Disney’s latest live-action adventure is a magnificently high-spirited tale of exploration set in the mysterious heart of the Amazon in the early 1900s.
Starring the endlessly charming Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson as clashing co-adventurers, the funny and thrilling Jungle Cruise has all the hallmarks of a timeless classic in the making.
From the Jungle Cruise release date to plot, cast and trailers, we’ve got all the information you need.
Jungle Cruise release date: 30 July 2021
One of Disneyland’s opening attractions back in 1955 – inspired in part by cinematic classic The African Queen (1951) – the Jungle Cruise riverboat ride has been a beloved family favourite for generations now; a seven-minute tramp-steamer journey through an artfully patchworked sampler of the world’s jungles, packed with animatronic perils and brought to life by the captain’s joke-filled ad-libbed narration. Naturally, Jungle Cruise’s popularity could not be contained; fast forward 66 years and in 2021 day-tripping mouseketeers in Florida, Tokyo and Hong Kong can also take a Jungle Cruise into pulse-quickening peril and high adventure (queues-permitting, of course).
Inspired by the 1930s adventuring spirit of the riverboat ride (as well as a handful of the ride’s specifics) Jungle Cruise the movie is a heart-warming family-friendly adventure in the classic mould, led by the effortlessly enjoyable pairing of Dwayne Johnson (Skyscraper, Jumanji) and Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins Returns). Now, we know what some of you are thinking: ‘a film based on a theme park ride??? Has Disney completely run out of ideas?’ Not in the slightest. Ever heard of Pirates of the Caribbean? That, too, was inspired by a Disneyland attraction and, to date, the swashbuckling franchise has grossed over $4.5billion.
It’s the early 20th century and adventurous scientist Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her brother – and assistant – McGregor (Jack Whitehall) arrive in the isolated Amazonian outpost of Porto Velho to charter a steamship to take them into the depths of the rainforest.
She’s searching for the fabled Tree of Life whose fruit, she believes, could revolutionise modern medicine. Securing the services of sceptical riverboat captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson) and his eccentric vessel La Quila, the trio embark on a dangerous expedition where not being at the top of the food chain is the least of their worries.
As they’ll soon discover, a rival expedition led by an unhinged German Prince is racing to reach the Tree of Life first. And as for the Tree itself? Its life-giving properties may prove to be as much of a curse as a blessing…
Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, The Devil Wears Prada) is perfectly cast as Dr Lily Houghton, a woman with a thirst for science and adventure. She’s stubbornly optimistic when it comes to her chances of locating the fabled Tree of Life. A good thing, too, as she’ll be butting heads with cynical riverboat captain Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson – Moana, Fast Five), a practical man who’s spent years trying to find the Tree of Life and is convinced it’s more of a bedtime story than the future of modern medicine. Still, Lily has backup on the expedition in the form of her brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall). He’s Lily’s assistant and will prove to be more than capable of handling himself in a crisis – even if he doesn’t know that just yet.
Every classic adventure film needs a great villain, and they don’t get much greater than Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons – The Irishman, Battleship) – a deranged German aristocrat with a ruthless streak and a submarine full of loyal troops. Like Lily, he’s out to secure the Tree of Life, but unlike her, Joachim’s intentions are a lot murkier. Let’s hope he doesn’t get to it first, which he may do, considering he has experienced mercenary Aguirre (Édgar Ramirez – Gold, Point Break) leading the German expedition.
It looks like Lily, Frank and McGregor will need all the help they can get. Perhaps Porto Velho’s crusty old harbourmaster, Nilo (Paul Giamatti – Sideways, American Splendor) will help them get a head start. Although, even a resourceful ally like Nilo may not know how to deal with a threat like the seemingly immortal Spanish Conquistador, Melchor, (Quim Gutiérrez – Dark Blue Almost Black, Spy Time) and his cursed compatriots…
You can watch the two super-fun Jungle Cruise trailers right here, plus a pair of mini featurettes that bookended the start and wrapping of production on the film.
As you can see, Jungle Cruise is going to be an absolute blast on the big screen. And, this is the kind of epic adventure that was made for cinemas.
What with all the snarling jaguars, torpedoes, raging rapids, trap-filled hidden cities, and undead conquistadors made out of honeycomb and murder-bees, trying to cram this much spectacular action onto a TV screen seems like an absolute travesty.
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