of the universe were constantly rewriting themselves, just to make her look more brilliant and the men more dumb and incompetent.

And then at the end, it turned out there was a reason for all of it.

The Rock was in on it with her from the very start.  

The reason Gadot beat them everywhere they went was because the Rock told her where they were going.  Gadot was only able to beat him up because he was taking a dive, and surreptitiously sabotaging Reynold’s fight with her at the same time.

She had never been a Mary Sue.  It had all been a trick.

Here is the sad part for me.  There was a time I could have enjoyed either of these movies without constantly having to sniff the wind for the sour whiff of Woke.  

If Red Notice had been released in 1995 and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dennis Leary, and Sandra Bullock, I would have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I would have fond memories of it and sadly reflect on how they don’t make movies like that anymore.

The problem is simple enough, I can’t enjoy hyperbole anymore.  These films were meant to be over the top and ALL of the characters were supposed to be larger than life, to include the women.  But thanks to a ton of films like the Last Jedi that played Mary Sue straight I can’t watch something that was always meant to be dumb fun without constantly examining it for signs of corruption.

I honestly think I’ve lost something.

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Comments (16)

  • Silent Draco Reply

    Hyperbole? Thanks, that’s exactly the word which wouldn’t come to mind. Because they can’t get hyperbole correct, they haven’t make a good farce in at least that long. Your re-casting of Red Notice would have meant a Treasure Bath, since Bullock could go that far over the top as femme fatale/ditzy girl, and make it fun. Great amounts of unforced laughter.

    Now? I was never going to see either movie – “free” on streaming would cost me a couple of hours from something more enjoyable, like a hobby or even DIY root canal. I’ll dig into the wayback machine for something simple with real satire or farce, and laugh a lung out.

    November 15, 2021 at 4:16 pm
  • Bryce Reply

    Good lord…you’ve identified the malaise I have with modern films that I never knew I was suffering from. I remember in the 80s my brain going full gamma smrtboi during the first 10 minutes of Commando…until a higher power gave it a wedgie and told it to shut up and enjoy the ride. Still have fond memories of that.

    You can’t do that anymore… as you said, the last time I turned off my brain, Luke Skywalker died. That’s why pop culture is dead. You need trust to have fun films, and it’s going to be a long time before I can trust again.

    November 15, 2021 at 4:22 pm
    • WOPR Reply

      It’s because you used to know what to expect with a film. “Independence Day” you knew was going to be a silly, comedic, action filled, popcorn movie. Now you spend your time trying to figure out the woke elements. Even if there aren’t any or they are minimal, it doesn’t matter. You’ve been primed to spend the movie looking for wokeness.

      I do it and I hate it.

      November 16, 2021 at 3:33 am
  • Dave W. Reply

    A man can only take so much bullshit being shoveled his way.

    November 15, 2021 at 4:52 pm
  • Malcolm Vu Reply

    Dwayne Johnson is African-Samoan and, therefore, not capable of being a cursed conquistador who had been there for 400 years.
    The movie was impossibly broken at the casting stage.

    November 15, 2021 at 5:24 pm
    • Cloudbuster Reply

      By that standard, Yul Brynner was not capable of being the King of Siam. Once upon a time we understood about this “acting” thing.

      November 15, 2021 at 6:50 pm
      • Chris Lopes Reply

        Brynner, a person of Russian descent, couldn’t have also played Ramses II, an Egyptian. Nor could Omar Sharif, an Egyptian, have played Doctor Zhivago, a Russian. Where Gene Roddenberry would have found a Vulcan-American to play Spock is anybody’s guess.

        November 15, 2021 at 7:39 pm
  • Chief_Tuscaloosa Reply

    Dang you Dark Herald. I now want to see 1995’s “Red Notice” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dennis Leary, and 1995 Sandra Bullock, but can’t. That would have been fun.

    You’re correct though–it’s impossible to see a movie with Woke in it and expect anything other than sincere Wokeitude from beginning to end. If I heard current-day Angelina Jolie was going to fight Thanos in the next Marvel movie with an alternate timeline, I would expect Thanos to get both arms broken with a single spinning sidekick from AJ.

    Wish the SDL would hurry up with Rebel’s Run. The audience is dying for it.

    November 15, 2021 at 7:19 pm
  • furor kek tonicus Reply

    Cataline
    I honestly think I’ve lost something.

    .
    .
    meh.
    .
    how long have we been saying that “Comedy is dead because there’s no limit on how absurd Reality can be”? how long have we been talking about living in Clown World?
    .
    this is just the Movie World application of what’s been going on IRL since at least GamerGate.

    November 16, 2021 at 7:21 am
  • Ty Ping Reply

    I decided to watch Red Notice, not expecting too much… and not getting too much.
    I did appreciate the Easter Egg in the Argentinian treasure bunker. I said to myself, “wouldn’t it be funny if the Ark of the Covenant were here? Only a few seconds later, the camera lingers for a few seconds on a wooden crate with some English stenciled on it. I immediately recognized it as the same crate at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    The movie did require a hefty dose of “This doesn’t really make sense, but go with it since it’s played for camp.”

    November 16, 2021 at 10:48 am
  • Guy Reply

    In Red Notice it was obvious she was in cahoots with one of them, making it The Rock (the plot could have gone either way, or even to the inspector) and showing how he threw his part of the fights and impeded Ryan did help the movie.

    It did not solve the two big plot craters, how did they intend to survive the helo missile attack, and how did Gal know the tunnel was open and ended in a cliff waterfall?

    Please note I used the actors’ names, they played themselves.

    November 16, 2021 at 1:26 pm
  • Wazdaka Reply

    My wife has been watching the Gilmore girls. I can’t be in the same room while it’s on. Jewish humor and Christian value subvertion throughout. I will give it props for not having a laugh track though.
    I am blaming Devon Stack primarily.

    November 16, 2021 at 2:40 pm
  • ElRojo Reply

    “I honestly think I’ve lost something.”

    Trust.

    It is the trust that the rug won’t be pulled out from under you at the last minute.

    Woke pedowood movies have been a game of Charlie Brown football for so long that it is almost impossible to not anticipate the other shoe to drop when a move looks good.

    November 16, 2021 at 8:59 pm
  • Linguavert Reply

    I know what you mean. There’s a sense of loss now that goes beyond nostalgia. And I think it’s much greater than the grief that every generation feels when they realize the world of their youth has passed away. That would be the natural way of things — like children burying their parents. But we’re reacting to something else.

    As @ElRojo just put it, we’ve lost our trust in our storytellers. But they lost their sense of responsibility and respect for us first. The preachiness of “woke” is like cyanide in every story they sneak it into. “You’ll drink it and you’ll like it!” Listening to a story used to be an act of trust — one that was enjoyable for both the teller and the listener. But now the tellers are sneaky and the listeners are on the defensive. How can you enjoy anything when you know that you’re about to get sucker punched?

    November 17, 2021 at 8:00 pm
    • furor kek tonicus Reply

      they’re not “sneaking” anything.
      .
      they’re squatting on your face and taking a dump.

      November 17, 2021 at 10:38 pm
    • Codex Reply

      “Trust.
      .
      It is the trust that the rug won’t be pulled out from under you at the last minute.”
      .
      Or some bit or nastiness or calumny or lie smuggled in when you relax your vigilance.

      November 18, 2021 at 6:06 am

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