So, if you were like me and heard about the idea of Jumanji becoming a reboot, remake, sequel, whatever they were calling it back then, you were skeptical. Also, a little worried that they would try and update it and modernize it to appeal to the next generation and this is just one of those gems that can’t be updated with today’s audience. I guess I have to put my foot in my mouth because I was completely wrong and I thoroughly enjoyed this updated sequel to the 1996 version titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The Rock a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson took center stage leading a whole new cast into the world of Jumanji. This time instead of the jungle coming into our world, the movie took you inside of the game to the jungle where Alan Parrish spent 26 years in. Along for the ride are Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas who play avatars in a video game version of the legendary board game. 4 teenagers who fit the clear tropes of any high school movie are sent to detention for their own growing pains getting in the way of school. In detention they come across the video game, choose their avatars and once they hit start they are whisked away into the game. Once there, they must work together and complete the mission of the game in order to return home.
Since this was announced that this would be a direct sequel to the original, my first thought was how in the hell did it become a video game. The film explains that and while I get the reason and it does make sense, the way it’s executed is a reminder as to why I didn’t want this sequel done in the first place. Nevertheless, the transition from board game to video game made sense and I accepted it and just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
I found this film to be pretty funny and the cast all played their parts beautifully, especially Jack Black who I guess you would say had the most difficult part seeing as the teen who chose his avatar is a self-absorbed selfie obsessed teen who is all about look but no substance. So Black had to play a girl and a bougie one at that. Let me just say he nails this role of playing a female trapped in a man’s body without being offensive or stereotypical. Which is a blessing given how most of the time when there are gender swap plots, the actors tend to take it too far because they believe the audience just won’t translate it unless they go over the top. In fact, all of them had to kind of switch it up to show range and versatility playing teenagers except for Kevin Hart. Why? Because he is Kevin Hart and you don’t fix what isn’t broke apparently, so if you enjoy his humor and antics from his other films, you know what to expect from this role.
The video game aspect I think is a nice touch as well in the way they implemented it into this world. They used a lot of video game rules and regulations to help with the humor and guidelines of the film. It was like watching a literal meta video game come to life and it worked. Too bad they weren’t in 8-bit like the game was but wishful thinking. Giving each avatar their own special abilities, strengths, and weaknesses added a special touch to the film making it more original from the first one and standing on its legs. The film is full of action and is even mysterious with their puzzles as they try and solve the mystery of their mission. By giving the audience something to do while watching the movie I think is always a good idea. The chemistry between the set of actors I believe is great too. The humor definitely fits both for kids and adults and trust me when I say you will see why.
With this movie the lesson or I should say message they convey in this sequel is don’t judge a book by it’s cover and just discovering who you are as a teen is not only difficult but a part of life. At that age, you are always trying to figure it out as you go along and may stumble along the way. Overall, I thought the movie was a lot of fun. Something in me still would have loved it just as a board game and having our world have to come to terms with all of these jungle elements wreaking havoc. No one comes off annoying in this film I think and I actually would be opened to a sequel. The sequel does mention and give a moment that Alan Parrish, played by Robin Williams in the original, was there in the jungle. It’s a small nod to him but I think needed. The movie wrapped up nicely and also didn’t give us a cliché outcome like most would expect so I enjoyed that as well. I am recommending this film to families, anyone who enjoyed the first one, and people who just want to submit to a mini adventure for 90+ mins. I think this movie is rewatchable too. Especially with families, this is a film you can pop in and watch together or as a double feature with the first one. So, if I have taught you anything it’s watch a movie before you judge. If you don’t like it afterwards, so be it. Should you have any interest in seeing this film from the trailer or the nostalgic of the first one, give it a shot.
5 out of 5
I appreciate you reading my review. Let me know your thoughts of the film in the comment section. Ask yourself, was making this a video game the right way to go? Do/Did you enjoy the cast chosen? Did this movie need to be made with a sequel? I hope you enjoyed the review and I’ll see you at the movies.