Over the years I have come to enjoy movies that provide the chance to explore a new reality. And, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” gives it's audience a heart-pounding adventure mixed with plenty of laughter.
Jumanji starts were the 1995 film left off: The magical board game is found on the beach and is taken home by a father to give to his son. The son seems uninterested at the gift stating “who plays board games anymore.” He tosses it aside. Overnight the game transforms into a video game cartridge.
With this new development, the son’s interest in the game is renewed. He plugs the cartridge into his gaming system and is sucked into the game. Years later, four teenagers serving detention at their high school find the game system as they are cleaning up a basement.
After selecting their characters, they find themselves in the game. Once inside they see themselves as the avatars they selected. As they explore this new world they run into a safari guide who gives them a mission to restore the balance of power in the land of Jumanji. Seeing this as their only way to get home the group of teenagers accept the quest.
As a film lover, I have watched a lot of good and bad movies. The hardest genre to tackle in my view is a comedy because it is so subjective to people’s taste. Jumanji does a great job of bringing its audience into the story with humor.
This is first achieved by the casting. Casting guys like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black seems like a weird combination at first, but oddly enough it works. The trio played off of each other’s strengths does not force its laughs from the audience. The theater I was in the laughter seemed to flow like a river.
Black’s character, Bethany, was very entertaining. In the real world, Bethany is a teenage girl, but the character she selected in the game unknown to her was a 42-year-old man that works as a cartographer. Seeing her face this new reality was very funny.
Jumanji makes fun of video games themselves by referencing certain aspects that are common to a lot of games. An aspect that was shown in the movie was the menu listing the character strengths and weaknesses. Hart’s character's weakness was listed as “cake” and Johnson’s character had none whatsoever.
The film also pays tribute to Robin Williams’ involvement in the previous film as the character Alan Parrish. The reference to Williams’ contribution is very subtle.
"Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle" rewards its audience with a great time and a lot of laughs. It is also a great change of pace from the bland films currently in theaters.
I give “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” four and a half mustaches out of five.
This movie is rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content, and some language. It runs 119 minutes.