The beating of the drums signals the game is about to begin…
In 1995 we cinema goers were blown away by the original Jumanji film starring the late Robin Williams as Alan Parish, a biy who gets sucked in to the brutal jungle filled world of Jumanji the board-game.
Fast forward to 1996 and teenager Alex Vreeke is handed the Jumanji board-game by his father who finds it partially buried on the beach.
Alex turns his nose up at the vintage board-game, saying to his father that no one plays these anymore. He then carries on playing his video game.
As films have, the Jumanji board-game evolves to reflect the times – and it places the curse on to a video game cartridge. A video game of Jumanji. Alex loads up the game and boom, he vanishes.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sees present day school friends grouped together in a detention class.
One from every click; the nerd, the jock, the pretty blonde and the quiet reserved girl. Tasked by a teacher to clean up a storage room, they find the old gaming system that has the Jumanji cartridge inside.
The two boys, Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff) and his childhood friend Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) connect up the gaming system and convince the two girls; Bethany walker (Madison Iseman) and Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner) to grab a controller for four way play.
As predicted, the game sucks all four in to the world of Jumanji.
However, being that it is a video game the rules have changed a little bit.
Each has three lives, depicted as a tattoo of three bars on their wrists. And each of the students is a in-game playable character. Spencer becomes the hero Dr. Smoulder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Bethany as Professor Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Oberon (Jack Black), Anthony is Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart) and the meek Martha is Ruby Roundhouse – the killer of men (Karen Gillan).
Each character or avatar that the students find themselves now incased in are in complete opposites to their real lives.
As with video games each character has their expertise and their weaknesses.
Once the group realise what’s happened it is an adventure of survival against the Jungle, the villains and a side quest of sorts to find Alex (Nick Jonas). To get back to the real world, they must finish the game…
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has a few laugh out moments – the most memorable for me is the performance of Jack Black, who amazingly pulls off the moniker of a ‘blonde’ teenage girl superbly well.
However the original Jumanji is a classic and is fond in everyone’s hearts and minds. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does try to retain some of the magic from the first film, however it is a ‘silly’ movie that unfortunately will not stand up to it’s epic predecessor.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun watch nonetheless and I’d recommend it to those that have not yet seen the first film.
Running Time: 119 MIN
Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Jake Kasdan
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale
Production Studio: Columbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach Productions, Radar Pictures, Seven Bucks Productions
Distributor: Sony Pictures