There are some spoilers in this Disney film story! So If you haven't caught Jungle Cruise yet, don't take this warning for granite.
Disney's Jungle Cruise is a movie full of interesting and compelling characters, but one of the most interesting has to be the Conquistador Aguirre, as played by Edgar Ramirez. He is, at least on paper, one of the movie's main villains, but he also has a more complex backstory than you might expect. Also, he's made of snakes. While fans should latch onto the character pretty quickly, there are a couple of scenes that might surprise some viewers, particularly if they are not Spanish speakers.
You've seen Aguirre and his fellow Conquistadors in the trailers for Jungle Cruise. They've been cursed and turned into monsters that are chasing after our heroes, played by Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt. Their existence is what tips Jungle Cruise from simply an adventure movie into the realm of fantasy, and it was apparently this desire for the fantastical that led Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra to make an interesting decision to not subtitle any portion of the film.
There are a couple of scenes in the movie (one where Jesse Plemons, who plays a German prince, is communicating with his minions, and another later on where Aquirre speaks with his fellows) that are performed entirely in a foreign language and are not subtitled at all. The scene done in Spanish is especially interesting, as it's a three-way conversation, eventually turning into an argument, that you won't understand if you don't speak the language. I recently spoke with Edgar Ramirez about the scene and the decision to keep subtitles out, and he told me it was all about taking the audience on a journey. According to Ramirez:
We were all Spanish speakers. The amazing Dani Rovira and Quim Gutierrez. Our incredible director Jaume Collet-Serra, he’s Spanish as well. So it kinda like came out naturally. We tried it in English and we tried it in Spanish and it felt more natural and it felt more inviting to do it in Spanish. This movie is all about taking you on a journey. It’s about you being disconnected from your reality and thinking that there’s a world out that is fantastical and full of mystery and full of fantasy. And we thought that doing it in Spanish and keeping the mystery of not having it subtitled would help to feel that you are completely removed and that you are invited into a journey to a world that is detached from your own world.
I will admit that when I was watching the film, especially this scene, I was afraid there was something wrong with my screener when subtitles did not appear. To be sure, there's never any question of what is happening. You can pick up everything you need to know from the tone and the body language in the performances, but if you don't speak the language, the specifics of what is being said are lost.
It certainly might throw some viewers when they don't pick up what's happening, but if you let the movie take you on the journey that Édgar Ramírez is talking about, then the fact is you don't need those details. You can give yourself over to the mystery of it and simply enjoy the experience.
Jungle Cruise opens in theaters today and is also available on Disney+ with Premiere Access.