Details: Released in 2017. About two hours long. Stars Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the sequel to the 1995 film, Jumanji. Unlike the original Jumanji which was a fairly serious children’s movie that dipped its toes into the horror genre, Welcome to the Jungle is not that serious at all and is instead a fun little adventure with lots of laughs.
The film takes place in 2017, twenty-two years after the events of Jumanji, which was released in 1995. In the original Jumanji, some kids found a supernatural board game where each roll of the dice summoned something from the horrifying jungle known as Jumanji and brought it into the real world. The players then had to overcome that horror/monster in order to roll the dice again. If you beat the game, all the things from the game would disappear as if the events that occurred during the game never happened. Now, in 2017, some high school kids have found the game again, except that this time Jumanji has turned into a video game… in order to keep up with the times I guess. Furthermore, the game doesn’t summon monsters into the real world but sucks the kids into the game and into the mythical jungle of Jumanji. There they must beat the game in order to escape the jungle and return to the real world.
This is really a very different movie from the original one. The tone here is more akin to what you’d expect from casting The Rock, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart. It’s a funny movie and never gets too dark, unlike the original Jumanji.
What I liked most about this movie and is really the main theme is the video game aspect. The movie sticks very closely with the idea that they are now inside a video game. For instance, they each get multiple lives so they can die a few times, they each have strength and weakness attributes, and there are even non-player controlled characters. As someone who’s played his fair share of video games, this was very fun to see.
The acting is also interesting, primarily Jack Black’s acting. When the kids get sucked into the game, they take the form of video game characters played by The Rock, Karen Gillian, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. Most of the characters somewhat resemble the kid that they represent, except that the kid that turned into Jack Black was blonde bimbo, Instagram/social media attention whore. Black does such an entertaining yet convincing job playing a blonde high school girl that throughout the movie, I really did start seeing Jack Black as the blonde girl rather than as an actor playing a blonde girl. It was fun to see.
Overall, it was a fun, flimsy movie. Don’t expect any big emotions or ideas. This is just a two-dimensional adventure movie with lots of laughs sprinkled throughout. It’s not going to move you or win any Academy Awards, but it will entertain you.