Review for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is the sequel to the classic 1995 Robin Williams film. A sequel has often been thought to be in the works and since the death of Williams in 2014 it seemed that would never happen. This re-imagining of the original is not as great as the original, but still a fun adventure film.
Four children, Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany are sent to detention in school where they discover a video game called 'Jumanji'. Turning it on and selecting a character they discover they are now in the game and are the characters they have chosen. Spencer, the frightened nerd is now tough Dr Smolder Bravestone, Fridge, the jock is now Franklin 'Mouse' Finbar, Bravestone's sidekick, Martha the goth is now gorgeous martial artist Ruby Roundhouse and vacuous, mobile phone obsessed Bethany is now an overweight male intellectual Professor Shelly Oberon.
Together they must try to return the 'Jaguar's Eye' a magical jewel, to its resting place in the eye of the mountain statue chased by the evil Professor Russell Van Pelt. All of them must accept their new powers and weaknesses and complete the game before they use up all of their three lives and if they don't... it's game over.
I was one of those people who didn't want this film to be made. I didn't think it was needed and with the death of Robin Williams I didn't want to see anyone else attempt to be that character. Thankfully, rather than remaking the film the makers have gone in a brand new direction and by doing this the film feels fresh and so if you have never seen the original (and if you haven't, that is a crime) you won't feel lost by watching this film.
The cast is just perfect. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Kevin Hart worked so well in the Central Intelligence film and this chemistry has come over into this one. Jack Black is just perfect playing the 16 year old Bethany character and Karen Gillan has never looked hotter than here as the badass action hero and her work in Guardians of the Galaxy has really paid off here.
One of the main things that really makes the film work is the fact that it is going into the game rather than the game coming to the real world like in the original film. The use of the video game dynamics, with characters having skills and weaknesses and lives was fantastic and it really worked.
Special Features includes a funny, but far too short Gag Reel, a hilarious spoof (I hope) music video created by Nick Jonas and Jack Black which is worth watching just for Kevin Hart's reaction to it.
There are four featurettes which I feel should have just been combined to make one longer 'Making of'. Journey Through The Jungle: The Making of Jumanji is your typical quick 'Making of' with interviews with the cast and filmmakers. The fact that the jungle scenes were filmed in Hawaii was surprising as I expected this all to be a soundstage in a studio. Also discussed are elements like the costume design and CGI which was also pretty interesting and the use of practical effects was also a surprising thing to learn.
Meet The Players: A Heroic Cast is a quick look at the main cast and you can see from this that they really enjoyed making this film, but was just a little short and maybe should have been about each actor.
Surviving The Jungle: Spectacular Stunts looks at some of the stunts and how they were created and this wasn't as interesting as it should have been, though some of the behind the scenes footage was pretty cool to see.
Attack of the Rhinos is a very quick look at this one sequence and really should have just been an Angle Comparison extra to see all the elements come together.
Book to Board Game to Big Screen and Beyond: Celebrating the Legacy of Jumanji is less than five minutes. That's all I need to say. I think when you have a title which claims it will look at the book, the board game, the original film and the new one and beyond that I would have expected something longer than this. I get that if I wanted to know about the original film I could pick that up and it would no doubt have its own 'Making ofs' and so on, but this just felt a little empty. It's clear that those working on the film enjoyed the original and wanted this one to be just as good, but you can't express that kind of love and respect in less than five minutes.
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is a good film. It doesn't break any new ground and it will probably not be remembered as fondly as the original, but it was still an enjoyable film. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the original and those who just want to watch a fun, funny, adventure film as this ticks all the boxes.