Jungle Cruise Plot Synopsis
Jungle Cruise essentially takes a formulaic treasure hunt story and fleshes it out to include elements of Disney’s theme park ride of the same name.
At the center of this romp sits Dr Lily Houghton and her brother Macgregor. Together, they enlist the talents of wisecracking, pun-making skipper Frank Wolff to locate an ancient tree. There’s a prophecy around this claiming to hold petals with the power to heal. If true, this could change the future of medicine forever.
So off the gang go, cruising down the river to find this ancient treasure. However, it soon becomes clear that they’re not alone in this pursuit.
What are the Tears of the Moon?
The big legend presiding over everything revolves around a mythical tree that’s said to have healing properties. Legend has it that a single petal from this great tree can cure any illness and break any curse.
The tree itself is hidden deep within the dense forest of the Amazon, with its location inscribed on a sacred talisman called Arrowhead. This was originally protected by a guardian tribe called Headhunters.
After a lost expedition, Arrowhead ends up in London where Lily steals it early on in the movie and starts off her journey to the Amazon with MacGregor. She seeks a ride to Lagrimas de Cristal, and that brings her before Frank Wolff.
Who is Frank Wolff?
As we soon come to learn, there’s more to Frank than meets the eye. Midway through the film, Jungle Cruise pulls a Jack Sparrow-esque reveal on us all. Frank has not exactly been forthcoming with everyone.
Frank is actually hundreds of years old and was originally part of a cursed group of conquistadors that ransacked a tribal village a little earlier in the film.
Frank is also immortal too, unable to die from blade or bullet. The former we see in painful detail as Lily is forced to try and pry a wedged blade from his chest.
Frank’s connection to the curse is partly why he’s been so adamant on joining Lily on her crusade to find the tree too. He wants to break this curse once and for all, embracing death. However, Lily isn’t ready to let go given the bond the two have.
How do Lily and Frank find the tree?
After realizing they’ve been looking in the wrong place, Lily and Frank finally find the location of our sacred tree at La Luna Rota. After turning an underwater mechanism and draining the water, the riddle of “turning water into stone” is finally solved. It not only reveals a cave leading to the tree’s location, it also uncovers Macgregor and the evil Prince Joachim too. They’ve been waiting for them in the latter’s submarine.
During the film’s climax, MacGregor kills Joachim but in the most unlikely way. Squaring off against the German, a falling piece of rock crushes him and thwarts the (admittedly lacklustre) threat he’s been posing all film.
Meanwhile, Frank and Lily solve the final clue, allowing the latter to secure a petal for her research. However, they’re far from safe yet.
How are Aguirre and the other cursed soldiers stopped?
With the Cursed Conquistadors attacking, Frank sacrifices himself and drives his barge to block the river. In doing so, this curses Aguirre and the other conquistadors again, turning them to stone. However, with the river drained it also turns Frank to stone as well.
Lily bravely sacrifices the final petal she has to bring Frank back to life. With the curse gone, the trio of survivors prepare to leave. As fate would have it though, another petal blooms high up on the tree.
How does Jungle Cruise end?
The final sequence of the movie carts us back to London again. Lily is finally accepted by her peers and made a full professor at Cambridge. However, she refuses to join the stuffy scientific community after their earlier scoffing and impatience. She has Macgregor tell them, in no uncertain terms, to “stick the invitation up their association.”
Lily is determined to forge ahead in her own way, and instead helps teach Frank how to drive a car. He seems to have acclimatized to life in London, wearing a top hat and teaching the pun-loving captain how to drive. One can’t help but feel this is unlikely to stick though given what the pair have been through.
In the end though, Jungle Cruise delivers a suitably simple happily-ever-after ending that Disney are famous for. There’s also plenty of wiggle room for a possible sequel.
Read More: Jungle Cruise Review
Thanks for reading our Ending Explained article! So what did you think of the ending? Were you surprised by Frank’s reveal? Would you like to see a sequel to Jungle Cruise? Let us know in the comments below!