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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle: Goofy, Entertaining & Very Different to the Original

  • Dwayne JohnsonKaren Gillan...
  • 3DAction & Adventure
  • Jake Kasdan
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle: Goofy, Entertaining & Very Different to the Original

Standing as a sort of spiritual sequel to the 1995’s Jumanji, Jake Kusdan’s retelling of the tale is both silly and entertaining in equal measure. Deviating from the animal pandemonium found in the original and diving head-first into a CGI-heavy video-game adventure, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a surprisingly pleasing and an entertainingly goofy big-screen adventure which, apart from few flaws and the lack of a convincing villain, manages to exceed expectations and deliver on its promise.

Picking up on the present day, the story introduces us to four very different teenagers – the geek Spencer (Wolff), football-star Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson (Blain), shy-girl Martha Kaply (Turner) and popular pretty-girl Bethany Walker (Iseman) – who have all found themselves in detention together for different reasons. As part of their mutual punishment, the teens have been asked to clean out the old storage room and while doing that, they manage to stumble upon an old video game called Jumanji. Wanting to try it out, the boys soon manage to convince the girls to join them for a game, only to be magically sucked and transported into its seemingly strange and dangerous virtual world.

Once physically there, the teenagers find themselves transformed into the respective characters picked from the game’s menu which include, Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), Franklin ‘Moose’ Finbar (Hart), Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) and Professor Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Oberon (Black stealing the show at every turn). They soon learn that each of them possess certain strengths and weakness as well as only three lives before the game comes to an end. Despite their differences, they’re forced to work together and survive the perils thrown at them – including battling strange animals in even stranger surroundings – while also finding a way to return a rare jewel to its mountaintop and save Jumanji, before the evil explorer, John Hardin Van Pelt (Cannavale), gets his hands on it and kills them all.

Goofy and entertainingly cartoonish, the seriousness and the darkness of the original is nowhere to be found in this latest action-adventure bonanza – a strength and a weakness at the same time depending on your love for the original film – with director Jake Kusdan ensuring that a steady pace of undertakings and jokes is kept throughout its reasonable runtime. Playing to the strength of its stars and mostly likable ensemble cast, the actors are one of the movie’s biggest strengths with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – who gets a chance to flex his comedic muscles to great effect – as well as Jack Black as the hot-girl stuck in a man’s body, serving to be the strongest of the bunch. The plot is easy to follow and while the special effects, as well as the story’s villain – played by strangely possessed Bobby Cannavale – are not as polished or as fleshed out as they perhaps should be, the overall flow of the story is not totally impaired as a result.

As eager as it may seem at times, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a definite crowd-pleaser. Loud, brisk and incredibly light on its feet, there is a lot of fun to be had here and although this computer-generated version of the tale is nowhere near as enjoyable or as poignant as the Robin Williams original, its goofball charms are incredibly hard to resist.

Like This? Try

Jumanji (1995), Hook (1991), Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

360 Tip

Van Pelt was also the name of the villain in the 1995 version of Jumanji; whereas in the original he was an animal hunter, this time round he has the ability to control animals inside the video game. 

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