Photocredit @ Sony Pictures Entertainment
When they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, four teenagers are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting and into the bodies of their avatars. To return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever.
Set over 20 years after the events of the original, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the soft-sequel, hard-reboot of the late Robin Williams cult classic. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas, the film continues the story of the cursed board game but gives it a modern spin.
There are plenty of reasons why this shouldn’t work, from the whole body-switching aspect to the radical change in tone. And yet, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has fulfilled all expectations by giving audiences exactly what they want – an audacious, incredibly funny and action-packed romp into the wilderness.
What makes it so fun is having each actor act against their type while navigating the game’s levels, such as Johnson playing an adventurer who shrinks from danger, and Black assuming the persona of a spoilt teenage girl. The movie excels when these colourful characters clash and try to make sense of their newly-acquired quirks and abilities.
If you enjoyed films such fantasy features like Journey to the Center of the Earth, Zathura: A Space Adventure, and Kong: Skull Island, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a must-see.
That being said, it does fall short when it comes to the main villain. He is clearly very underwritten and comes off as really one-dimensional. While not a game changer (pun intended) that detracts from the overall quality of the film, it does stand out as something that’s severely lacking.
Led and elevated by its likeable cast, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle effectively captures childlike innocence and blends it together with a digestible story and energetic set pieces. All in all, it’s a great piece of entertainment, a perfect family film for this holiday season and one of the biggest surprises of the year.