When the sequel / spin-off to Jumanji was announced, I wasn’t sure what to think. The original movie was enjoyable enough, but didn’t really warrant a sequel. There was a spiritual sequel in Zathura, but I never got around to seeing it. After Robin Williams died, it was announced they were still planning on making / releasing the movie with a tribute to his influence. After trailers came out, I was intrigued and realized a combination of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black is just what this world needed. So how did the release hold up?
I would give it 8 “weapons valets” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
Jumanji (the board game) upgraded to a video game after finding out no one plays board games anymore. 4 high school kids discover the game during detention and are soon sucked into the game … literally. They must work together to beat the game before running out of lives.
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, and Nick Jonas
The way Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black play off each other is amazing. Johnson and Hart continue the chemistry built in Central Intelligence with an added comedic twist of Hart playing the larger character in “real life” who attempts to bully Johnson. It is completely in line with his small man persona he uses in most movies, but might be my favorite rendition thus far. Jack Black happens to play a teenage girl a little too well … I think he might have actually body swapped with the younger blonde girl for this role. Their banter results in almost non-stop comedy and also likely several great deleted scenes / takes.
The worst part isn’t that bad, it just seems they dropped the video game aspect unless it was convenient for the plot. There wasn’t much to signify it was a video game outside of the life count, skill pop-up, NPCs, and when The Rock stated his actions. The NPC bit got played frequently, but they could have thrown some other common game tropes in for good measure such as: locked areas, health bars, cheat codes, upgrades, boss fights, or something along those lines.
Also, this could have easily been a PG movie and much more family friendly with a little editing. I enjoyed the penis jokes just as much as the next person, but cutting those out would have only helped expand their audience … which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a great video game movie. On top of that, it is a fun movie that most everyone would enjoy. Sure it could have been improved, but almost everything can be a little more finely tuned. I would suggest checking it out during a matinee/discount day or waiting for it to hit the second run theatres. Seeing it on the big screen with a crowd of people will only enhance this movie, so go check it out!
My favorite version of characters getting pulled into another medium is easily Last Action Hero. A fan of the Jack Slater franchise (fictional Arnold Schwarzenegger movies) gets sucked into the latest movie using a special ticket. The comedy and satirized action movie tropes are pure gold. It doesn’t get a lot of love, but I stand behind it wholeheartedly. So if you appreciate action movies, parodies, or movies where the main character(s) get sucked into another “universe” then you should check this one out!