Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black (L-R) star in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (Photo Credit: Frank Massi/Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.).
The Rare Reboot That Gets it Right
Few sequels or franchise reboots have expressed their need to connect quite like “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” does.
Fans of the original “Jumanji” will be pleasantly surprised because “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” provides the perfect amount of nostalgia and flair.
The movie opens in 1996 when Alex finds the now-discarded board game that appeared in the Robin Williams classic.
As most teens would, Alex ignores it, because who wants to play a board game?
That night, the board game turns into an old-school video game cartridge.
Upon being inserted into the teen’s console, something strange happens.
The movie cuts to the present day and introduces four new teen characters.
First, there’s the smart and awkward Spencer (Alex Wolff); his former best friend “Fridge,” (Ser’Darius Blain) now a high school football star who makes Spencer do his homework; the selfie-obsessed popular girl, Bethany (Madison Iseman); and Martha (Morgan Turner), a stale version of Allison, the smart and “angsty” girl in “The Breakfast Club.”
Much like in that ‘80s classic, these kids all get detention together, but instead of smoking pot, they get sucked into a virtual jungle.
The teens discover the discarded video game console in the detention room.
They plug it in, the game boots up, and the kids choose their characters.
Then they get sucked into the game, where they, among other things, meet virtual Alex (Nick Jonas), the fellow who got sucked into the game 20 years before.
Most of the film’s humor is derived from the teens’ avatar choices.
The nerd gets to be Dwayne Johnson.
The giant, masculine football player gets to be Kevin Hart (who, it is frequently noted, is not tall).
The shy, “angsty” Martha gets to be a smoking hot, self-described “badass” played by Karen Gillan and the selfie-obsessed Barbie doll gets to be Jack Black.
The crew must navigate a mission that involves a large gem and a villain (Bobby Cannavale) who has insects crawling in and out of his mouth without batting an eye.
Fair warning, this was actually one of the nastiest parts of movie and I actually got chills watching a millipede crawl in his ear.
Initially, my expectations for this film were low.
It seems like every Hollywood remake these days tries way too hard to be funny.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” gets close to trying too hard, but it maintains enough crude humor and innuendos to be enjoyable.
From conversation about the underside of a rhino to an entire scene dedicated to Allison peeing as a guy for the first time in Jack Black’s body, the film has plenty of memorable moments that keep it fresh.
To compliment the hilarity, there are tons of action scenes that will actually keep audiences interested.
Perhaps its my inner teen speaking, but I seriously felt like I was playing the video game along with the teens and caught myself on multiple occasions trying to figure out what the next move was.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
The movie had it all: beautiful cinematography, crude humor, intense fight scenes and comical acting.
Johnson, Hart, Gillan and Black all did an excellent job playing their teenage character foils.
This reboot exceeded almost all expectations and is sure to make audiences want to re-watch the 1995 prequel.