Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Lots of laughs; Jack Black
Cons: A little bit of content; predictable
The Bottom Line:
Jumanji is back
In hilarious movie
Laugh, smile, and enjoy
“I Really Hate Those Drums!”
I’ve been a fan of the original Jumanji since I was in in the theater over 20 years ago. (At some point, I really should review it.) So when I saw the previews for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, I started getting excited because it looked like it was going to be a lot of fun.
After a brief prologue in 1996, we meet four teens in the present day. They are your stereotypical teens, the nerd (Alex Wolff), the jock (Ser’Darius Blain), the self-absorbed popular girl (Madison Iseman), and the brainiac (Morgan Turner). Over the course of one day, they all manage to land themselves in detention. And hiding in the room they are sent to for detention is an old video game system with one game – Jumanji. Not knowing any better, they pick characters from the game and start to play only to get sucked into the game.
And that’s where things start to get weird. They are in the game as the characters they chose before getting sucked into the game, and their characters couldn’t be any more different from their true personalities. So now, they need to embrace their new personalities and complete a quest to save the land of Jumanji from the evil Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale). Can they do it before they run out of lives?
The original movie took the premise of a jungle slowly taking over a town fairly seriously, going for adventure and drama with some comedy. This movie goes for full blown comedy, and it succeeds. How can it not with the premise? After all, you’ve got Dwayne Johnson playing a nerd and Jack Black playing a teen girl with Kevin Hart as the former jock and Karen Gillan as the brainiac. It is absolutely hilarious.
And praise for that goes to the actors. I’m not normally a fan of Jack Black, but he completely makes the movie and nails his character. He got the most laughs from me. This isn’t a slight on the rest of the cast who also nail their characters. Honestly, without actors willing to embrace their roles, this movie would have bombed, but instead it succeeds. I laughed so hard multiple times throughout the film.
Now let’s be honest, this isn’t the most original movie story wise. You know the plot, and you know the character arcs before you start watching it. And yet, you won’t care. It truly is that much fun.
The movie definitely earns its PG-13 rating based on a healthy sprinkling of “S” words and a couple of scenes involving Jack Black’s character learning about male anatomy. Honestly, I think the film would have been just as strong without them, and it could have easily earned a PG rating as a result of cutting that stuff.
You don’t need to have seen the original Jumanji movie to understand anything here. We get a couple of nods to the first film, but nothing that is important to the plot.
If you are looking to escape your life for a couple of hours, then Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the perfect movie for you. It’s tons of fun that is guaranteed to leave you smiling.