Verdict: Leave your world behind for a film you'll find more than fine.
A sequel to one of the most well-remembered films of the nineties, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle brings back the legendary game that's still deadly 22 years later.
What Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is About:
In the original 1995 film, Jumanji was a board game that brought enemies into the real world for the players to fight off. But the call of drums wasn't enough to get the modern kids to play it, so there you have it – a Jumanji video game that sucks teenagers inside it for a real-life high-stakes game that you need to win to escape alive.
The four teenagers that get sucked into the game turn into the avatars they pick for playing the game. Spenser (Alex Wolff) who self-identifies as a nerd turns into a hulking Dr. Smolder Bravestone played by Dwayne Johnson. Fridge (Ser'Darius Blaine), a football player, turns into a mousey Moose Finbar who is played by Kevin Hart. Martha (Morgan Turner), a studious girl turns into Ruby Roundhouse played by Karen Gillan. Bethany (Madison Iceman), the most popular girl in the school becomes Dr. Shelly Oberon played by Jack Black. The four now have to work together to finish the game with their lives at stake.
Easily, one of the best parts of the film is the body-swapping situation. When the characters turn into the opposite of themselves, the actors get to shine as they play against their type. The whole main cast of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does a wonderful job of acting as teenagers in their adult avatars. There are even a few meta moments as the actors get to poke fun at their physical characteristics as they 'adapt' to their new bodies.
Dwayne Johnson is excellent as Spenser who has just discovered that he has muscles and a natural smolder as his literal strength. Kevin Hart brings humor to every situation as the fed-up Fridge who has become a whole lot smaller than he's used to being. Karen Gillan also gets her moment to shine with her dance-fighting sequences. But the acting spotlight goes to Jack Black who plays the role of a self-absorbed teenage girl playing a character who is an overweight middle-aged man to perfection.
There are also many nods to the original Jumanji film as well, so those of you who remember the Robin Williams classic will enjoy seeing many of the elements return – from the characteristic drums to the rhyming clues. Even Nick Jonas' character has several parallels to the first movie.
What Could Have Been Better:
While Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an entertaining throughout, it's not without its few flaws. The main villain (Bobby Cannavale) isn't that scary and there are a few jokes that don't land. But the chemistry between the cast members as both teenagers and their avatars works even in the cheesy moments.
Why You Should Watch It:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is one of the best family comedies of the year. It mixes adventure, a bit of romance, and a whole lot of comedy in a short runtime that doesn't outstay its welcome. It's a delight to see whether or not you're familiar with the ominous game of Jumanji in its previous forms. You would regret not watching this video game film play out