Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves – or they’ll be stuck in the game forever.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the reboot of the classic film starring Robin Williams from the 90s. I went into this film with rather low expectations and actually came out enjoying it more than I expected to. There are some issues for sure, but for the most part this is a very welcome family friendly comedy.
I think that easily the most entertaining part of this film was watching The Rock and Jack Black play against what they are used to doing in films. While the Rock is playing as himself per usual he is doing it as high school kid that is your stereotypical geek. This adds another whole dimension to his character and it was genuinely enjoyable to watch. Jack Black is in this same situation, but with an even better opportunity to shine as he plays a teenage girl in his own body. I can honestly say that Jack Black was 100% the best part of this film. Karen Gillan is perfectly okay as her character, but I felt that Kevin Hart really doesn’t go out of his comfort zone with his performance. While everyone else has more layers to their portrayals, he pretty much just plays himself. His character’s name (Fridge) is also something that I would call a questionable choice by the filmmakers.
I also was able to appreciate all of the nods to video games that Jumanji has. They were really clever about how they depicted some things while the characters are “in the game.” While I did like what they did here, I think that there was a lot more that they could’ve explored with video games and how they work. The narrative also kind of contradicts itself when the villain of the movie is out living in this world, when in a video game technically he would be only be present when he was interacting with our heroes. He also pretty weak, but considering else the film has to set up, I can give it a pass for that.
The first 30 minutes or so of Jumanji are pretty boring and obvious setup for what is to come later. It’s not until the kids are transported into the game that there is a lot of real fun to be had. Some of the dialogue is incredibly cheesy and there are some little things that I think probably could’ve used some work, but overall Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a pretty fun movie, and if you’re just looking for a funny family friendly comedy to watch over the break this one is probably for you.