Kevin Hart in Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Movie Review: Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle (2017) *Greatest Video Game Movie EVER!*

Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black In Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has been the biggest holiday 2017 hit not to feature lightsabers, and rightly so.  Who’d have thought a sequel to a 20-year-old Robin Williams film about an enchanted board game (based on the brilliant book by Chris Van Allsburg) would have been A) good and B) a complete and total blast.  Deftly utilizing the conventions of video games and the comedic talents of its four leads, Jumanji is pure action-adventure fun.

Dwayne Johnson in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
I firmly believe there is literally nothing Dwayne Johnson cannot do.  Last year, he sang in Moana, this year, he plays a neurotic teenage Jewish germophobe utilizing his absurdly chiseled frame as an avatar.  The brilliant plot convention in Jumanji is that the board game has transformed itself into a video game to keep up with the times.  It sucks four teenage stereotypes: the jock, the nerd, the mouse, and the cheerleader into its adventure, but then sticks those personalities into the worst possible host Hollywood could possibly generate to match their real-life counterparts.  While the nerd gains the power of THE ROCK, the jock is shrunk to Kevin Hart size, the mousy girl ends up in the stunning Karen Gillan, and the ditzy beauty queen is imprisoned inside of Jack Black (best thing to happen to Jack Black in at least a decade).

Karen Gillan in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Jumanji IS the best video game movie ever made, even if it isn’t an adaptation.  It uses all the conventions of the medium: limited lives, character skills, levels, bosses, NPCs, cut scenes, and more to push the plot along a fast-paced, comedic action roller coaster.  If the plot is thin…..well so are most video games, and every one of the characters is more than aware that they’re trapped within one.  It doesn’t waste time trying to be more than what it is, and mainly the entire jungle serves as a showcase for the movie’s true star: their four leads’ complete and utter dorkiness within their host bodies.

Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
The movie has some nice action set pieces, but the best parts of the film come when the four leads are playing off each other.  Hart and Johnson have proven comedic chemistry from Central Intelligence and need to work together as much as possible.  Gillan gets to showcase more than just her Guardians of the Galaxy fighting skills.  Her attempt at distracting guards by flirting for the first time in her life may be the funniest scene in the film.  And how awesome is it to see Jack Black with something to do?  He embraces being a self-involved teenage beauty trapped in the body of a portly middle-aged man with all the energy you’d expect and the result is nearly Tenacious D-level awesome.

It’s not great cinema.  It’s not going to win any awards, but Jumanji is a blockbuster that took the time to spend money on talent and writing to go along with its special effects.  The box office results speak for themselves, and they are well-deserved.

8.0/10

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle Poster

11 thoughts on “Movie Review: Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle (2017) *Greatest Video Game Movie EVER!*”

  1. Jumanji gets a better KT review than TLJ?

    Cue Bill Murray’s Ghostbuster speech about the apocalypse!

    I’d be cool with Johnson as president. He’d take care of our country’s problems…

    Personally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jumanji accomplished what it set out to do, and didn’t try to be more than it was. The Last Jedi may have better production values, but if falls far short of what it sets out to do. I’m in the middle on the film, which makes me a rarity it seems, but one of the main factors I take into account in giving a score is “did the film accomplish what it set out to do”? Jumanji did; Star Wars didn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But I’m still trying to figure out what TLJ tried to accomplish. If the objective was to be the middle chapter in a trilogy, and do all the things middle chapters are generally supposed to do, then what a strange middle chapter.

        But TLJ didn’t, for example, drop the ball when it came to deepening and explicating the mysteries set up in TFA, it looked you in the eyes as it very deliberately plunked the ball down and washed its hands of the ball.

        Very strange.

        My feeling is that the film set out to sever ties with the SW of the past, and it remains to be seen if it accomplished this well. The fans have a problem because Disney was actively trying to shake the fans. Disney does not care about us anymore, they had bigger fish to fry with the movie. That was the thought process behind it. It’s the opposite of the strategy they’ve taken with Marvel, and I wonder why. Kennedy perhaps has other ideas than Feige. But SW suddenly has the feel of all other franchises, it acquired the feel overnight, and only when future films come out will we see if the gambit paid off.

        Like

  2. This is interesting to hear! When I first heard they were making another Jumanji movie, I rolled my eyes. All I knew was that it was a sequel to a movie around 20 years old, and that it had a Doctor Who actress in it.
    From what everyone is saying, I am legitimately curious in it now; it sounds hilarious! And I like that it sounds like it doesn’t try to take itself seriously. It just sounds like fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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