Disney has released the first trailer for Jungle Cruise, the studio’s latest Pirates of the Caribbean-style attempt to turn one of its theme park rides into a blockbuster adventure. Handling steamboat captain duties is Dwayne Johnson, tasked with ferrying a rich researcher named Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her brother McGregor (Jack Whitehall) down a peril-filled river ride to find a magic tree in the middle of the Amazon jungle. Jaume Collet-Serra (The Commuter) directs from a script by Glenn Ficarra & John Requa (Smallfoot) and Michael Green (Logan).
Back at Disney’s D23 presentation, both Johnson and Blunt brought dueling trailers that painted their characters in a favorable light. The footage, which the actors confirmed wasn’t the actual trailer, gave off swashbuckling vibes in the same vein as the Brendan Fraser/Rachel Weisz Mummy movies and classics like Romancing the Stone.
Those vibes are present here, but Disney is very much positioning this as a supernatural-tinged adventure film in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean. Which is smart! That movie sparked a tremendously successful franchise, and painting Blunt as the heroine here is mighty exciting. While I’m definitely curious about this movie, this trailer feels a tiny bit unfocused—like it’s trying to bite off a lot within the span of two minutes. This is Collet-Serra’s first swing at a big blockbuster like this, and in fact the director turned down the chance to helm Suicide Squad 2 for this so I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table—between The Commuter, Non-Stop, etc. he has a penchant for crafting visually engaging thrillers.
As for the theme park of it all, there are plenty of Easter Eggs for Disney fans to find here referencing the famous ride, but as with Pirates of the Caribbean, they’re in service of a larger, different story. Will Jungle Cruise be the next great Disney franchise? We’ll find out next summer, but this here is a solid start.
Check out the Jungle Cruise trailer and first poster below. The film—which also stars Jack Whitehall, Paul Giamatti, and Jesse Plemons—hits theaters on July 24, 2020. For more on the film, check out the latest images from the film’s reshoots and read our exclusive interview with producer Hiram Garcia. (Plus the film’s first “teaser” that mostly confirmed Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are extremely charming people.)
Here’s the official synopsis for Jungle Cruise:
Inspired by the famous Disneyland theme park ride, Disney’s JUNGLE CRUISE is an adventure-filled, Amazon-jungle expedition starring Dwayne Johnson as the charismatic riverboat captain and Emily Blunt as a determined explorer on a research mission. Also starring in the film are Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, with Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti.