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The One Scene In Jungle Cruise Fans Thought Went Too Far

Contains spoilers for "Jungle Cruise"

Throughout Disney's history as a producer of live action films, the studio has a decidedly mixed track record when it comes to movies adapted from theme park rides. On one end of the spectrum is "The Haunted Mansion," released in 2003, which currently holds a 30% audience score and 14% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. By contrast, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" set a gold standard that Disney surely hopes to replicate with any and all future theme park ride movies, even earning a "Certified Fresh" designation from Rotten Tomatoes.

Reception-wise, "Jungle Cruise" skews closer to the "Pirates" end of the spectrum. Its critic score on Rotten Tomatoes currently sits at a 63% while its audience score is a 93%. In his review for Looper, Dominic Griffin described star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's performance as Skipper Frank Wolff to be both the movie's greatest strength and its biggest weakness. "When Johnson finds the right groove, contorting himself to fit into the confectionary vibe everyone involved has come together to create," wrote Griffin, "it's a true joy to see." On the other hand, "as the film presses on, more and more scenes drag" due to what Griffin characterized as comedy that feels more shoehorned in than natural.

In short, then, "Jungle Cruise" may not be a perfect movie, but it's an audience-pleaser nevertheless. That said, though the film may have been positively-received in large part thanks to Johnson's involvement, some fans found Frank's behavior near the end of the film vindictive, and arguably a bridge too far.

No rest for the wicked

"Jungle Cruise" opens with a flashback to a 16th century expedition by Spanish conquistadors to a region of South America they have learned is home to a tree capable of producing a catch-all cure for virtually any ailment. Conquistador leader Aguirre (Édgar Ramírez) and this traveling party end up slaughtering the members of a local village who refuse to give up the location of the tree. As a result, the tribe's chieftain curses Aguirre and his party with immortal life and an inability to leave the Amazon river's environs.

During the film's present, the villainous German Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons) enlists Aguirre and his companions to find the tree anew. Of course, Frank and his newfound ally Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) thwart their plans, and leave Aguirre and co. behind, petrified, in the film's climactic moments.

In a discussion thread on Reddit about the film, user danberhe described Frank and Lily's decision to leave the conquistadors in petrification as unusually cruel. Their comment received more than 160 upvotes, seeming to indicate plenty of viewers agreed with their assessment.

Near the film's end, Frank and Lily discover the mythical tree and use its power to free Frank from his curse. By that same token, as danberhe points out, though Aguirre may have slaughtered a village, the tree's power could have been used to free he and his compatriots from their respective curses and let them finally pass on. Instead, they're left behind in stone, which, as user shanidachine noted in a subsequent reply, the conquistadors describe as a tortuous fate worse than death. 

While this decision may be brutal, it could, as shanidachine also points out, leave room for the return of Aguirre in a likely "Jungle Cruise" sequel.

"Jungle Cruise" is currently in theaters.