Monday, December 25, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review

Written by Shiggins

Bungle in the jungle!

In 1995, we got a film just simply called Jumanji, starring Robin Williams who got sucked into a board game as a kid and came out years later when some other kids started playing the exact same game. While it is definitely not as good as you remember, the film still had some charm and Robin Williams. So releasing a semi-sequel to it 3 years after his tragic passing felt slightly tone-deaf, as expected from a major studio. However, it's here now so no point complaining about it anymore. Instead, let's just judge it based on what it is, while also wondering why they didn't just change the name and save themselves the bad publicity.

No credit for the gator? Typical Hollywood!
The film follows four students, all with their own quirks or obsessions, that are forced to come together for detention. That is when they discover the original Jumanji board game, which has actually transformed itself into a video game cartridge, and give it a shot. The four choose their characters but are then thrust into the digital world, where they become the characters they picked. And the only way to return to their real world and real bodies is by taking a McGuffin diamond to a certain location and saving Jumanji.

So yeah, we all know this premise. There are countless stories involving being trapped inside a video game, and so this this film is in an even tighter spot than before. However, the main appeal of this film isn't the plot or even the world of Jumanji itself, but rather the four main characters and the actors who play them.

Damn, the reboot of the Breakfast Club is looking much worse than I imagined.
Dwayne Johnson plays the avatar of the nerd Spencer, who is of course fascinated by his new muscled super-body. Then we have Kevin Hart who is the avatar of a football star called Fridge (the most ridiculous name ever), who is not pleased because he is short and weak when compared to his original body. Karen Gillan plays the token hot girl of the group, as the avatar of a shy but stubborn girl named Martha. And lastly, we have Jack Black playing the avatar of the popular girl Bethany who is... less than amused at being a fat man without a mobile phone.

It should be quite clear exactly what this film is from the premise and cast, but I'll sum it up to avoid any confusion: It is dumb fun. Nothing more, nothing less.

Blaaaaah... sorry. I needed to pick my tongue up off the ground.
And admittedly, that's kinda why I like it. It isn't asking you to take it seriously, as an emotional ride or a comedy superstar. This film just wants you to sit down and have a laugh for two hours, which it actually manages to pull off thanks to the chemistry of the stars.

Watching Dwayne Johnson freak out at the size of his own muscled arm is as entertaining as Kevin Hart crying out in anguish over literally getting smaller. Karen Gillan, while not given a lot to do, at least manages to have a few scenes that let her hang loose with the boys. The winner however is Jack Black, who is frankly having the time of his life in this role. He's sarcastic, bratty and just packed with witty dialogue.

The weakest character however is the villain played by Bobby Cannavale. He plays Van Pelt, who was a hunter in the original, but has been re-imagined/rebooted as a darker foe who can control the animals of Jumanji. It is clear that the story isn't trying to make him interesting and he is just there to be an obstacle, but the film could have really benefited from a more fun antagonist along the lines of Dr Evil or the Wet Bandits.

This game must be heavily unbalanced.
When the film tries to actually be emotional or serious, it usually falls flat, especially with the awkward dialogue given to Karen Gillan. These scenes are mercifully short however and there is usually a good joke to make up for it afterwards. One such example is when we find out why Martha is always judging Bethany, but then we get Fridge trying to fight Spencer's avatar and you instantly forgive and forget.

The visuals are fine, with enough bright colours and variety to keep it from being stale. It gets the job done but doesn't distract the audience from the main focus. Although surprisingly, they didn't use Guns N' Roses until the end credits...

Overall, this film is fun. It's very silly but clearly, it wants to be. Dwayne Johnson's avatar is literally called "Dr Smolder Bravestone". I can't make it any more clear than that. If you don't like Jack Black or Kevin Hart, this film probably won't change that. For the rest of you however, this is one fun jungle to be in.

Movie Rating: 7.5/10

Scene Stealer: Jack Black as Bethany's avatar.

And yes, they actually do have quite a nice reference/salute to dear old Alan Parrish.

Shiggins:[Admin]   .
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on or go to his tumblr page


  1. Forget anyone else. Jack Black is best girl from now on until the end of time.