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Movie Breakdown: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

December 19, 2017


Pre-Screening Stance:

Despite having a cast I generally like, I scoffed when Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was announced.  No one wants that!  Then I saw the first trailer and actually found myself chuckling.  Maybe I want that!

Post-Screening Ramble:

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is slow to start, but once it finds its footing, it becomes one of the more fun films of 2017.  Its story is pretty simple – the board game from the original movie transforms itself into a video game, and then four kids get sucked into it.  Once inside they realize that everything is setup like an actual video game – there are levels, they have limited lives, each of their avatars have certain strengths and weaknesses – and then they get on with figuring out how to complete it so that they can go home.  The film itself then harkens back to 1995′s Jumanji while tossing in a healthy bit of The Wizard Of Oz.  In the game Spencer is a hulk of a man (Dwayne Johnson) and Martha is a badass (Karen Gillan), but in real life they’re both people who are rather unsure of themselves.  Bethany’s avatar is a portly cartographer (Jack Black), but she’s actually the quintessential pretty girl who could really use a dose of humility.  Fridge is a selfish, big time football player, but in Jumanji he’s a small guy (Kevin Hart) and he has to humble himself so that he can properly support everyone else.  Obviously, it’s all a bit basic, but not only does this approach allow each character to grow, it also sets up a whole slew of funny scenarios.  I laughed a lot.  I also cheered quite a bit, too, because while the movie may be an overtly silly affair (complete with chunks of low brow humor and questionable CG), it has a lot of heart.  Oddly enough, that’s how I think of the original film as well.

I was honestly surprised at how much I ended up digging Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.  You should go check it out.  By the way, even though the movie has some cursing and a handful of violent deaths, I’d still take the kids.

One Last Thought:

You know, I’d totally watch a whole movie that’s just Jack Black portraying a teenage girl.  The man is really good at it.  Who knew!?

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