When Axle Rose sang that rockin’ opening line, “welcome to the jungle, we got fun and games” he probably didn’t think that one day there would be a cinematic equivalent that takes the line literally. If you’re seeing just one movie these school holidays, make it Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle!
The board game with a mind of its own is back, but not the way we know it. After updating itself into a videogame, it falls into the unsuspecting hands of four students cleaning out their school basement as part of detention. Suddenly, nerdy lightweight Spencer is the hulking Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), tall football jock Fridge is the short zoologist Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart), Instagram-addicted girly girl Bethany is the overweight and middle-aged Prof. Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Oberon (Jack Black), and shy wallflower Martha is the badass babe Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). Stuck in Jumanji, the four must work together to achieve the game’s objective if they’re ever to get home.
My excitement for this movie came from the trailers just looking absolutely rad. Come on it’s the Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black, what’s not to get excited about? Like anyone who watched and loved the Robin Williams original, I was interested/dubious to see how they would suddenly make Jumanji a videogame. Turns out, I needn’t have worried. The writing in this movie is surprisingly concrete and because the film is intended to be a your classic popcorn flick, the explanation for Jumaji’s change from board game to videogame is in keeping with previous information as well as kind of delightfully stupid. From there we have four schoolyard strangers a la Breakfast Club banding together and bonding while on a wild jungle quest.
Two separate stories take place: one between former friends Spencer and Fridge who have drifted apart and the second is between the two girls. Annoyingly they bond over how to be girls, but because one of them is Jack Black for the majority of the film you can give it a pass because Jack Black is an absolute sweetie (and hilarious)!
Not only is the film filled with kickass action sequences, explosions, and a silly and fun story, there’s an abundance of gaming references that will tickle even the lamest gamer’s fancy.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the perfect film if you’re out for popcorn and fun. It’s an action-packed romp filled with comedy and one or two sweet messages about life and living it.