Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle – A review

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an action-comedy sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams classic Jumanji.

After Williams escaped from the magical board game 23 years ago, a group of unsuspecting teens are sucked into the mysterious jungle of Jumanji.

Acclaimed director Jake Kasdan updates the movie for a modern audience by transforming the nostalgic board game into a vortex-creating video game which sucks the audience in.

The four misfit teens find themselves in detention, where they discover the Jumanji game cartridge gathering dust. After hooking it up and haphazardly selecting avatars, the students are dragged into the depths of Jumanji, only to discover their avatars don’t exactly resemble their real life personalities.

Stereotypical nerd Spencer Gilpin finds himself transformed into the buff explorer Smolder Bravestone, while his childhood best friend-turned-jock Fridge is reduced to the feeble Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a zoologist and weapons carrier. Meanwhile, Spencer’s equally nerdy crush, Martha Kaply is refigured into the confident and alluring martial-artist Ruby Roundhouse. Whereas, Instagram-princess Bethany Walker is trapped inside the middle-aged male body of cartographer Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon. With their new bodies and reversed roles, the tension between the four ensures hilarity ensues.

The teens quickly realise that you don’t just play Jumanji, you must survive it. Each are given three lives, and while the concept of impending death is initially played for laughs, as their lives dwindle the film takes a more serious turn.

With a star studded cast list including Dwayne Johnston, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillen the movie was never going to be a dud, but Bobby Cannavale makes for an unengaging villain.

Unlike Johnathan Hyde, who played the formidable hunter Van Pelt in the 1995 movie, Cannavale fails to put the audience on edge with his presence. However, the iconic chilling jungle drumbeat will raise the hair on the back of your neck from the opening credits.

Not a patch on the original but a feel-good comedy that is worth seeing at least once even if to just watch Jack Black impersonating a teenage girl.

If you’re interested here is a teaser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QKg5SZ_35I

 

Hannah McSorley
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