The Jungle Cruise trailer is here and…

…it looks fine? I’m determined to follow this movie from conception to release, good or bad. I had done the post a few months ago covering the pros and cons of the movie, why I thought it would either be good or a disappointment. That was actually before we had a trailer, and I was speaking mostly about how much I love the source material.

Now that we have a trailer… I don’t exactly know what to feel.

One of the first things that my attention is drawn to is this shot of the Rock riding a vine, around the 0:35 second mark in the trailer, which just looks a little… odd to my eyes. This isn’t the final cut of the movie, so I’m not sure if this is what this will really look like when the movie premieres, but it just doesn’t look great, exactly.

I wrote in previous posts that I hoped this movie would learn the proper tone; how to work the humorous feeling of the source material into a cohesive story without losing the source’s general feeling. My concern with the “backside of water” joke in the trailer doesn’t have the same punch as it does on the ride. “Backside of water,” works pretty well because it has a decent set-up on the ride because you go past that waterfall before going behind it – so you think you’re going to see something amazing because of the way the Jungle Cruise skipper (guide) hypes it up, and it’s just… the backside of water. Now, maybe there’s this whole, hilarious set-up to that joke that we don’t know about. It’s hard to gauge that from the trailer.

On the other hand, the Rock has another joke – one that’s a bit more subtle – where he says “this might not be the best Jungle Cruise, but it certainly is the cheapest.” And that’s the fun, self-deprecating humor I want and expect from this kind of movie.

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Another thing I really like is how they make the Rock’s Jungle Cruise display look like he’s a bit of a charlatan – he’s got this system of pulleys that will trigger things that make the cruise seem dangerous and exciting, and it seems like he’s got some kind of deal with the native “Marauders.” And that’s another thing I like in concept so far*… the way that the movie seems to deal with elements from the source material which could be construed as racist and work it into something that is… well, not racist. (See this petition from two years ago that has almost gained 200 signatures, but I expect it might gain more over the next year.) Given their interaction around the 0:45 second mark to approximately 0:53, it looks like these characters are probably just regular people working with the Rock’s character Frank to make an “authentic” experience for tourists. That could make for three-dimensional characters – but again, we won’t know until the movie comes out.

This movie reminds me of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which makes sense given that it’s the same studio, similar source material, and they appear to be going for similar tone. Particularly, Emily Blunt is kind of great in a way that reminds me of Keira Knightley in Pirates.

And another way it seems to resemble Pirates is the fact that they can’t just have it be a regular adventure story, there has to be some kind of magical mcguffin – I suppose I don’t outright hate that here as much as I do in Pirates, but it doesn’t bode particularly well.

But also, cinematically, this is a really beautiful trailer. It’s got these establishing shots which look superb and really capture this sense of adventure.

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I’m still excited for this movie, but I’m going to put a little more caution in my optimism. I don’t think this is going to be amazing, but it should at least be fun. We’ll see. Again, cautiously optimistic.

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