Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opens to a dad finding an old, battered board game and brings it home from a jog. Thinking his teenage son would find the board game interesting, he brings it to his room. The son, Alex, instead ignored the game to play with his videogames. Jumanji, in order to stay relevant, turns into a video game and when Alex begins to play, he is sucked right into the world of Jumnji. Fast forward 20 years and a group of teenagers in detention then find the game. In order to occupy some time, they plug in the old game to play. As soon as they select their avatars, they are sucked into the video game where they discover the only way to get home is to return the gem to the Jaguar statue.
I am having a hard time expressing how much I enjoyed this movie. Jack Black hasn’t been funny, in my opinion, in a while but he had to be my favorite character in the film. Seeing him react in ways that a social media obsessed teenage girl would was incredibly funny. His character dealing with having a penis had me in tears. The same goes for Kevin Hart – he is also an actor I haven’t been overly impressed with in a while but he was able to change my mind in this film. I was impressed at how Karen Gillan was able to hold her own against these comedy super stars. And of course, The Rock is The Rock. He is gorgeous and talented and I have yet to watch a project of his that I didn’t enjoy (and yes – that does include Scorpion King).
A lot of respect was paid to the original Jumanji while still keeping the story fresh and new. The score to the movie gave me an almost Indiana Jones vibe as they ran through the jungle and faced off with creatures of all shapes and sizes. The villain to the story wasn’t terribly interesting but it was a fun way to update the hunter Van Pelt was in the original. I don’t feel the story lacked due to an underdeveloped villain because the world was so encompassing. The characters had all matters of wild animals, finding clues to get to the statue, not to mention looking within themselves to figure out exactly what kind of person they want to be.
I fought against seeing this remake for a multitude of reasons but the main reason was that I adored Robin William’s Jumanji. It was a classic that I have enjoyed over and over again over the years and with the ever growing list of flunked remakes, I worried that this title would be added. I am so happy that that wasn’t the case. This film kept true to it’s fan base and I think everyone should see it.