“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”
by Ethan Lim
Looking for an entertaining flick to spice up your winter blues? Do you want a refreshing take on a timeless classic? Then “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is the perfect film for you. With a star-studded cast featuring actors like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black, the newest installment of the Jumanji series does not disappoint. Released 20 years after “Jumanji,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is one of the most exciting movies of the new year.
Director Jake Kasdan created a captivating story that defied the low expectations of movie critics. Viewers follow four high school students who are sucked into the video game world of Jumanji. Replaced with video game avatars (played by the actors listed above), they must return a jewel to its rightful place in order to save Jumanji from a dark evil and escape the game. But, while undertaking the quest, they discover more about themselves, and take their new qualities back to the outside world.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a well directed motion picture with a good balance between action scenes and character development. Some explosive scenes relied heavily on special effects, but they were nowhere near as overkill as some Michael Bay movies. Character development in the film was mediocre and predictable, and still followed some cheesy cliches (teenage romance and nerdy kid becoming a stud). The storyline was not difficult to follow (which could be good or bad depending on a viewer), which meant that the film was an easy watch. Overall, Kasdan redeems himself from his previous films like “Bad Teacher” and “Sex Tape.” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” will be an accolade on Kasdan’s less than impressive career.
Another strong attribute was the cast, which was filled with many established actors. Hart and Johnson have acted together before in “Central Intelligence,” Gillan was a part of “Dr. Who,” and Black has found much success in comedies such as “School of Rock.” But, it’s the dynamic duo of The Rock and Hart that is most enjoyable. They bring their great on-screen chemistry back to “Jumanji.” Furthermore, their chemistry rubs off on Black and Gillan, as all four work surprisingly well together. Effective punchline delivery and realistic, humorous reactions are among the reasons that make the story much more interesting.
Great rapport between the actors does not excuse the other moments of dumb humor, however. More than once, the film relies on the Hart’s incessant screaming or Black’s imitation of a teenage girl to add comedy to a moment. In some instances, the use was warranted and done so with great execution. But, as the film progressed, more often than not, Hart’s screams would be annoying and Black’s snide comments were cringe worthy. These aspects brought the ratings a bit lower than what they could have been.
Moviegoers may be skeptical about buying a ticket for “Jumanji,” but as stated before, Jumanji is no ordinary action/comedy movie. Hopefully, with this review, viewers will be able to realize the superb qualities within the movie and witness its greatness on the big screen themselves.