It has been a long time since my visit to Walt Disney World, but probably my fondest memory of that visit was the cheesiness of The Jungle Cruise. Everything from the giant butterflies that grow anywhere from 12 inches to a whopping one foot, the backside of water, the corny animatronics, even the cruise guide who, when we all applauded her at the end of the tour, responded, “Stop, please. You guys are making me homesick. My parents did the same thing when I told them I was moving out.” I need to make it a point to go back, one day.
Over the years, Disney has made a few attempts to take some of their theme park attractions and turn them into film franchises. Some have been extremely successful (Pirates Of The Caribbean), some have been so-so (Haunted Mansion), and some have been bad, remember The Country Bears?
For some time, Disney has been attempting on turning the Jungle Cruise attraction into a feature length film. In 2006 attempts were made with a script from Josh Goldstein and John Norville, for Mandeville Films. In 2011, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were announced to star in an adaptation, with a script by Roger S.H. Shulman.
In 2015, Disney announced that pre-production was underway on a film based on the ride, with Dwayne Johnson in the lead. In July 2017, Juame Collet-Serra signed on as director of the film. Emily Blunt signed on in January 2018. On May 14, 2018, principal photography began in Hawaii, with production wrapping up in September of 2018. Post production effects were handled by Industrial Light & Magic and by Weta Workshop.
The basic plot of the film, which takes place in the early 20th Century, revolves around scientist Lily Houghton (Blunt) who, along with her brother, McGregor Houghton (Jack Whitehall), is searching for The Tree Of Life, believed to have great healing powers. They hire a riverboat captain, Frank (Johnson), to take them into the jungle to find the fabled tree, while fighting off wild animals and rival German scientists along the way.
Frank seems to be a bit of a con artist, taking tourists on a “dangerous” cruise on the river, which, in reality, appears cornier than the actual theme park ride. But, the actual danger comes when Frank takes the Houghton siblings further into the jungle in their quest.
The trailer shows that the film should have a good mix of humor, as well as “Indiana Jones” type adventure, and a hint of the supernatural. The movie is said to take some inspiration from the classic film The African Queen. While we’re not sure of the full extent of the plot, or who the main villain is, it does look like this film could be a great fun filled action adventure for the family. SCIFI.radio will keep you up to date on the film as more information is revealed, in the meantime, enjoy the trailer, and mark your calendars to see Jungle Cruise when it hits theaters on July 24, 2020.
How long before they make a Hall Of Presidents movie?
Gary DaBaum, SCIFI.radio DJ, writer, and all around nice guy, can be heard on SCIFI.radio. He’s also on Twitter: @GaryDaBaum.