Based on a Disney theme park ride, Jaume Collet-Serra’s Jungle Cruise is an exotice journey through the rivers of the Amazon. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Frank Wolff and Emily Blunt as Dr. Lily Houghton, Jungle Cruise has a rich plot, its fair share of background lore, and some interesting plot twists.
The movie introduces 16th-century Spaniards in the beginning. Their leader Aguiree (Édgar Ramírez) sought the Tears of the Moon and when denied information by the indigenous people of Amazon, attacked the village. For this atrocity, the Spaniards were cursed with never being able to leave the River or die.
Set in 1916, during the time of World War I, botanist Dr. Lily Houghton researched the Tears of the Moon, a mystical tree known for its unrivaled healing powers. However, Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) of Germany is also interested in getting his hands on the magical tree’s healing powers to win the war for Germany. Lily wishes to revolutionize medicine in Britain but an association of explorers denies her and her brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall), access to an artifact called the arrowhead that can help locate the tree. She gets her hands on the arrowhead by stealing it and sets off to the Amazon with her brother. They team up with river guide Frank Wolff there who once searched for the Tears of the Moon. Accompanied by his puns and pet jaguar Proxima, they set forth.
Joachim manages to rescue the cursed Spaniards and teams up with them to retrieve the arrowhead from Lily and co. Some interesting action sequences and revelations later, Lily and Frank finally reach the tree where they unlock a fantastic stone structure by the waterfall. Joachim finds out about her whereabouts by capturing her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) and in the end, fails to do so while Lily succeeds in finding love as well as the petal from the mystical tree.
As the events unfold, several questions arise. There’s a lot to unpack about the Tears of the Moon. What do they do? Why are they so sought after? Why did the Spaniards want it? How is Frank involved in this? What happened to Joachim? What happens in the end? However, for every question here, there is an answer!
Jungle Cruise Ending: Explained!
Lily and Frank discover the location of the Tears of the Moon with the help of the tribal people of Amazon. They reach the waterfall and go underwater to activate an ancient relic device that drains the water from that area. It reveals a magnificent stone structure, like a cave, which holds the tree. On the other hand, Prince Joachim captures Lily’s brother MacGregor and forces him to disclose her location. Joachim tells the Spaniards that he will use the petals from the tree to undo their curse if they allied with him for its retrieval. And so, they reach the cave.
Lily and Frank learn that the arrowhead contains a gemstone, which is key to the tree blooming. They fit it into a suitable contraption and the Tears of the Moon bloom. However, the tree blooms only under a blood moon and wilts without its light. Lily manages to be the only person who grabs one last petal from the tree and the fight between Lily, Frank, and Macgregor versus the Germans and the Spaniards commence.
MacGregor kills off Joachim while Frank restricts the river water from reaching the Spaniards by crashing his boat to block it, causing them to turn into stone, as the curse had promised. However, being one of the conquistadors himself, Frank is also petrified. Lily, who has fallen in love with Frank, uses the petal to break his curse instead of taking it to Britain for her research. The two unite and the moonlight rewards her by letting some of its light seep into the cave and letting a single petal bloom. Lily takes it with her back home.
In the closing scene, MacGregor denies an invitation to the Royal Society explorers as a payback for rejecting his sister under the premise of being an inferior scientist since she is a woman. Lily’s efforts have borne fruit and she is now renowned for her achievement to rid the world of disease. She now has full membership and works as a professor in Cambridge and has brought Frank to London with her. As a callback to one of the older scenes where Lily learned about Frank wanting a maroon suit and taking an interest towards automobiles, we see Frank donning a maroon suit while Lily teaches him how to drive a car. The pair are romantically linked and that opens up the pathways for a Jungle Cruise sequel.
What is the Tears of the Moon?
The mystical tree which is the crux of the Jungle Cruise movie is the Tears of the Moon. Bearing magical petals with healing powers, the tree has always been highly sought after. The petals are supposed to cure one from any disease and break any curse. It blooms only under a blood moon and wilts quickly as the moon passes.
The society from Lily’s time considers this extraordinary tree to be a myth. And yet, Lily is determined to get those petals, hoping that she can use it to save millions of lives.
To find the tree, one would require an ancient relic of an arrowhead with inscriptions on them. The Royal Society explorers managed to procure it but they are reluctant on letting Lily have it as they do not take her or her research seriously, claiming that female scientists are inferior. She manages to purloin it and when Frank finds out about her having it, he ensures that he is the skipper Lily embarks on the journey with.
Who searched for the Tears of the Moon before?
The 16th-century Spanish conquistadors were the ones searching for the Tears of the Moon. In fact, that’s where the movie begins. Their leader, Aguirre, had a daughter suffering from a mortal illness which drove him to go on a quest for the petals of the Tears of the Moon. Frank, whose name is Francisco, was one of the Spaniards and Aguirre’s men in the search. More and more men died along the journey and Aguirre grew villainous.
As things got more hopeless, an indigeneous tribe aided them by coming to their rescue and used the petals from Tears of the Moon to save them. Aguirre asked them for the tree’s location but to his disappointment, they denied. Enraged, he led his men to attack the village, killing its people and burning it to the ground. However, the chief of the village cursed them to live forever and be bound by the river, not adhering to which they would turn to stone or monsters made of the Amazonian wildlife.
Who is Frank Wolff?
Francisco or Frank was one of the conquistadors in Aguerre’s army. In the movie, he is initially seen as a regular Amazon river guide who tells Lily that the Tears of the Moon is nothing but a myth. However, after coming across his cabin, Lily realises that he sought after the mystical tree himself and was after the arrowhead. She tells him that she has the arrowhead and joins her in her quest. With the help of his tribal friends, he pushes himself, Lily, and her brother MacGregor into a fake danger where they are made to believe that they will be eaten by cannibals unless they give them their arrowhead. During an encounter with Joachim and the Germans, he gets stabbed through the heart while trying to save Lily and prevent the cursed conquistadors (aka the Spaniards) from getting their hands on the artifact. As the river washes away his body, Lily and MacGregor believe that Frank is dead.
Later, they find that Frank is in fact alive. Shocked by this revelation, he shares that he was one of the men in Aguerre’s army and was cursed alongside the other conquistadors, which is why he could not die and was river bound forever. He searched for the Tears of the Moon himself for centuries but without the arrowhead, it was all in vain. He wanted to find the tear to break his curse, as the tree’s petals could break any curse and was the cartographer who drew the map that Lily is seen following since he knew the river inside out.
During Aguerre’s time searching for the Tears of the Moon, Frank helped the villagers when the Spaniards attacked, which made him Aguirre’s eternal enemy. They fought alongside the river for ages. However, Frank grew tired of the constant attacks by Aguirre and his conquistadors and managed to cut them off from the river by inching them towards a cave. As they could not see the Amazon anymore, they turned to stone or monsters. Lanter, German Prince Joachim frees them and recruits them to stop Lily.
What inspired Frank’s corny puns?
Post the 1960s, the skippers from the Jungle Cruise in the theme park began to crack puns to entertain the people, one of their famous jokes being that of the lion eating a zebra ‘on the rocks’ and sharing the meal with ‘pride’. Collet-Serra implements this flavor in the movie by making Frank crack some puns here and there such as:
“The rocks you see here in the river are sandstones. But some people just take them for granite.”
He also makes a pun about getting ‘canned’ from the orange juice factory where he previously worked because he couldn’t ‘concentrate’.
Is there any other Easter Egg in the movie?
Dr. Albert Falls is a fictional character introduced in the Jungle Cruise/Adventureland universe as a joke. He has seemingly ‘discovered’ the famous Schweitzer Falls in this fictional world. As the Jungle Cruise backstory grew from 2015, so did the character of Albert Falls. The books and items he wrote and found during his travels as a skipper are found in Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel.
In the movie Jungle Cruise, Dr. Albert Falls appears as an ‘offline character’ who is known for having written the travel documents and maps and possessed the arrowhead. As Lily breaks into the archives of the English archaeological society, she finds the arrow in a crate labeled ‘Dr. A. Falls’. He is also briefly mentioned a couple of times during Lily and Frank’s conversations.
Will there be a sequel?
Talks of a sequel are supposedly in the air as The Rock is meeting with Disney regarding its sequel. As the Jungle Cruise ride covers not just the Amazon but also the Nile, the Mekong, and the Congo, the sequels of the franchise could take the audience down the new waters. It could also ‘dive into’ some other possible attractions that come with the ride.