Based on the popular Disneyland ride that could be found in all Disney theme parks across the globe, the Jungle Cruise will be in theaters in 2020. Though production for the film wrapped last year, director Jaume Collet-Serra has been putting the finishing touches on the film to help it get ready for its summer release. And since this was our very first look at the film, it had to be introduced in a very special way at this weekend’s D23 Expo.
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt were both on hand at the convention to talk about the upcoming film, which takes some inspiration from The African Queen starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn. See more below for our on-site coverage from D23.
With a panel as big as this starring one of the biggest actors with a giant personality, you know the Jungle Cruise panel wouldn’t be just a simple hello and here’s a look at the footage. No. Dwayne Johnson had to roll onto the stage in a vintage original jungle cruise. There, he talked about how the upcoming film will take inspiration from Romancing The Stone, Indiana Jones, and The African Queen,, and that he based his performances as riverboat captain Frank Wolff off Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, and Humphrey Bogart (who respectively starred in the aforementioned movies).
The actor did share some footage, which showed his character taking tourists on his boat, going through the same Jungle Cruise spiel that you would get if you were ever on the Disneyland attraction. He warns his guests about the natives, wild animals, and murders, and takes them behind an actual waterfall. Although that doesn’t impress a little girl.
But things aren’t working so well financially for Frank, as he owes money to Paul Giamatti’s character. Desperate to make some money, he accepts an offer from Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt), a scientist searching for a tree’s magical cure. The two will encounter all kinds of dangers, legends, and curses. This high-stakes adventure sees the typical leading hero saving the leading lady as they swing on a vine. And it all ends with Frank saying, “It’s impossible.”
As exciting as all of that looked, Blunt then came onto the stage with her own kind of special entrance, as she rolled in a vintage 1920s car. She then presented her own cut of the trailer, which takes place entirely from Lily’s perspective. Here we see that Lily is not only book smart, but street smart as well, and is able to escape from some dangerous people by jumping out of a library window and onto a bus full of soldiers.
Eager to find this magical tree, she heads to Jack to take her on an expedition and offers him money, for which he gladly accepts. But he warns that if she believes in legends that she should believe in curses as well. And that seems all too true as they try to escape a village, with the same vine-swinging sequence happening, only not as successful, and Lily berating Frank and asking him what the point of that was.
Just like any adventurous movie, our two heroes run into all sorts of trouble or maybe trouble finds them. But their greatest threat comes from a demi-god-like villain with snakes wrapped around him. And it ends with her saying, “It’s true.”
Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, who was heading the panel, joked to the stars that neither of their trailers was official. From an audience standpoint, it was enough to get a sense of the action, comedy, and romance we’ll see in Jungle Cruise.
Edgar Ramirez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons, and Paul Giamatti also star.
Jungle Cruise opens in theaters on July 24, 2020.
You can click here for much more out of D23 Expo 2019!