The jaguar scenes in Jungle Cruise were analyzed by cougar expert Mark Albroch, and many things are not portrayed correctly in the film. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Jungle Cruise, based on the Disney attraction of the same name, stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. The film features a jaguar named Proxima being tamed by Johnson’s character, with one scene showing the two struggling to impress Blunt’s character.
Now, in a recent Insider video, Elbroch deconstructs the jaguar scenes in Jungle Cruise and finds they don’t live up to the fidelity of wild felines.
The expert notes that some things about the behavior of jaguars in real life are not true, including the fact that the animal cannot purr, as shown in the film. The following is Elbroch’s full commentary:
“I saw this movie and I know the context, so I know the jaguar is a pet. The owner taught the cat to participate in wrestling matches. Will a jaguar walk into a bar for a raw steak or attack people? Absolutely not. In fact, of all the big cats, jaguars are the least likely to attack humans in their natural habitat. It’s almost unthinkable.
“If this was a real fight and the jaguar really bit, he could literally bite through her hand. They have tremendous bite force compared to other felids of their size.
“Hollywood loves noise. And in this case, it makes the jaguar purr. Jaguars can growl, but not purr. Obviously, this is completely unrealistic. I would give this movie four out of ten. It is an exceptional comedy and poor in nature.”
Do the inaccuracies of the jaguar in Jungle Cruise matter?
Reviews for Jungle Cruise were mixed among critics, but according to a Rotten Tomatoes audience rating of 92%, the film was generally well received by mainstream moviegoers. Like Pirates of the Caribbean, another big Disney blockbuster based on an amusement park ride, Jungle Cruise has an over the top, goofy tone and the action isn’t always realistic. This film, like most Disney works, is a family-friendly adventure comedy aimed at people of all ages, which means that a sloppy jaguar is unlikely to be an obstacle for most of the audience.
Proxima is also more than just a wild animal in Jungle Cruise, and that approach has obviously led to some creative license being used. Proxima serves as Frank’s (Johnson’s) companion and, for example, purring, while unrealistic, is an element of the character that helps convey to viewers how the big cat feels.
Given the upbeat tone and vibe of Jungle Cruise, the inaccuracies about the jungle felines aren’t that big of a deal. Nevertheless, Elbroch’s commentary remains educationally interesting and demonstrates the creative freedom Hollywood films often use in conveying plot, characters, theme, and tone.