Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Ok listen…I walked into this movie like many others, a little upset that they were touching such a classic as Jumanji. I mean who in the world could ever replace or even try to fill the boots of the late Robin Williams? I mean for starters they had 3 (yes 3) A-list actors to try, I was literally shaking my head and expecting the worse. Boy was I surprised!
To start, they took this as a sequel and a updated it greatly if I do have to hesitatingly admit. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is a fun action comedy film, that works as a standalone if need be – and certainly isn’t going to ruin any childhood memories of the original. The new Jumanji sees four students sucked into the game (which has updated its self from a board game to a 32-bit video game) after discovering a dusty old game console in their school’s basement during detention. However, Jumanji needed to be a video game to actually make the sequel current – and it’s the video game aspects of Welcome To The Jungle that actually make it funny. The students choose avatars, and are transformed into the characters they choose. Thus, the nerdy boy becomes Dr Smolder Bravestone (played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson), the jock becomes diminutive zoologist Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart), the quiet girl is transformed into kickass femme fatale Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), and the Instagram-obsessed popular girl is transformed into a ‘curvy’ cartographer called Professor Shelly Oberon, played by Jack Black.
The tropes of gaming are lovingly lampooned throughout the movie. Karen Gillan’s Ruby Roundhouse is wearing tiny short shorts and a leather halter top in the jungle – the ridiculous costume is mocked straight away – and flies through the air to perform karate. The background characters keep repeating themselves as they only have pre-programmed stock phrases in their vocabulary who I as an avid gamer loved as games of the 90’s frustrated the heck out of me for that reason, and The Rock gets super intense and “smolders” every time he says something dramatic. This trope mockery leads to the best laughs in the film, and feel fresh and clever – The one hiccup is Jack Black’s portrayal of a teenage girl, whose jokes on selfie culture and millenial slang seem rather tired at first but eventually seems to fall into place as the film progresses. The cast – who genuinely seem to be having a blast – do the best with the body-swap material they’re given, draw out good laughs constantly through out the film.
This film definitely earns its pg-13 rating. Although videogames and adventure is something that may attract a younger audience, the graphic nature of the avatar deaths is a little strong as most are eaten alive, or explode into a bloody mess. Anyone who watched the original will melancholic while watching this film. I believe director Jake Kasdan did a great job at not trying to replace the original and the memory of Williams while still giving the audience a fun comedy.