The original Jumanji with Robin Williams is one of my favorite childhood movies. It’s an incredibly fun movie that has some heartwarming moments as well as scary thrills and I’ve seen it over and over countless of times. This movie is part of my childhood. So naturally, I’m pretty protective of it and I was not excited to see Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Is it a great film? Absolutely not. But it is better than I thought it was going to be.
Jumanji starts off with four kids who dislike each other and are forced into detention at school where they find a videogame called Jumanji and are magically sucked into the game. Now with new avatars, they are now forced to band together to survive and save jungle from its terrible curse.
The chemistry between the main leads, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Heart is by far the best part of this movie. Their chemistry works and there are some very funny moments and made me laugh out loud throughout. It’s a very entertaining and funny film and as a comedy, it works. The action scenes are pretty entertaining and they’re well filmed and you can tell what is going on, which was nice to see. There’s also a nice tie-in to the first Jumanji that honors Robin Williams in a cool way.
Now on to the negatives. Despite this being a sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the jungle feels like a reboot. It doesn’t follow the rules of the original and it doesn’t feel like the same world and not much is explained to us. For example, everyone gets sucked into the game and has different avatars. Now, Robin Williams was sucked into the game because he rolls the dice and must await someone to roll a 5 or an 8. He was sucked after bats come out of the board game. So no animals or creatures get sucked out of Jumanji anymore now that it’s a video game? Did Robin Williams have an avatar when he got sucked into the game? Where is the Hunter from the first film? There are a lot of unanswered questions, and I know I’m nitpicking the plot, but nothing is explained and it’s kind of frustrating. The mythology of Jumanji has been completely changed, so why not just do a reboot instead of a sequel, which was the original plan in the first place.
The plot is extremely conventional and you can predict everything that is going to happen. There aren’t any surprises and the storytelling is pretty lazy. The villain is bland and he has no motivation.We also see what he does while our heroes are on their quest, but this takes place in a videogame which is a control environment that focuses on the main players so it doesn’t make sense much. But we care about our heroes and that’s what matters. And this “curse” that has taken over Jumanji is also never explained and we have no idea what is so the stakes are pretty nonexistent. The rest is pretty standard moviemaking. The movie is also too long. It could have easily been 20 minutes shorter and the opening twenty minutes we’re pretty horrible to sit through even though it had to be there so that the characters need to be on their journey.
Overall, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun and entertaining time at the movies, despite it being a bit bland and overlong. However, the chemistry between the main leads makes it an enjoyable time at the movies.