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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle English Movie

Feature Film | 2017 | Adventure, Fantasy
Critics:
Surprisingly hilarious and playfully engaging, Jumanji''s video-game thrills and ensemble will give you more than what you had prepared yourself for.
Dec 31, 2017 By Vighnesh Menon

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A high-concept remake of a blockbuster movie that was a bit too unnerving for its then target audience, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sets the bar straight with a family-friendly premise that has way too many gags, intentional and otherwise, which keep the 'game' alive at all times.


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle stars Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and a special someone as the characters of the cursed video game in whose bodies actual gamers are trapped and have to finish the game in order to lift said curse. We see plenty of unlikely and super-weird scenes, thanks to the heavy contrast between the real characters and their video-game counterparts. To see a timid nerd get stuck in Johnson's body or an 'it girl' turn into Jack Black are ideas susceptible to endless jokes. That is supplemented by not only Black's and Hart's well-executed comic reliefs but also some understated comic timing from Johnson and Gillan themselves.


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The original Jumanji(1995) rode on amazing performances from late comedic legend Robin WIlliams and the terrifying Jonathan Hyde, as the hero and villain, respectively. Instead of that film's spooky humour and lingering mystery, this update has a very generic progression in its story and plays it safe when it comes to comedy and escalating drama. It's almost as if the director, Jake Kasdan, has embraced the predictability its storyline and wants to enthrall his viewers with other cinematic devices, as much as possible. He simply banks on the star-studded cast whose reel and real personalities are utilised to trigger unusual and metaphysical comedy. But, on a more fundamental level, Jumanji 2 just takes themes of self-acceptance, the superficiality of the virtual world and teen insecurities and rolls them into one. It is not a first, but a big accomplishment for a movie that greatly relies on its popcorn, mainstream nature.


The film's issues lie in its setup, sprinting through the character introductions of the teenagers who get sucked into the game. Also, now that the board game has been changed into a video game, the jump in transition catches the fans of the original off-guard. Not to mention the innocuous antagonist played by Bobby Cannavale, who doesn't hold a candle to Hyde's ferocity from the Robin Williams-starrer.


It is still refreshing when an unassuming commercial film comes from Hollywood with the precise intention to produce good, solid entertainment, apart from downplaying its tentpole temptations in favour of smooth and succinct storytelling.

Vighnesh Menon

   

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