Jack Black plays the best 16 year old girl since Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles
I will watch anything with Dwayne Johnson in it – true story. So when news broke that he was going to appear in a remake/reboot of the beloved Jumanji, I was a little hesitant. Well I have now seen the newest Jumanji movie, and it honestly was pretty good. Let me be perfectly clear when I say, you cannot compare this new Jumanji to the old. They are completely different movies, and rightfully so, they should be. They are both enjoyable in their own ways, but after seeing both, the 90’s film will always remain King of the jungle.
Unlike the original, which was a board game, we are now living in 2018; video games are what are hot in the sheets. So they changed it up a bit. For me the concept of the movie is what sold me on it. So when a bunch of troubled teens find themselves in detention, they come across the game. We have Spencer (Alex Wolf/Dwayne Johnson) a nerdy kid who loves video games and is afraid of everything, including squirrels. Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain/Kevin Hart) Spencer’s former best friend, now incredible athlete, football star of their high school. Martha (Morgan Turner/Karen Gillan) bookworm, a little bit of a loner. She really doesn’t have many friends and refuses to get close to anyone. Finally we have Bethany (Madison Iseman/Jack Black) the most popular girl in school, who spends more time on her phone than anything else. She’s what’s known as a ‘”like whore.” So when they all get sucked into the game, they become the avatars they picked at the start of the game. Pretty much all-polar opposite of who they are in the real world. I LOVED this idea, seriously. Whoever came up with the idea of Jack Black playing a 16-year girl, give that person a ton of money, because without that concept in the movie, I don’t think Jumanji is very successful. Jack Black carries this film. It’s one of his best comedic performances in a long time. Watching Dwayne Johnson run around being terrified of everything in sight was also a treat to see. Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are fine, I went in expecting the classic Kevin Hart treatment, you get it, and either you like Kevin Hart at this point or you don’t. I’m used to Karen Gillan being a blue robot (Guardians of The Galaxy), so actually watching her really act was cool. She played the hot girl who doesn’t quite know it yet really well. So obviously they all must come together, put aside their differences so they can escape the game. They are tasked with returning a stolen jewel to a statues eye and calling out JUMANJI!
Remember they are in a video game, and if you have ever played a video game you know what that entails. They have “cut scenes,” which was pretty hilarious. Being taken away from the movie, to explain the plot, was pretty genius and an easy way to explain what was going on. They also run into NPC’s, which are Non-Player Character, and they are there to simply help out our characters. They are programmed to only say a few key phrases, and when they are trying to ask them all sorts of different questions, it’s pretty funny to watch them get the same answer over and over again. Like I said, I really enjoyed the concept of this movie, it’s unique and something pretty refreshing. Now every video game needs a bad guy. Mario has Bowser, Link has Ganon, and Pac-Man has those pesky Ghosts. Enter Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) who is pretty useless, okay I said it. He serves little to no purpose, but every movie like this needs a villain. But my god, he was so under utilized and just so forgettable. I would have rather seen our heroes battling the elements of the game and the elements of Jumanji, kind of like the original and not had a bad guy. But he helps push the plot ahead, but that’s what I wanted to see. There wasn’t enough stuff going on in the game, like animals and creatures, I wanted to see more of the world and the environment they were in. Nick Jonas is also in this he plays Alex. He has been stuck in the game for twenty long years, he doesn’t know that until he starts dropping a bunch of 90s references and the rest of the gang catches on. He is rattled to say the least, but he actually does a really great job in this. So he wants out of Jumanji more than anyone.
Listen, this is just a really fun time at the movies. It’s a great popcorn flick, something that was fun to see over the holidays. It’s got a ton of laughs, a great cast, really good chemistry between that cast, and a unique and interesting story. This movie isn’t going to blow you away and you won’t be leaving thinking this is the best movie of 2017, but you’ll enjoy yourself. Sometimes that’s all the reason you need to go the movies, at least that’s usually the case for me. I took my Mom. I thought she was going to hate every second of this movie she absolutely loved it. They are already prepping a sequel, it’s made a ton of money and got pretty good reviews, go see this movie, it’s a ton of fun.
Check ya later,
Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle = 80/100