Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Chris McKenna
Released: December 2017
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale
I was on the back foot about this film because I loved the ‘first’ Jumanji film so much.
I say ‘first’ film, but these movies are totally unrelated. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is very loosely based on the board game featured in the 1995 film, but updated to a play station game to target the newer generation.
The main characters are high schoolers who find themselves in detention together – not unlike The Breakfast Club. They are cleaning out the basement of the school when they come across this Jumanji game.
Each student picks an avatar based on the names provided. But they soon find themselves being sucked into the game and becoming the characters they chose.
Ironically, the school bully finds himself as Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart) – the nerdy avatar with no strength and only a giant backpack as a ‘special ability’ – and the nerdy little kid finds himself as the hulking Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson).
The character-switch is brilliant, particularly in the case of the girly-girl who finds out that her avatar is not a cute professor – Professor Sheldon Oberon – but a character represented by Jack Black.
Jack Black plays a teenage girl so well! Very funny. Especially when he teaches a fellow teenage girl how to be attractive.
“That was so intense. I like can’t even with this place.” – Bethany/Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black)
Within the game they overcome lots of obstacles and dangerous hurdles. All the while being guided by an NPC (non-player character) called Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby). He’s pretty glitchy and repetitive, which was funny.
I thought this was going to be a cheap and nasty knock-off of Robin Williams’ Jumanji. I was ready to be offended on his behalf.
But actually, I laughed a lot! I loved it. I watched it on the plane from the UK to New Zealand – which is a long flight – and I didn’t fall asleep or lose concentration at all!
Cool concept, funny characters and a definite re-watcher!
Jodie’s rating: 8/10