Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an adventure comedy film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black, with Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, and Morgan Turner. It follows the story of four teenagers who are transported inside a video game called Jumanji as they must beat the game in order to return to their world.
Before we start, it is important to point out two things: one, this is, in fact, a Jumanji sequel – they even address the ending of the first movie and make a sweet homage to Robin Williams character during the film. Two, don’t go into the movie theatre expecting to see Jumanji 2, as this is nothing like the movie most of us grew up watching.
I’ll explain myself. Remember back in Jumanji (1995) when Alan Parish was trapped inside the board game and spend a lot of years inside? Well, this film is what we would have seen if the original film had chosen to focus on Alan’s life inside Jumanji rather than what happens when they play the board game.
This movie has two strong points: the humour and its cast. You spend a lot of the time either chuckling or really laughing out loud at what you’re seeing on screen. The cast works perfectly when they’re together, but in my personal opinion, Jack Black and The Rock, hands down, completely steal the show as their characters and interpretations are the funniest and the most developed through the film. Seeing Jack Black make fun of himself and acting as a teenage girl is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.
Karen Gillan does a great job, and her character is somewhat developed and actually cracks a truth or two that leaves you thinking. Meanwhile, Kevin Hart plays the same character he always does – some may like it and some may not.
Nick Jonas IS an important character, much to my surprise, and while it’s not really something important, you’ll realize who he makes you think of, hitting right in our childhoods and making some moments really tender and special.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll love this movie, as it really dives into the “lore” of video games like life bars, backpacks, menus of special abilities and weakness, clues, levels, cutscenes, and more. All of what you have seen in a video game is here, and it’s actually pretty fun to watch.
However, the weak point of this film is… well, the rest of the film, as it doesn’t tell you a story or presents something like a plot and the villain is a generic as they get. It’s just seeing this great cast acting like they’re in a video game with cool and exciting action sequences and great humour but nothing more. No development or anything like that.
In conclusion, Jumani: Welcome to the Jungle might not be the best movie of the year, but it’s an entertaining film where you’ll laugh a lot, get excited about what you’re seeing on screen, and have a nice time watching it. Just don’t go expecting a sequel per se. It’s its own film, just carrying the name of the classic.