Movie Review: Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’

by Staff Reporter / Jan 10, 2018 / comments

Movie Review: Cinema Cindy Reviews ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’


“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” provides us with a next chapter for the magical video game we first met in 1995. It is entertaining good fun offering a compelling concept and a romp with some of our currently favorite comedic actors.

As with the first film (which starred the late Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst), a board game is discovered, dusted off, then magically absorbs those who decide to risk playing it. In this film, the board game first has to magically create it own game cartridge to compete for attention in the age of video games. Somehow, the board game goes from being found on the beach and taken home by a loving dad, to the cartridge being found twenty years later in the basement of the local high school. No attempt is made to explain how it got there, nor are we supposed to wonder.

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Into that basement are sent four students of varying aptitudes who were sentenced to detention on the same day. These four—played by Alex Wolf, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman and Morgan Turner—get distracted by an old game console with the Jumanji cartridge in it, distracting themselves from their labors, they manage to turn it on and each choose an avatar. With a giant sucking sound they find themselves falling into the reality of the game—a nondescript jungle—and appearing in the bodies of the avatars they had chosen.

Headlining the in-game group is Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson playing Dr. Smolder Bravestone, the nerdy Spencer’s avatar; the nerd ends up with a super strongman body and abilities. His sidekick, Mouse Finbar, is played by Kevin Hart; the high school football star is reduced to a diminutive zoologist. The self-absorbed society girl, Bethany, becomes Professor Shelly Oberon, “a middle-aged, overweight man” played brilliantly by Jack Black as a sexy young female personality in a grown man’s body. Ruby Roundhouse, the dance-fighting bombshell, is bookworm Martha’s avatar, played by Karen Gillan (Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies). If they survive the game, each kid will learn important lessons for their teenage years.

The jungle portion of the story was filmed in the rainforests of O’ahu Island, Hawai’i. The animals are CGI creations, but seem quite real when threatening the team. But the best aspect of this film is the interplay of these comedic actors and the script they bring to life. As was noted above, the film is entertaining, not at all profound, and most of the humor is delightful.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is “Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.” The scenes with angry CGI animals chasing the avatars could be too scary for really young kids. But people of any other age group, and especially gamers of all ages, may enjoy the story: how characters within the game cannot respond outside their programming, and how the teenagers learn important life lessons when their very survival is at stake. If you just need a diversion, try this movie.