Jungle Cruise breathes a new breath of life and mythology into the classic Disney attraction. One of the inaugural attractions that opened in Disneyland in 1955, Jungle Cruise has become a beloved ride as it has developed into the pun-filled comical adventure fans know and love. That spirit of comedy and silliness has been brought over into the film with Dwayne Johnson taking his job as skipper very seriously as is clear by his plentiful puns.
The mythology of the adventure of Jungle Cruise elevates the story in a way very similar to Pirates of the Caribbean with a curse that has led to unwanted immortality. The legend of The Tears Of The Moon Tree is reminiscent of the classic Indiana Jones adventures of the 1980s, as are the heroes, notably Emily Blunt’s Lily Houghton.
But what may be the most interesting piece of lore that is introduced is that the Jungle Cruise ride is now based around Frank’s scam. Although Nilo, who owns the other boats on the river, has his own service that is never explored it seems safe to assume his expeditions are not filled with eye roll inducing puns, fake danger, and a skipper who is more often than not irritated with the tourists on his boat. But the jungle cruise given by Frank Wolff (Johnson) in the first 10 minutes of the film feels exactly like the ride.
Frank’s jungle cruise incorporates some of the most iconic moments including the use of a fake hippopotamus “charging” the boat, the Puka Michuna who Frank tells his passengers hunt humans “attacking” the tourists, and of course the eighth wonder of the world, the backside of water!
The heart of the attraction is clear throughout this scene, but the implication that this scene sets up could change the history of the Jungle Cruise attraction forever. If Jungle Cruise canonically fits into the ride, this implies that the Jungle Cruise empire that is at the many Disney Parks is actually built off of Frank’s initial scam right down to the punny skipper and false danger.
Jungle Cruise is set in the early 1900s during World War I and Frank himself was stuck on the Amazon for hundreds of years after being cursed when he was a Conquistador. His feelings towards the jungle and the tourists that wanted to explore it are understandable after his never-ending life full of loss and frustration. The puns and money-making schemes likely became somewhat infamous especially after he and the Houghtons found The Tears Of The Moon and brought back a blossom from the tree, following this discovery his jungle cruise could have been in high demand. But Frank was finally free of the river and he went to England with Lily and MacGregor.
HOW THE DISNEY ATTRACTION COULD HAVE STARTED FROM FRANK’S JUNGLE CRUISE IN THE FILM
So how could the Disney attraction be a successor of Frank’s own infamous Amazon tour? The simplest answer is Nilo. Frank decimated Nilo’s business at the start of the film when Prince Jocahim’s submarine took out all of Nilo’s boats while chasing Frank, Lily, and MacGregor. Then by the end of Jungle Cruise Frank’s own boat was only a raft when the adventurers returned.
If there was an influx of adventurers and tourists after The Tears Of The Moon Tree was discovered Nilo would undoubtedly want to take advantage of this to rebuild his business. Nilo likely knew of Frank’s own scams to make money considering how often the skipper was in his debt, often enough for Nilo to train his bird to say “Frank owes me money.”
Nilo could have rebuilt his boats to be reminiscent of Frank’s own La Quilla and then structured his new jungle cruise around Frank’s old cons to add a sense of danger and adventure that new arrivals would likely be searching for. If the attraction is meant to be directly tied to the film, then Nilo is the perfect way to build Frank’s jungle cruise full of puns and cons into the thriving empire that the attraction has become with many boats, different locations around the world, and skippers who make puns and pull gags with fake animals to add a sense of adventure.
The classic attraction being built on the back of a con meant to scam tourists out of their money and amuse a skipper who has been cursed to stay on the river for eternity adds a layer of hilarity, depth, and somewhat dark irony to the ride that Dwayne Johnson described as “Walt Disney’s baby”. This only elevates the experience especially if the Disney Parks truly incorporates elements from the film into the attraction.
Jungle Cruise is available to watch in theaters now. What did you think of Jungle Cruise? Do you want to see the film tie into the attraction? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media.
KEEP READING: JUNGLE CRUISE REVIEW: THE FAMILY ADVENTURE OF THE SUMMER