Film Review: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the latest (and second only) in the franchise. It’s hard to believe this is only the second time we’ve gone to Jumanji – But this time, we’re not entering the cursed board game, but rather a cursed video game. The game learned from its previous encounter that kids trends change, so when a teen called Alex is given the old board game, it turns itself into something he’s much more interested in – A video game. How does the Robin Williams classic adapt with the times and translate to a modern audience? Read on!
Jumanji has returned and this time, it is cursed!
In the 1990s, when Alex Vreeke obtains the board game Jumanji, he is completely unamused by it – As video games are now the name of the game. When Jumanji goes unnoticed, it transforms itself into a video game, which wakes Alex up in the middle of the night. He tries out his new game and immediately vanishes.
Jump forward and we’re now in 2016 – Where a group of students are all brought together by one thing… Detention! The four students are completely different, but when they find Jumanji in the dirty room they are cleaning for detention, they then stumble upon Jumanji. Deciding to have a break, they turn on the game and select a character – Before being transported into the game itself. They quickly come to terms with their new personas and have to learn how to deal with being in the jungle – and being people that they really aren’t in reality.
Why have they all been pulled into the jungles of Jumanji – and will the teenagers survive?
There are one or two moments where the animation gets a little bit simple, but it doesn’t need to be a visual spectacle. It’s just a downright good film, with a lot of good ideas thrown in one quickly blended together concoction. There are definitely going to be much better looking films, especially this year and at the end of 2017 (just look at Star Wars, Avengers and Black Panther for one thing), but don’t let this put you off. Jumanji is fully realised in this new world.
There’s not too much to say with the music in the film, as it was mostly just ominous music. With the constant sound of the Jumanji drums going off, it served as a reminder that the game of Jumanji was going to reach another point. Although, audio cues were used to perfection in the film, such as whenever Dwayne’s character, Dr Smolder Bravestone, would come out with his ability of Smoldering Intensity. It played up these moments, adding brilliant comedic timing.
The actual music though, including the soundtrack, was none too surprising – It just worked very well!
Apart from what some people might be tempted to immediately say, this film wasn’t just a cash cow on a much beloved film. Sure, you can argue the toss about how an IP that’s been brought back is just trying to live in its former fame and glory, but really – Why waste an IP which could be explored much more? It didn’t add anything particularly special, nor did it do anything that we haven’t seen in a movie of this kind before. But what this film did do was bring together an audience, old and new, to enjoy something that’s just as fantastic, just as funny, just as dangerous and as surreal as the original.
No, you’re right – You can’t beat the original, so why try to? The film understood this beautifully. There was a wonderful moment in the film, where one of the characters mentions he’s been living in a house built by someone else. It’s an interesting, compelling and wonderful way to pay tribute, as if you have seen the original before seeing this film, you’ll understand this moment. It felt like this was made for a bit of fun – and fun it is – and it felt like it was made to pay homage to one of the greatest actors, potentially of all time.
Your experience of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle may be different, but from where I sat, on New Years’ Day, I heard so many people of various ages laughing such a real laugh together. It’s a true family friendly film and no matter your age, there’s something in it for you. If you were a fan of the original, you’d be doing the original a disservice by putting this film off. The cast were excellent together and the story was fine for what it was. If I had to criticise it, then perhaps it clung a it too much to cliches? But honestly, if I’m going to actually put the film down for that, then perhaps we’ve lost a simple joy in our lives.
It’s not deep, it’s not clever and it doesn’t pretend to be. From Jack Black with his downright hilarious impressions of a teenage girl, through to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson with his Smoldering Intensity, the characters were all enjoyable and they were all clever. If you have little else planned to start of 2018, then head down to your local cinema and get yourself a ticket to see this. It’s well worth your time. In the mean time, if you have seen Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, then please let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.