By Jose Jara
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
“Cast Delivers a Remake That Tops Original’s Comedy”
By: Daniel Guzman
Tired of remakes and sequels? For me, I would say that depends. Has enough time passed that the original is a far distant memory for most, unknown to the newer generation? That kind of fits the bill for this sequel/remake of the original Jumanji that starred the late Robin Williams. In this remake, the game doesn’t bring the jungle to the real world, but instead, the game brings all the players to the jungle.
Four high school teenagers who wouldn’t be caught dead socializing together are forced to serve detention inside the school’s soon to be computer room that is cluttered with outdated equipment. During detention, these cliché characters: the nerd, the emo girl who always speaks her mind, the selfish jock, and the self-obsessed beauty queen, stumble on a wannabe Atari looking video game system that has the game Jumanji inserted in it. Nothing better to do, the gang reluctantly agrees to play the game together. They quickly find themselves sucked into the game with each player becoming the avatar they chose. With no chance of escaping this dangerous jungle video game, they realize that they must play the game together if they ever want to find themselves back home.
I was a fan of the original Jumanji. This was more because of the era of time that I first watched the original. The film was meant to hit the younger audience, and I was the perfect test subject being that I was 13 years old at the time. I have since watched my childhood Jumanji and realized I’ve outgrown it. The movie still holds a bit of nostalgia for me, but I don’t want to look back at it. I took my 13-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to see this revamped version so I could get their reactions compared to mine. By the end of the film, all three of us were in unison that this new version packed in way more laughs than its former self.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is able to bring in more laughs thanks to the comedic talents of Kevin Hart and Jack Black. Action star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson does his very best to flex some comedic muscle, primarily with his smoldering stare, and so does Karen Gillan, who my son was quick to notice that she played the villainous Nebula in Guardian of the Galaxy films. The action in the film is outlandish, but what can you expect from a film about being sucked into a video game. The movie’s villain, Van Pelt, played by Bobby Cannavale, was comical for all the wrong reasons, being mostly a means to a climactic end game finale. Prior to seeing Jumanji, I had no idea that singer Nick Jonas was cast in this movie, and that he would be handed more than just a mere small cameo. His acting is nothing greater than that of his Disney channel acting chops, but it was well suited for his role.
Overall, I found myself easily amused knowing that I came to see a 90’s throwback that was polished with a little more testosterone, and a lot more comedic hands at play. Jumanji ended up being a fun night out with the kids that didn’t make me cringe too much at its intentional cheesiness. Most of its predictableness could be forgiven thanks to the cheap laughs it easily dishes out for you to enjoy. My kids were begging me to give it a grade on my review, so drumroll please… I give this Jumanji a solid C+ while my kids gave it a strong B.