A Look at Disney’s LGBTQ Characters: MacGergor (Jungle Cruise)
Spoilers for Jungle Cruise ahead:
I am just so tired. What do I mean, I am tired of stereotypes being used in service of actual characterization and that is a problem with LGBTQ+ characters in so much media. And sadly, Jungle Crusie which was a movie that I enjoyed falls into this problem with the character of MacGregor. I had known for a while that straight actor Jack Whitehall would be playing a gay character in this movie and I was nervous when I read that he would be comedic relief. And well, my concerns were justified.
The best way to describe his character is as foppish and falling into the sissy stereotype. In how he seems to be afraid of everything and there is a scene early on in the movie where I just had to facepalm as they boarding the ship and MacGregor has so much luggage that Skipper Frank (The Rock) ends up throwing some of it overboard including tennis rackets and a change of clothes for his Sunday best. Ugh, that was when I knew I was in for a rough time.
Oh but that wasn’t the worst part, there is a scene later on where MacGregor reveals why he follows his sister Lily anywhere and it’s because she was the only one that stuck by him when his family disowned him for being gay. Except that word was never used. As seen here:
MacGregor explains how he’s turned down three prospective engagements to women in 1917 London society. “My interests happily lie…elsewhere,” MacGregor says. Frank hoists his canteen, saying. “Well, to elsewhere.”
Dwayne Johnson, a producer on this film in that same article, stated that he doesn’t believe that the word gay needed to be said in this scene. First off, need I remind Mr. Johnson that he has always presented himself as straight. Secondly having a character say that they are gay in a wide-release Disney movie would be so much more powerful than him just saying his love lies elsewhere. Imagine young kids in the theater hearing MacGregor say that he’s gay and impactful that could be for them. Or at least show MacGregor act upon it or something show him maybe have a crush on one of the men in Trader Sam’s tribe. Or at the very least give more to do than just being comic relief that is mostly used to set up the relationship between Frank and Lilly at the end of the movie.
It’s just so exhausting, how much his character was wasted. You know it’s funny the same weekend I saw this, Luz and Amity on The Owl House officially became a couple and it was nice seeing actual repesantion of an LGBTQ couple in a piece of Disney media as I watched that clip numerous times after how much this disappointed me.
Perhaps it helps to have LGBTQ+ creators such as Dana Terrace at the helm of projects with LGBTQ+ characters. I understand that Johnson and Blunt liked MacGregor’s coming-out scene as they felt it was the most powerful scene in the movie. I get where they’re coming and it is well-intentioned but it could have been so much better and so much more meaningful and how it would’ve taken was for the character to say one word.
8 thoughts on “A Look at Disney’s LGBTQ Characters: MacGergor (Jungle Cruise)”
Question: Was the word ‘gay’ in widespread use to mean ‘attracted to the same sex’ in 1916, the year the movie is set? I suppose it doesn’t matter much, but yes, they could have tried not to sweep MacGregor’s sexuality under the rug just to appease the homophobes in the overseas markets. And they could have made him a bit less of a stereotype.
For the first part, I am not sure if it was but having said that I do think it would’ve been okay to use in the movie. The sweeping of his sexuality under the rug is the biggest issue I had.
1. His “coming out” is presented in a way that might’ve been easily construed as an incestuous attraction to his own sister. WTF?
2. At least once in every scene, Dwayne Johnson’s character makes a huge deal about how shocked he is that a woman is wearing pants. Yet he’s okay with a homosexual man? WTF?
3. MacGregor is so annoying, unfunny, and thoroughly useless that he would’ve done vastly more good on the cutting room floor, and *this* is the character singled out for LGBTQ representation. Seriously what the high-flying fuck?!
Yeah, the pants thing is a good point. This character just frustrates me so much because he is such an outdated stereotype of a gay man.
Almost feels like something Seth MacFarlane would do – present a character that’s nothing but stereotypes and then act offended when people complain by saying “what? I’m putting a gay character in the spotlight!”
That is so perfect a comparison. Having gay characters isn’t enough, you need to develop them and make them interesting. It’s already enough of an uphill battle as it is. I was watching a documentary about conversion therapy and one of the proponents for it was arguing that the only personality gay people have is being gay. And well, I don’t agree with that but I feel like characters such as MacGregor provide ammunition for those arguments.
Disney quit kowtowing to oppressive overseas markets and stop covering up homosexuality in your movies challenge.
Yep, I’d have to agree with that. I was so annoyed by how they danced around the word gay in his coming out scene