JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE REVIEW
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD
Jumanji released in 1995 with the late great Robin Williams in the lead role, as a kid i considered this one of the greatest movies that was around and having watched it only recently before i went to check the new version out, i can still say hand on heart that it still ranks as one of the best, most imaginative movies I have seen. So when I heard they where releasing a remake I immediately thought how the hell will they inject new life into what is an already well established movie.
Thankfully Welcome to the Jungle manages for the most part to maintain the quirky humour and fun which we had in the previous version while also keeping it fresh for a whole new generation. This is done by setting the movie in the modern day, the film opens with what i thought was a great twist where the dangerous Jumanji board game transforms into a video game so the more “tech-reliant” kids and adults of today may be more tempted to play. This proves to be successful when a group of unfortunate teenagers get sucked into the game one day while serving detention together.
We see our characters take on the forms of avatars that they picked when playing the game, which results in each character being played by two different actors. The film has a lot of fun subverting the usual personas of each actor, whether its Dwayne Johnson’s take on a nerdy uncomfortable high school dork to Jack Black’s excellent portrayal of a superficial pretty popular girl.
Most of the films comedy comes from those kind of contradictions, while jokes themselves come across quite cheap, like Jack Black constantly asking for his cell phone. The power of the actors helps to make a majority of them acceptable, this being most noticeable when the Rock and Kevin Hart share a scene, with the two of them having worked together before they garner some of the biggest laughs as their high school rivalry bleeds over into Jumanji’s video game world usually in physical comedic ways.
Jumanji plays well in the video game cliché as each character is given three lives with which they must try and work together to beat the game if they hoped to make it back to the real world, also they have riddled the game with what we would see in today’s games from unresponsive NPC’s to specific character strengths and weaknesses, even though at times it feels that the film is using that self-awareness to try and compensate for its less interesting twists and its less talented group of supporting characters.
Unfortunately Jumanji does move away from the funnier lighter moments to focus on the slow developing relationships between all the main characters most of which comes across quite bland. For instance the romance between Spencer and Martha is just clichéd and feels uncomfortable when it’s being played by the Rock and Gillian as the avatars. This along with the boring and unintimidating video game villain keep this from being a must see in my opinion.
But for those hoping that this was going to be the absolutely ridiculous over the top comedy adventure that we had seen through the trailers you can rest easy knowing that you will be treated to that when you go to see Jumanji.
DIAGNOSIS – INPATIENT CARE
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does a great job of bringing audiences back to the classic we all know and love but with a great updated twist on the story. Even if some of the subplots and emotional connections don’t really click, the action, fun and humour still make this worth your while going to see