If you have been following my blog for a long time know, you will know that just under two years ago I attended the BAFTA Cymru awards which was hosted in the fabulous St David’s Hall in Cardiff. This was such an incredible event that was crammed full of glamour and fabulousness but most importantly for me … free-flowing drinks! The awards themselves were amazing with the audience and award recipients feeling the full range of emotions throughout the night. I even managed to walk down the red carpet (which the invited celebrities also stood on) which was so empowering! The event was followed by an incredible after-party at the Raddison Blu hotel where we were served delicious food and more drinks. To read more about my blog from the event you can read my full thoughts at https://rhysreviews.com/2019/10/15/bafta-cymru-awards-blog/. I was able to attend this event due to the fact that I am a member of BAFTA which alongside being invited to the awards, also received numerous preview screenings (including for shows such as Netflix’s Sex Education which is available at https://rhysreviews.com/2020/01/16/sex-education-season-two-advance-screening/.) More importantly for this blog post, however, the membership also comes with the perk of free tickets in the majority of cinemas in Cardiff between Monday and Friday but more on that later.
I have been extremely lucky during the current global pandemic as my and close family/friends have been mostly unaffected by the virus. When the lockdowns were announced my biggest concern was the fact that I was unable to go to the cinema anymore. I used to enjoy heading to the cinema and catching the newest film (in fact we used to do semi-regular film reviews with our most popular being our thoughts on Joker which can be found at https://rhysreviews.com/2019/10/12/joker-film-review/.) It may have been just under over a year but we are finally able to go back out into the cinema and watch some of the newest movies! Just before the lockdowns however there was an announcement of a new cinema located in Cardiff Bay that offers a more posh and Boujie cinema experience. I have to admit that I was astonished when I first noticed that the cost for each ticket to the new Everyman cinema was a hefty £12.90! However, the seats with the screens are not the usually chairs we get in cinemas but instead incredibly comfy sofas complete with pillows. Now, this is not a place you would take your family due to the cost per ticket and the intimacy of sharing a sofa but it would be perfect for date night with the significant other. The ticket cost is very high but due to being a member of BAFTA I was able to get a free ticket to see the film Jungle Cruise (which I will discuss later) and so for me was a super affordable/free cinema experience. After settling down on my sofa for the film we were approached by a staff member who asked if we wanted to order any food or drink to enjoy during the film. My and my father decided to order a pizza and a coke (which came in a glass bottle so you know it’s a posh venue) which came to £20 in total. The pizza was almost flatbread size with the fluffiest dough I have ever tasted! While it was not big enough to be a meal to enjoy but it was the perfect size for a mid-film snack and tasted delicious. Everyman has a wonderful bar and restaurant where you can order pre-show drinks and food but also there are servers in the actual cinema screens so I would recommend getting to the cinema a little before the film to ensure you can get your orders in. Also as an aside, the bar itself is very swanky which you can sit down and enjoy the wonderful views of the bay while enjoying the lovely food and drink that the venue offers. For me, this was a super affordable experience but for many others, it is very pricey so I would rate the new Everyman Cinema 4.5 size out of 5!
Now that our review of the venue is done, I can focus on the “Jungle Cruise” itself. This is a new Disney film that is based on the iconic ride (that was formerly known as Jungle River Cruise) located in places such as Magic Kingdom in Florida. While I have been to this theme park, I don’t remember going on the ride itself. What is very clever about this film is that it opens with Dwayne Johnson (who plays a skipper called Frank) who is offering a river cruise complete with theatrics which I assume is heavily inspired by the actual ride itself! For hardcore Disney fans, they will love the nod to the iconic ride within the film and the fact the film acknowledges its roots in a logical way is very clever in my opinion. Frank is joined by Lily and McGregor Houghton (who are played by Emily Blunt and Jack Whitehall respectively) who are on the hunt for a magical pant that can heal any known illnesses/diseases. Throughout this film, Dwayne Johnson cracks constant dad jokes which I found hilarious but also does the classic action scenes that we expect from a film starring the rock!
Due to the amount of violence within the film, I do believe that the age rating given of 12A is very appropriate but also people above this age would understand the underlying themes. The film cleverly discusses the themes surrounding the First World War (due to the film being set during this time and the villains of the film being Germans), it addressed the outcasting of women in science but also the idea of homosexuality in a very respectful way. Jack Whitehall plays a very posh and effeminate man who classes with the idea of jungle/adventurers lives. This character has a very important scene in the film where he indirectly comes out by talking about his failed proposals as his “interests lie elsewhere.” While the idea of a straight actor playing a gay character is also a controversial conversation, I do think that this “blink and you’ll miss it” scene (as described on many other film review sites) was a very respectful way to deal with this topic. Instead of it being a big coming out moment it was simply a discussion between McGregor and Frank where the focus was more about the support that McGregor’s sister had given while he was potentially being outcasted from his family/society. This is a typical Disney film as it crosses adventure with the almost supernatural and also contains a happy ending where love prevails. I would rate this film 4 stars out of 5!
Overall, as a cinema experience, this was a very enjoyable experience in a very boujie and fancy cinema. For me personally, it was very affordable (due to my BAFTA memeber shop which you can find more about https://www.bafta.org/wales) but for others is quite expensive and is a place for a date night rather than a family day-out. The film was cleverly layered with themes but also keeps the classic ideas of adventure we expect from Disney with nods to the ride that inspired the movie. As a combined experience I would rate this event as 4.5 out of 5 stars!
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