jungle cruise pirates of the caribbean

From the moment Disney announced that the studio was making a Jungle Cruise movie based on their classic theme park ride, we knew the comparisons between this film and Pirates of the Caribbean – the most successful Disney movie based on a popular ride – would be inevitable. Now yet another person involved with the new Dwayne Johnson film has drawn that same comparison, along with divulging a tiny bit of info about the film’s approach we hadn’t heard before.

Speaking with ScreenRant, visual effects artist Jake Morrison (whose credits include movies like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 300, Speed Racer, The Avengers, Ant-Man, and Thor: Ragnarok) talked a little about his initial reaction to reading the Jungle Cruise script, which was written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa, Focus, that Joker/Harley Quinn film for WB):

“When I read the script, it’s a bit like how I felt when I first watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s got that kind of really fun, really cool, you know Mr. Dwayne Johnson’s going to deliver the goods – he’s reliably charismatic, and we’re going to be doing a lot of practical stuff. It’s really exciting.”

Johnson himself already said back in 2015 that Johnny Depp raised the bar with Pirates, so another Jungle Cruise Pirates of the Caribbean comparison isn’t all that surprising. But the interesting part here is that Morrison (who, again, is a visual effects artist) is touting the movie’s decision to use “a lot” of practical effects.

It’s still early days for Jungle Cruise – production doesn’t begin until after Johnson wraps filming on Skyscraper – but the decision to hire director Jaume Collet-Serra didn’t tell us much about the movie’s approach on the face of it: his previous movies have run the gamut between productions that have relied heavily on VFX (like the shark attack thriller The Shallows) and ones that, well, haven’t (Unknown). Leaning toward practical effects seems like a choice that’s inspired by the tactile qualities of the ride, which is a cool way to pay homage to the “source material.”

Jungle Cruise is a period piece set in the 1920s. The ride, which is one of the few rides at Disneyland that debuted during the park’s initial opening in 1955 and is still operational, sees guests crowding into a boat and journeying along a river filled with animatronic animals (which appear both under the water and on nearby shores), all while the skipper makes terrible puns and cheesy jokes. It seems like a perfect opportunity for a naturally charismatic (and often goofy) performer like Johnson.

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