I know this is probably not the case, but out of all the movies delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it feels like we’ve been waiting on Disney’s Jungle Cruise the longest. Oh wait, this may actually be the case as I’ve just checked and the first reports around this current incarnation of this movie were from 2015! And I specifically said “current incarnation” because a Jungle Cruise movie has been in development in some form or another since 2004. So you’re telling me it’s actually tricky to adapt a theme park ride with zero narrative or characters into a coherent feature film? Damn. Who woulda thunk it?
That is exactly what Disney did with the Pirates of the Caribbean in 2003 though, kicking off a franchise that has since gone on to earn a combined $4.5 billion, so you can see why the Mouse House decided to just keep at trying to recreate that magic formula with Jungle Cruise. The studio certainly landed a magical duo to lead this film in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Emily Blunt, two actors who could not be more likable and charismatic if they tried. Jungle Cruise sees Johnson as a shrewd early 20th-century riverboat captain hired by Blunt’s fiery scientist/adventurer to help her find the mythical Tree of Life deep in the South American jungle. But this is no pleasure cruise, as besides for the two leads bumping heads, there’s a whole lot of trouble ahead of them. Trouble, as we see in the brand new trailer for Jungle Cruise, which includes everything from deranged Nazis in U-boats to monsters out of legend. Check it out below.
While others in the Critical Hit staff feel that this trailer reminds them hugely of Johnson’s Jumanji films, to me Jungle Cruise definitely looks like the frantic and fun chaos that the Pirates movies gave us. The similarity between the two franchises is even more starkly pronounced by the inclusion of CG monsters with large chunks of their bodies missing (which I have to admit look a bit iffy in quality right now). And you know what? I’m totally there for it! I’ve always dug the Pirates moves and I’m a sucker for pulp adventure stories so this looks right up my alley for a fun popcorn-munching blockbuster ride.
There’s one thing that Pirates of the Caribbean never had though: Metallica. Yes, while you don’t hear their work here in this trailer (that’s Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Run Through the Jungle playing in the background), the aging rockers have signed on to do a new version of their iconic track, “Nothing Else Matters” for Jungle Cruise. I have absolutely zero idea how these things relate to each other.
Taking the director’s chair for this one is Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows, Non-Stop, Orphan) who is far removed from the nailbiting thrillers and horror films which made his name. He is also the director of Johnson’s long-gestating Black Adam movie though, so this is almost a trial run to see how he can handle a big-budget DC Comics superhero blockbuster.
Jungle Cruise also stars Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti. It is scheduled for release in theatres on 30 July. Here’s the official full synopsis and gorgeous new retro-styled poster:
Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s “Jungle Cruise” is an adventure-filled, rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton. Lily travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists Frank’s questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila—his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities—possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate—and mankind’s—hangs in the balance.
Last Updated: May 28, 2021