Thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing we had the chance to see ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
A stand-alone sequel to the 1995 film about a boy who gets sucked into a jungle board-game, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ is a heartfelt attempt to jumpstart the franchise, but one which walks a well-worn jungle path but ultimately sinks in a quicksand of cliche and cheap laughs.
While the original film, starring Robin Williams, was based largely around the characters and animals of Jumanji escaping to the real world, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ turns the table, morphing four teenagers into player avatars, as the boardgame evolves for the gamer generation.
The teens discover an old video game while serving detention, and are magically drawn into the game, transforming into jungle counterparts who are each (very conveniently) against-type – the jock becomes the stocky sidekick (Hart), the nerd becomes the muscle-bound hero (The Rock), and the pretty popular girl becomes the portly middle-aged cartographer (Black). Stranded in the jungles of Jumanji they must use their newfound skill-sets to survive and complete their mission (go there, find the thing, break the curse).
The ensemble; Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, all seem to be having great fun with the body-swapping concept. Black is especially good – garnering the most laughs playing his “pretty-girl-gone-wrong” schtick.
There is little of the melancholy longing-for-home which gave the original film its heart. This is more an adventure comedy going through the motions, with a cast whose egos are as loud as their mouthy characters.
Part Indiana Jones adventure, part body-swapping teen comedy, but falling short of mastering either genre, Jumanji will find a welcome audience on the small screen as the Sunday night family movie, but this time around, the game feels a little bored.
‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ – In Cinemas Boxing Day