Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Synopsis

Wow, what a movie! I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle on Tuesday night, and I’m still revelling in how incredible it was. A fantastic comedy/adventure, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle delivers fast-paced action and humor through a hilarious and endearing cast in a plot that was well-planned, enjoyably predictable, and easy to follow.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie. The film is a clever sequel to the 1995 Jumanji starring Robin Williams. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle begins exactly where the older film left off, with the Jumanji board game half-buried in the beach. The magical board game finds itself in a world where gamers have transitioned from board games to video games, and to compensate, the Jumanji game transforms itself into a video game cartridge. Eventually, the video game ends up in a messy high school storage room.

When four students named Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and Martha (Morgan Turner) receive detention and are forced to clean the room, they come across the game. Intrigued, they plug it in to the old TV and select characters. They are then sucked into the video game as the characters they selected. Spencer, the video game nerd, is intrepid archeologist and explorer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); Fridge, the football star, now a physically weak zoologist named Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); Martha, the introverted and shy girl now Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), a stunning martial artist and “killer of men”; and Bethany, the popular girl, is now Dr. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).

The four must work together and figure out how to use their in-game abilities to overcome the obstacles set before them in the world of Jumanji. To escape the world and get back to their high-school lives, they must figure out how to beat the game.

This review will not contain any spoilers. Let’s take a look at the movie’s strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths

Comedy at its Finest

It goes without saying: the premise itself is fantastic ground for comedy. Watching the Rock play a scrawny high school kid or seeing Jack Black channel his inner teenage girl suffuses the movie with wonderful moments of hilarity as the four high school kids figure out how to use their video game abilities and try to get used to their new bodies. The banter between the four lead actors is nothing short of pure gold.

Solid Storyline

For the characters to escape from Jumanji, they must return a crystal to its rightful place in the forehead of a massive jaguar statue. A villainous archaeologist is trying to stop them and has seemingly unlimited resources. The conflict between the protagonists and the villains may be a bit stereotypical, but it was still incredibly entertaining. The storyline flowed exactly like a videogame, which obviously fit the theme of the movie well.

Internally Consistent

As the majority of the story takes place inside a video game, there are certain elements of the story that allow for even more comedic moments. NPCs (Non Player Characters) in the game do not behave like real people, only saying a few pre-programmed lines. When characters die, they regenerate with one fewer lives than they had previously. These elements of the story create more comedic moments and contribute to the consistency of the storyline.

Enjoyably Predictable

There were countless times throughout the movie in which I predicted what would happen next with consistent accuracy. While this can often make a movie unenjoyable or uninteresting, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle managed to use this feature to its favor, making the movie endearing and fun to watch. The film does a wonderful job of setting up the plot and foreshadowing the coming events in such a way that a viewer can figure out what will happen next without becoming bored by the film.

Great Acting

On both the parts of the video game avatars and the high school students, the acting was phenomenal. The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan did an amazing job acting as video game avatars that simultaneously have their own unique abilities and the fears and insecurities of the high school students that are trapped in the game. The high school students, in turn, make the most of their relatively little screen time. The dynamic between the four students in their real world is very entertaining and believable.

Pays Homage to 1995 Jumanji

Finally, the new movie pays homage to the old one in several wonderful ways. I rewatched the 1995 Jumanji in the afternoon before going to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle that same evening. The new movie makes several obvious references to the old movie, both in terms of the game and the storyline. However, the new film does not attempt to carbon-copy the old one, and firmly establishes itself as its own movie.

Weaknesses

I thought long and hard about the movie’s weaknesses. Through the entire end credits and the transit home, I tried to poke holes in the plot, criticize the characters, and find something wrong with the movie. And as hard as I tried, I came up short: as far as I’m concerned, there were no weaknesses with this film.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an excellent film. With greatly entertaining action scenes and fantastic comedy spread through the whole movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is very entertaining and certainly is worth a trip to the theater.

I have to rate this film an outstanding 10/10.

Did you watch Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? What did you think of it? Comment below and let me know!

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