Four stereotypical teenagers, jock, cheerleader, girl nerd and boy nerd, are thrust together into the basement of their high school where they find Jumanji now on Atari… lookalike console. Each teen takes on the role of a typical video game character, of course significantly different than themselves. In many ways it feels like a reboot to the 1995 film “Jumanji”, it is actually a direct sequel with several nice nods to the original. You won’t need to see the original to make sense of this one.
As the players fight their way through the hostile world of Jumanji, they learn about themselves and each other things they never would have suspected. That’s a really cheesy way to describe this rousing adventure comedy. Once you’re past the slow almost awkward introduction, Jumanji opens up into a beautiful jungle filled with video game tropes. There’s enough explanation for those that don’t play video games to understand what is going on without too much to become annoying to those that do.
With over twenty years since the first movie in the series it almost seems weird to compare them, but here I go. There’s actually not a whole lot in common between the two as far themes and plot go. The types of relationships explored are much different and so are the characters. Both are fun, exciting, and funny, but Welcome to the Jungle kicks it up a notch in every category especially comedy. The comedic chemistry of the four leads is outstanding and Dwayne Johnson is the funniest I have seen him. Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black all bring their A-game too.
Now you’ve probably heard of those violent video games. If this were actually a video game it would be on the list. There are quite a few fights and brutal deaths. Theres a fair amount of mild sexual conversation that’s probably fine for teens, but could bring on some questions from younger audiences. There’s also a little more course language than the original, around the same level as Men in Black.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is also a good workout for your home theatre with great visuals and good use of surrounds. If you got a good subwoofer, you’ll definitely feel the drums of Jumanji calling you. You won’t need anything special though to have a good time watching the great story and acting here. I give Jumanji an 8/10. Watch it, but probably not with your kids, especially if they are prone to nightmares.
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