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Submitted by: Andy Canoy
I love the original Jumanji as a kid seeing the board game come to the real world and cause destruction until the game is finished. I had my concerns going into this sequel 20 plus years later but I sat down in the theater, watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and I was pleasantly surprised. Robin Williams must be laughing and proud.
Rather than the game coming to life, now the kids are sucked into the game. This time, they’re stuck in a video-game. I loved the twist because it addresses common video-game tropes such as lifebars, strengths/weaknesses, NPCS, huge inventory spaces, etc. I laugh at how absurd it is in a game where eating food restores your health or someone can survive falling from several feet in the air without dying or breaking bones. This movie does rely on the videogame humor which may not work for those who don’t play or aren’t familiar with videogames. It depends on the viewer. As someone who has played video-games from Nintendo to Playstation, it was so hilarious. It would be so funny if in real life you can master every skill known to man by just practicing them for a couple of hours. Imagine how advanced society would be in a couple of years.
The main cast totally was extremely hilarious together. All of them had amazing chemistry together that you believe they’re real friends. Their avatars are the common characters you see in a video-game like the muscular hero or the attractive chick that wears short shorts. What makes them even funnier is that they have to play teenagers trapped in bodies that don’t match their real-life personas. The Rock is the nerdy gamer, Kevin Hart is the football player, Jack Black is the pretty and popular but self-centered teenage girl, and Karen Gillan is the socially awkward teenage girl. Jack Black was the funniest of the group because he had to play a social-media addicted teenage girl. You’ll laugh when you see him exhibit the mannerisms like being obsessed with Instagram or caring about her looks. Surprisingly, there were even some heartfelt moments which made them all the more relatable. For all their differences, when they trust each other, they can conquer almost any challenge.
The main villain was kinda forgettable. He is nowhere near as memorable as the Hunter from the original which fun fact was played by the dad of the kids. They should have taken him out of the film and just focused on the 4 main leads exploring the dangerous world trying the return the lost jewel and finishing the game.
Just like in a video-game, your eyes will be pleased at what’s on-screen. Visually, the Hawaiian locations provide eye-pleasing backdrops for the effects-heavy action like thunderous stampedes, motorcycle ninjas with guns, or bad guys flinging up in the air after being punched or thrown. Director Jake Kasdan has a sense of how to create some old-school action sequences.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle may not have the charm of the 1995 film, but it is a fun, enjoyable, comedic adventure that brings us to the world of the game. The charming cast is nearly impossible to dislike in roles that require them to play teens trapped in adult bodies. It pays respects to the Robin Williams version while adding enough twists to be unique. This is one sequel I was happy to see.