Jungle Cruise. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? However, a quick look at the trailer tells us that the new Disney blockbuster starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt is going to be anything but. Snakes, submarines, skeletons... they all make an appearance in this rip-roaring adventure that's due to land at Cineworld cinemas on Friday 30th July.
But what's the movie about? Who directed it? And which big-screen legend inspired Johnson's swashbuckling character, 'Skipper' Frank Wolff? Sail this way, as we're about to reveal all...
1. Jungle Cruise was inspired by a theme park attraction
If you've ever been to one of the Disney theme parks in the USA, Hong Kong or Tokyo, Japan, you'll probably be familiar with the ride The Jungle Cruise. The attraction sees thrill-seekers being taken on a simulated boat ride along some of the world's most famous rivers. On the way, they pass giant spiders, king cobras, leaping piranhas and fearsome jungle natives – all animatronic, of course. This provided the inspiration for the Jungle Cruise movie, which Disney has reportedly been trying to make for many years.
2. The storyline has echoes of Indiana Jones
An intrepid group of explorers are in a race to find a mythical object before a rival German party locates it – where have we heard that before? Yes, the plot for Jungle Cruise sounds a lot like the Indiana Jones films, only this time the object in question is not the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail, but the 'Tree of Life', a natural phenomenon that's believed to possess healing powers. (Considering its similarities to the classic Steven Spielberg adventures, it's perhaps unsurprising that Dwayne Johnson's character is said to have been based on Indy.) The script was written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the writing team behind movie hits such as I Love You Phillip Morris and Smallfoot.
3. The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Jaime Collet-Serra's middle name, but it might as well be. The Spanish-American director has helmed a broad range of movies across his career, including horror flicks House of Wax (2005) and Orphan (2009), football fantasy Goal II: Living the Dream (2007), a quartet of Liam Neeson action films â€“ Unknown (2011), Non-Stop (2014), Run All Night (2015) and The Commuter (2018), and survival thriller The Shallows (2016). Collet-Serra is currently working on the new DC Comics title, Black Adam, which is set for release next year. Is there anything this man can't do?
4. It has an awesome cast
Jungle Cruise sees Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson star as 'Skipper' Frank Wolff, a riverboat captain who takes on the mission of guiding British scientist Dr Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) into the jungle. It's the first time that Johnson and Blunt have appeared together on screen, and to say we're excited would be an understatement. Joining them in the movie are Jack Whitehall as Dr Houghton's brother and reluctant assistant McGregor, Paul Giamatti as the crusty harbour master Nilo, and Edgar Ramirez as Aguirre, the ruthless mercenary who's trying to find the tree before our heroes. Casts don't come much more stellar than that!
5. Metallica appear on the soundtrack
Disney soundtracks have come a long way since the days of 'Whistle While You Work' and 'Once Upon A Dream' this latest one features none other than stadium rock legends Metallica. Working alongside multiple Oscar winning composer James Newton Howard, the LA quartet curated a brand-new version of their classic ballad Nothing Else Matters. According to the band's drummer, Lars Ulrich, the collaboration was born out of a mutual respect. Speaking of Disney production president Sean Bailey, he told Collider: "I think he's always been a Metallica fan, and we've gotten to know each other well. My wife and I are big Disney fans, so there's a great friendship there.
6. The film could've been quite different
As previously mentioned, a Jungle Cruise movie has reportedly been in the pipeline for many years – indeed, it was first announced way back in 2004, with Josh Goldstein and John Norville reported to be writing the script. However, the movie failed to materalise and it was another seven years before the project resurfaced. This time, it was announced that Roger S H Schulman would be penning the story, with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen leading the cast. Fast forward yet another 10 years, and Jungle Cruise is finally being released, with none of the aforementioned names being part of the movie. Nevertheless, it promises to be an absolute cracker!
Jungle Cruise arrives at Cineworld cinemas on Friday 30 July. Tickets will be available to book soon. What's your favourite Disney film? Let us know @Cineworld.