“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (2017) will make audiences laugh beyond belief. From start to end, this 2017 standalone reboot of the 1995 classic starring the late Robin Williams was nonstop fun.
“Jumanji” focused on a group of high school students, who normally, would have never even looked at each other but have all conveniently been given the same punishment for detention. The students in the film were “Fridge” (a football jock), Bethany (a self-absorbed, phone-addicted, cheerleader), and Martha (a shy, yet rebellious bookworm). Spencer, the unpopular, video game nerd was played by the Alex Wolf of the Nickelodeon special series “The Naked Brothers Band” (2007-2009). While left to remove staples from old magazines, they come across an old game control set for a video game called “Jumanji.” Intrigued, they decided to partake in the game. After choosing their avatars, one by one, they were digitalized and sucked into the game, where they landed in a jungle known as Jumanji. Here, the students turned players take the place of their chosen avatars and must work together to get the Jewel of the Jungle back to its place. However, as in every video game, they must fend off a group of enemies. In this case, the prime enemy, Van Pelt, played by Bobby Cannavale, happens to be in control of all animals in Jumanji, so it was as if the entire jungle was against them.
With avatars played by Kevin Hart, Jack Black and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Karen Gillan, it was no surprise that this movie was simply a collage of unpredictable circumstances complimented by the humor of these well-known actors. Taking complete advantage of their strengths and weaknesses, they proceeded on a journey where they learned more about themselves than they had already known. The characters ended up embodying more qualities than what the game had to offer, which led them to overcome certain tasks and in the end become closer than they were before. Though the game had a slightly predictable result, the means of getting there was pretty unexpected.
Despite the lack of parental guidance needed for the 1995 hit (directed by Jake Kasdan, most recently known for his work on “Bad Teacher” (2011) and “Sex Tape” (2014)), this sequel is not the ideal kid-friendly film. Due to a few sexual innuendos and rather colorful vocabulary, parents are advised to reconsider taking their children that are younger than 13 to this one.
Otherwise, with a surprise celebrity feature, a rather effeminate Jack Black, a smoldering Dwayne Johnson, a frantic Kevin Hart, and a “dance-fighting” Karen Gillan mixed with a couple of physical engagements, explosions, extreme stunts, and human sacrifices, this movie was quite the amusement. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a positively charming comedy.