The Rock's Latest Role Is Yet Another Jungle-Themed Action Movie, But Could It Be Overkill?
Alert: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is going to get stranded in the jungle yet again. Well, just fake-stranded (luckily). According to Collider, Johnson is attached to a Jungle Cruise movie, based on the Disney theme park ride of the same name. Either Johnson has a strange affinity for jungle climes, or he has absolutely found his niche in jungle-based action films. Because this Jungle Cruise movie, if not crafted properly, could feel like a retread of his role in the upcoming Jumanji sequel or his role in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Don't get me wrong, I love Johnson and I love a good action film, but is he just getting lazy with his film choices? Or is he actually continuing to subvert our expectations?
In my opinion, this Jungle Cruise flick is most definitely not overkill; it's a confirmation that Johnson is hellbent on continuing to surprise audiences. By creating films that appear to be simply blockbuster films, while actually feeling quite high concept than is typical of an action film, he's making some bold moves with his career.
Jungle Cruise has been bopping around in production limbo since 2015, so it's logical that to give it a shot at success, Disney would bring Johnson on board. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Jungle Cruise "is one of the Disneyland’s original rides and takes park-goers on a journey through a range of leafy settings such as Africa’s Nile and Congo rivers as well as South America’s Amazon." Imaginably, the film adaptation of this ride will not only adapt the setting, but also incorporate some the potential hijinks, detours, and particularities of that environment to make for an action-packed film.
It may be silly to think of this Jungle Cruise film as "high concept." But I would argue that it's precisely because of the great amount of possibilities this particular ride offers as inspiration for the story. Thanks to its setting, as well as Johnson's reported role as star and producer — allowing for greater creative control — this opens the movie up to becoming "high concept."
If you think back to the Pirate of the Caribbean films (based on a Disney ride as well), which I'd also label "high concept," and how wildly inventive they've become with each successive installment, Jungle Cruise has the potential to do the exact same thing. In the end, Johnson comes out of this announcement shining bright, because he's making smart choices and taking bigger risks for his projects.
It may be easy to worry that one of the biggest action stars — well, stars period — is falling into a creative rut with his projects. But Johnson has a few films buffering his Jumanji and Jungle Cruise starring roles. Don't forget that there still a ton of projects including San Andreas 2, a cheeky appearance in the DCEU with Black Adam, and, of course, The Fate of the Furious.
So, don't worry. Johnson isn't falling into a rut; he's just getting started.