Today we go to the dangerous forests and meticulous traps as we explore if Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, is worth your time and money. So let’s dig into it and I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.
The film follows our four lead characters Spencer, Bethany. Fridge, and Martha as they are sucked into the newly remodeled version of Jumanji which is now based on a pre-1996 era video game console. They end up in a fight for their lives with Nick Jonas’ character, Seaplane McDonough, who has a significant role in the movie that is similar to Alan Parrish of the original. All the while they must try to beat the game, escape the rebooted clutches of Van Pelt, and get back home lest they lose their lives. Just like so many other ideas before, if they die in the game they die for real.
Now all in all this movie was actually pretty solid. It’s a nice, fun time at the theatre’s and overall surprisingly entertaining.
The good includes the all-star cast of Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, as well as Nick Jonas who all do superb jobs embodying the type of teen they are supposed to be. The movie isn’t ambitious nor does it give you the impression it will be. In fact, it was almost shocking how straightforward the narrative was. At the same time for as little that we do see of the actual teens in the movie, they are serviceable for what they have. However, their characters definitely get highlighted and outshined by their more A-list portrayals although they are definitely generic archetypes that get roped together like some B rate Breakfast Club. The teens also don’t come off as horribly insufferable and I think it’s because the cast is having fun with these parts and flexing some parts of their abilities we don’t usually get to see. For example, the Rock playing someone a little more awkward and geek-ish and Jack Black playing an Instagram obsessed, vapid teenage girl.
Also yes there is a nod to the original, it’s there, it’s nice, and it’s gone. There’s no harping on it and no real reason to. You see it and it’s done.
Now for the bad of the movie, I honestly only have two main complaints, one is a slight spoiler but not for the plot. Something happens involving Jack Blacks hair that yanked me out of the movie and it is never addressed nor explained. And the other issue is CGI and Green screen. This movie had a 90 million dollar budget and there are some times when it really shows. With a budget of this size poor may be excusable considering the setting is an old age video game. Yet there are times when I could see a faint white line around Dwayne Johnson’s body and it can hurt the experience.
Also to clue anyone in case they may be wondering, no there is no post-credits scene so no need to stay. As a matter of fact, they make it a point at the end of this movie to kind of do the opposite of that. Which feels ironic since this movie feels like it was supposed to be a nostalgia cash grab of a film.