The game is far from over. Jumanji was an adventure story set around a board game called “Jumanji” which brings its characters into our world. The only way for all the carnage to end was to finish the game. The late Robin Williams had all the charm in Jumanji and we remember him for it. With Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the game is no longer a board game but has evolved into a video game. The idea is still the same only this time you are sucked into the game instead of the game coming to you. The film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (San Andreas), Kevin Hart (Ride Along), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Jack Black (King Kong) as the characters who appear in the video game, they are the avatars that the kids embody once they enter the world of Jumanji. After the tragic loss of Robin Williams many people spoke out against this film and I was one of the people who thought that this new movie wouldn’t be any good when compared to the 1995 comedy. I happy to say to say that the latest Jumanji is filled with many surprises that offers huge laughs and a fun time at the theater.
Four kids in High School are sent to detention after getting into trouble. We have the smart, nerdy guy Spencer (Alex Wolff); the football jock “Fridge” (Ser’Darius Blain); the girl who can’t stop being on her phone Bethany (Madison Iseman); and finally, we have the shy girl Martha (Morgan Turner). They are tasked with cleaning a room and end up finding a game console that has no markings indicating what brand it is. They decide to take a break and try out the game. They each choose their characters and as soon as the game starts, they are literally sucked into the world of Jumanji.
As each player enters the game they become the characters that they chose and eventually learn what skills and weaknesses they have. They learn of the backstory of Jumanji as described during a cut-scene and they realize that the only way to get back home is to finish the game. Oh, did I forget to mention they each have three lives and once all the lives are used up it’s “Game Over!”.
I don’t want to spoil which student become their respective avatar in the game because you need to experience this for yourself. The young high school kids have good chemistry together as do the avatars they become and the entire movie is hilarious from start to finish. At first, the video game angle intrigued me but after seeing the previews, I thought the film would be stupid, predictable and not as fun as the original film. Man, am I glad to be so wrong.
Kevin Hart has been shown constantly in the trailers as the funny guy and believe me he’s funny here. Each of the avatar actors (The Rock, Gillan, and Black) are all good here and they display some great scenes of comedy they had me laughing and clapping at the same time; especially Jack Black who really steals the show in his performance. The film does have a central villain in the movie, but he’s largely underused and we, the audience, don’t really care about him and I think that’s okay. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is all about the game and the players that we follow and it does share the same idea that the original film had and pays tribute to Robin Williams in a great and honorary way.
Verdict 5 out of 5
Believe me when I say this, but I was so surprised at how much fun Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was. The film has non-stop laughs throughout, hilarious surprises, numerous references to the 1995 film and video games in general and is just a fun time watching. The director (Jake Kasdan), main screenwriter (Chris McKenna) and the entire cast bring so much energy into this film that I want to see it multiple times. Robin Williams was great in Jumanji and it’s nice to see that this new idea doesn’t try to one-up it in any way. It pays its respect and gives the audience what they want…a great time at the movies and one heck of a surprise!