Based on the long-running riverboat ride, Jungle Cruise premiered at Disneyland, Anaheim on Saturday night to largely favorable reactions. Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Emily Blunt in the lead, Jungle Cruise is an epic adventure set in the early 20th century. The film follows wisecracking riverboat captain Frank Wolff (Johnson) guiding a determined researcher Lily Houghton (Blunt), and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) on an expedition to discover a tree with healing abilities that could benefit modern medicine. While this makes the film sound like Anacondas 2, Jungle Cruise is inspired by Indiana Jones and The African Queen. A few early reactions have even compared it to The Mummy, owing to some scary sequences. The trio will have to navigate their way through the dangerous Jungle while fighting off deadly animals and a German prince with a U-boat. Jungle Cruise is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from a screenplay by Michael Green and Glenn Ficarra & John Requa. Edgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti also star in the film.
Jungle Cruise has had a long road to production. The film has been in development since 2015 and finished filming in 2018. But reshoots and the global health crisis delayed it to 2021. Jungle Cruise will finally hit theaters and Disney+ simultaneously on July 30. While it promises to be a family-friendly blockbuster, those who don't want to go out can catch the film at home on Disney+ Premier Access.
Rob Keyes of ScreenRant compared the Jungle Cruise to classic adventure films like Romancing the Stone, African Quee n, and Indiana Jones.
Steven Weintraub of Collider praised director Jaume Collet-Serra and the nostalgic nods to the boat ride.
Courtney Howard of Variety said, "an epic adventure - a throwback blockbuster we've been missing, a la The Mummy (99), Pirates Of The Caribbean, The African Queen & Romancing The Stone rolled into 1. A thrill ride you'll want to see repeatedly. The most fun you'll have at the movies all Summer."
Erick Davis from Fandango too called the film "a lot of fun - a big, fantastical adventure that feels similar in tone to the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies" while praising the chemistry of the cast and Jesse Plemons in particular.
Scott Menzel says,"Jungle Cruise is a big, fun & entertaining summer adventure for the entire family. Dwayne Johnson charms & delights as the script truly plays to his strengths. I loved the nods to the theme park ride & the banter between Johnson/Blunt. They make a great comedic duo."
Shannon McGrew praised the horror inspired sequences and the impressive creature designs.
Judging by the reactions, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt shine in the lead roles and have great chemistry. The throwbacks to classic movies and the subtle nods to the ride were also appreciated. Both Johnson and Blunt have previously stated in interviews that Jungle cruise is full of corny dad jokes and doesn't take itself too seriously. The early reactions are in line with that. Overall, Jungle Cruise looks like a fun movie that deserves a theatrical experience.
The domestic box office is finding its footing, all thanks to blockbusters like Black Widow and Fast & Furious 9. Jungle Cruise could prove to be another solid entry in Disney's successful slate of live-action films. Plus, positive audience reactions will further boost the box office numbers. Disney may have anticipated the positive audience response, considering discussions of a sequel have already started at the studio. It looks like Disney has found a substitute for their Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise.