Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt set out on an adventure together in the trailer for Disney's movie adaptation of the Jungle Cruise theme park ride. The Mouse House scored an unexpected hit when it released Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl back in 2003, but its subsequent attempts to launch a franchise based on its popular theme park attractions haven't panned out so well.
Disney announced plans to make a film based on its Jungle Cruise river boat ride in 2006, with Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar rewriting an earlier script draft by Josh Goldstein and John Norville. Things went quiet after that until 2011, when a new version of the movie featuring Toy Story duo Tim Allen and Tom Hanks started moving forward. A few years later, Jungle Cruise was redeveloped yet again, this time as a vehicle for Johnson and Blunt. The pair star here as Frank and Lily, a charismatic American riverboat captain and determined British explorer who journey into the Amazon jungle in search of a mythical tree with incredible healing powers.
The official Jungle Cruise trailer dropped online today ahead of its premiere in theaters with this month's Disney release, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (a movie that, appropriately enough, is opening on the same day Jungle Cruise was set to arrive before it was pushed back to Summer 2020). You can check it out in the space below, followed by the poster.
The Jungle Cruise trailer has a distinctly Pirates of the Caribbean-esque vibe, from its slapstick-y action to the meta-references to the original Adventureland ride. Much (possibly all) of this footage was previously screened at the D23 Expo in August, right down to the clips of Frank trying to swindle his customers by hiring actors to pretend to be natives who attack them during their trip on his riverboat. It seems like a decent way of paying homage to the theme park attraction, while at the same time reframing its more outdated and regressive elements. And of course, as teased here, Frank soon comes to learn just how real the legends about the Amazon jungle truly are.
With Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, The Shallows) directing and its sun-lit spectacle, Jungle Cruise has the makings of a mostly enjoyable, Disney-fied action-adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, and The Mummy. Again, the film is clearly drawing from the Pirates of the Caribbean playbook, so it probably won't feel as fresh as Curse of the Black Pearl did in 2003. Not to mention, with Jumanji: The Next Level premiering in a couple of months, the idea of a trip to the jungle with Johnson sounds less inspired now than it did when he joined Jungle Cruise back in 2015. Still, at the very least, it ought to provide a welcome breather from the ongoing parade of Disney live-action remakes next year.
- Jungle Cruise (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020