Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Looks like danger is on the horizon!
Verdict: 
7/10 - Jumanji is a highly entertaining adventure with many laugh-out-loud moments
Release Date: 
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Written by: 

Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart team up once again for this continuation of the 1995 family adventure.

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In the much-loved 1995 adventure, Robin Williams' character Alan Parrish was sucked into the Jumanji board game and trapped in its jungle for 26 years, until he was freed by new players.

This time around we finally get to see the Jumanji jungle where Parrish had to live for more than two decades.

However, to update it for modern audiences, Jumanji is now a video game, which four high school teenagers find while they are in detention.

Before they begin, they have to choose their avatars and nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff) opts to be Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain) goes for zoologist Moose Finbar, shy Martha (Morgan Turner) chooses Ruby Roundhouse, and self-obsessed selfie-lover Bethany (Madison Iseman) chooses Professor Shelly Oberon.

Then they are sucked into the game and emerge in the jungle as their avatars - Spencer is surprised to be in the body of the brave and muscular Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Fridge has shrunk in size to be Moose (Kevin Hart), Martha gets a kick-ass upgrade as Ruby (Karen Gillan) and Bethany is both horrified and intrigued to learn she's now in a man's body (Jack Black).

The team have to go through the jungle completing various levels of the game with the help of Jefferson 'Seaplane' McDonough (Nick Jonas), the avatar of a fifth player named Alex, without running out of lives.

To leave the jungle, they must return a gem to the eye of a jaguar statue and yell "Jumanji". But there are many obstacles along the way, such as dangerous animals and villain Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), who wants the gem as it lets him control the creatures in the jungle.

It’s a smart move that the new Jumanji incarnation didn't try to rehash the old one.

It’s loyal and respectful to the original, with little nods here and there, but at the same time, it is trying to do something different and fresh.

This time around it focuses on comedy and the chemistry between Johnson and Hart, and as a result, presents many laugh-out-loud moments, most of which are thanks to Hart, who applies his classic comedy shtick, and Black, who truly excels as a teenage girl.

There isn't as much of an adventure feel as the first one, which is perhaps down to the plot inside the game – it’s quite weak and the different levels and challenges feel too loosely linked together, with a lot of comedy banter in between each.

Besides the seriously creepy Van Pelt, it lacks the threat of the first one, which had some scary moments, as the animals are all computer-generated and the quality of the CGI isn't always top-notch.

Fans of the first Jumanji may have been reluctant to embrace this continuation, but it is a thoroughly fun and entertaining family movie that kids will enjoy.

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