Continuing on from where the original 1995 Jumanji film left off, our new film introduces us to four high school students. After a day at school, these four students all end up in detention together. Their punishment is to clean up a room of old tech and magazines. They soon discover an old video game console and turn it on.
Our four students soon commence a game of Jumanji. But, over time, the game has changed- our four students are actually in the Jungle, plus their appearance and skills have now completely changed based on the avatars of the game. Utilising some serious talent, the actors who portray these ‘playable characters’ in Jumanji are Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Jack Black & Karen Gillan.
One of the biggest fears going into this movie was thinking “I hope this film doesn’t hurt the previous 1995 film we all loved”. I was scared it would damage everything that was so great about the old film, especially the memory of the late Robin Williams whom we all miss daily. I personally saw the original film in cinemas and fell in love with the world, enjoying every one of the suspenseful adventures that came to any players who dared roll the dice.
I’m proud to say that Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle does not damage or hurt the previous film by any means. This new film is different from the original but also uses references that are more common in today’s world of tech. Anyone who watches this film will relate to the many of the jokes and ‘levels’ that our players are challenged with. I should also mention that one of the female leads is actually using the male avatar, and this character is played by the actor Jack Black. This joke and character alone differs greatly from the previous film. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is creative and provides a fun ride of action and humour while staying very true to the 1st film and plot.
While the film is rated PG, the film does surprisingly manage to sneak in a couple of sexual/male gender-related jokes which I felt went a little too far for a PG/family film. Our characters are playing a life-threatening game, but for some reason, we have to jokes about them having to go for a pee, or discovering and discussing body parts.
As the film is based on a game, there were many things that also could have been added to make it feel more like a video game. There were so many times where I felt things could have been funnier or more creative if certain elements were added or considered. Also, the teenager who selects Kevin Hart’s avatar didn’t quite match up from teenager to adult character. But the film’s spotlight for me were The Rock & Jack Black easily.
Overall, this is a thumbs-up, worthy sequel. This film, to my surprise, shows a lot of respect for the original 1995 film that we all grew up with, but also lets its audience know that the film is simply all about having a laugh and a bit of fun along the way. While certain opportunities may have been missed when comes to the game world, these issues are minor nitpicks considering how bad this film could have been.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden