The First Trailer for Jungle Cruise Is Here and We’re Ready to Book Our Tickets
I’ll admit that when I heard Disney was moving forward with the long-rumored film version of Jungle Cruise I was more than a little skeptical. Disney’s record with turning plotless theme park rides into blockbusters is fair to mixed. The Pirates of the Caribbean films range from fine to fantastic, but The Haunted Mansion is better forgotten. Which means I’m quite pleasantly surprised that Jungle Cruise looks…great?
The Jungle Cruise ride is a strange Disney artifact. It was initially conceived with total seriousness, and intended by Walt to be a real trip to various jungles, but as technology improved elsewhere and the Jungle Cruise stayed the same, Disney came up with a low tech solution to keep the ride fun: get in on the joke that it’s hokey and old. The best part of the Jungle Cruise is the color commentary of the skippers as they make fun of the corny action and nonsensical turns of the boat. And it looks like the new movie is keeping with that ethos, while adding some Pirates-level action in too.
We see The Rock – I’m sorry, Dwayne Johnson – leading unimpressed tourists on an Amazon cruise and making the same jokes as the real Jungle Cruise skippers – “The backside of water!” – and using actors and fake animals for cheap thrills. I love that this allows the film to reference the original ride, while doing what Disney does and acknowledging that it’s silly and fake – but still fun. Of course, that can’t sustain a whole movie which is why Emily Blunt is there with a real quest and lots of money to go on it.
The initial Jungle Cruise was modeled in part on the film The African Queen, staring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn (you can allegedly see a shrunken head resembling Hepburn in the ride). The film based on the ride seems to be taking a cue from a different movie though: The Mummy (not the Tom Cruise one, the good one). Blunt has stepped into Rachel Weisz’s role as the competent, smart lady on a mission to discover something massive – though Blunt’s character seems a lot more capable and less clumsy than Evie Carnahan. She of course needs a Rock of stability in all this which is where Johnson comes in.
The trailer promises humor, adventure and some fun performances from Blunt and Johnson, which is really all we need from a summer blockbuster based on a themepark ride. I’m still quite curious about how director Jaume Collet-Serra will handle such a large production: his resume is mainly small horror films like The Shallows, Orphan and House of Wax. But he obviously impressed the Rock enough to get the director slot on the planned Black Adam film, so he has to be doing something right.
Jungle Cruise won’t hit theaters for another nine months, but the trailer certainly has us excited to hop on board when it does.
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