Ever since the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie took audiences by storm way back in 2003, Disney has thought to capture lightning in a bottle anew. But the other movies based on theme park rides in Disneyland made little in the box office, and while sequels to the “Pirates” franchise were blockbusters, eventually they petered out as well. A new direction of Disney’s to adapt a videogame franchise in 2010’s “Prince of Persia” was only good for the one film. So now they have returned to making a movie out of a theme park ride with “Jungle Cruise,” the first trailer of which came out on Friday last week.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that Disney has given fans an initial preview of what to expect with their latest park attraction-turned-movie in “Jungle Cruise,” starring Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson, due for release next year. As stated, this film is based on yet another theme attraction, this time from Adventureland, generally centered on a 1930s tramp steamer sailing off from a colonial-era British explorer’s lodge to explore the rivers of major regions in the world along with their exotic sights and wildlife. This time however, there will be a story attached to the trip.
Rather than the patchwork of different rivers in a single cruise route that the theme park ride offers, this movie specifies the locale to just one major river of the world: the Amazon. And the setup is quite the stuff of adventure akin to film classics of the genre like 1955’s “The African Queen.” Daredevil scientist Lily Houghton (Blunt) has stumbled upon clues to a rare healing tree in the Amazon rainforest. Unfortunately a German expedition is on the same trail, so Lily and her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) need some immediate transportation up river.
Enter Frank (Johnson), captain of an Amazon tramp steamer that runs a scenic route along the Amazon with purported unique fauna and spectacles, and dangerous natives (all a scam orchestrated by him). When Emily decides to hire his boat for the journey into the Amazon to find the so-called Tree of Life, he has no idea what he might be getting into. Rapids and waterfalls are only a start; nobody counts on hostile animated foliage and an ancient curse protecting the Tree of Life’s location. Not that it is going to stop this quirky crew on their exciting “Jungle Cruise.” The film itself is still quite a long way off, premiering next year in July.
Image courtesy of IndieWire