One may think two things about “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”. A) Is this a remake that’s gonna suck? B) Is this actually a doco about Guns ‘n’ Roses and we’ve all been tricked? Well, I can safely say – it’s neither of these two.
“Jumanji” follows on from the 90’s tale starring Robin Williams, where Williams and crew get sucked into a board game and find themselves fighting for the game – and their lives. The 2017 version playfully makes two homages to the original version, firstly offering a beginning sequence set in 1996, where a kid finds the Jumanji board game washed up on a beach, before dismissing it, stating that no one plays board games anymore. As some distant jungle sounds and some luminating green light, the game turns itself into a video game, the kid plays it and he disappears into the television.
Fast forward to the present day, where 4 kids find themselves in detention together, and while cleaning up an old storage room find Jumanji. In an effort of procrastination, they start up the game and each choose a character, and soon get sucked into the game of Jumanji, landing heavily on the jungle floor.
It is there that they learn the rules of the game – they have to find and transport a stone to a giant statue of a jaguar, and avoid getting their 3 lives lost. Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan form the four, and the centre of the movie going forward.
The adventures ahead are all very funny, and surprisingly edge-of-your-seat thrills. Honestly, I was expecting a real trainwreck of a film but director Jake Kasdan has provided one of the most entertaining and clever comedies of the year.
While it may seem like an obvious storyline to take the original “Jumanji” and merely modernise it to the current day, “Welcome to the Jungle” does so much more – and also has a dig at the past at the same time, but in a clever and comical way. Black playing a man with the mind of a teenage girl is brilliant, and Gillan’s character’s first attempt at flirting (keep in mind these are teenagers) is belly laugh-worthy.
The best part of “Jumanji” is that all the good bits aren’t just in the trailer. Expect much more – and a storyline that actually brought a tear to my eye at the end. Not even kidding, people. The casting is spot on, and the comedy runs rich and throughout. If you’re after a bit of action, the film also provides a hefty dose of it.
I always have to give Johnson an award for his acting, and of course his pecs. Seriously, those things must have their own postcode. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️