From the studio that brought you The Pirates of the Caribbean series comes Jungle Cruise. This period fantasy adventure film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, written by Michael Green, Glenn Ficarra, and John Requa, and based on Walt Disney's theme park attraction of the same name. Intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton travels from London, England to the Amazon jungle and enlists wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff's questionable services to guide her downriver on La Quila - his ramshackle-but-charming boat. Lily is determined to uncover an ancient tree with unparalleled healing abilities - possessing the power to change the future of medicine. Thrust on this epic quest together, the unlikely duo encounters innumerable dangers and supernatural forces, all lurking in the deceptive beauty of the lush rainforest. But as the secrets of the lost tree unfold, the stakes reach even higher for Lily and Frank and their fate - and mankind’s - hangs in the balance.
In September 2004, it was announced that a film loosely based on the Walt Disney theme park attraction would be developed for Mandeville Films, penned Josh Goldstein & John Norville. In February 2011, it was announced that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen would star in the long-gestating film from a new script penned by Roger S. H. Schulman. However, the film never progressed and entered into. development hell. In August 2015, it was announced that Walt Disney Pictures was redeveloping the film, with Dwayne Johnson attached to star and with Requa and Ficarra penning a new script. In April 2017, Johnson expressed his interest in having Patty Jenkins helm the project, but in July 2017, Collet-Serra was hired to direct. In January 2018, Emily Blunt was cast and Green was hired to rewrite the script, previously rewritten by Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne. By mid May 2018, Édgar Ramírez, Jack Whitehall, Jesse Plemons and Paul Giamatti rounded out the film's cast. At the same time, principal photography commenced and wrapped in mid September. Filming took place in Kaua'i, Hawaii and Atalanta, Georgia, USA. In late January 2019, it was announced that James Newton Howard was hired to compose the film's score. The film was initially slated for an October 11, 2019 release date before being moved to July 24, 2020, and was delayed to July 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early May 2021, Disney announced that the film would be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access, with Deadline Hollywood reporting that after being given multiple options by Disney, the filmmakers made the decision to go with the simultaneous release due to the continued closure of theaters in markets like Brazil and Europe due to surges in COVID-19 cases.
It's Johnson and Blunt who both steal the show, creating swashbuckling personas so outrageously regaling it would single-handedly guarantee sequels.
Were it not for Johnson and Blunt's reassured character creations of a wisecracking skipper and an intrepid researcher, there would be nothing to relish in this overlong and witless waste of celluloid based on a Disneyland ride.
Simon says Jungle Cruise receives:
Also, see my review for The Commuter.