Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan
Director: Jake Kasdan
Running Time: 119 mins
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is an American film about a group of four high school kids who are magically transported into an old video game, landing them in the wild land of Jumanji, and forcing them to work together to finish the game in order to get back home.
I had a lot of fun with this movie. Taking cues from classic 90s blockbusters, it’s a fantastically light-hearted and harmless adventure movie with a great sense of humour, a fun plot and great performances throughout. Although it may not set the world alight when it comes to its character depth, it is an endlessly entertaining blockbuster that’s perfect to sit back and enjoy from beginning to end.
Let’s start with what’s most fun about the whole movie: the performances. For starters, the four leads here all work brilliantly together, and make for a really likable and consistently funny ragtag bunch of heroes. Dwayne Johnson is as charismatic and cool as ever (even if he’s meant to playing a dork), Kevin Hart works great with him, and still stands out in one of his less screamy and as such more enjoyable turns, Karen Gillan puts in her best role so far, and Jack Black is great in a somewhat unorthodox, albeit still fantastically funny, supporting role.
However, those performances would be nothing without a good screenplay, and that’s what this movie, rather surprisingly has. On the one hand, this is a great comedy through and through, thanks to strong writing throughout that makes for consistently funny gags and hilarious mishaps, but on the other, it’s a brilliantly entertaining blockbuster, that does so much more than just rehash the original Jumanji.
I have to say that I wasn’t an enormous fan of the original Jumanji, but I can definitely understand why many were worried about the prospect of a remake. However, this movie changes up the formula pretty well, instead adding an extra level of comedy into the mix by poking fun at video games and all their tropes, which not only gives the story a fresh feel, but also makes for some great laughs throughout.
As a result, you really don’t feel like you’re watching a remake of Jumanji, but rather a properly entertaining adventure movie. Add to that the film’s endlessly light-hearted popcorn approach to storytelling, following a very similar formula to some of the most entertaining 90s action movies, and you have yourself two hours of great fun throughout, brought up further by consistently great comedy.
On the whole, this movie is undoubtedly great fun to watch, however the reason that I can’t praise it quite as much as I’d like to is that it really falls flat when it tries to tell a bit of a story. When it’s being silly and entertaining as a simple adventure movie, it’s great, and it really made me smile, but the beginning and ending of the film, both of which focus on the lives of the high school kids outside of the game, just didn’t interest me in the same way, and given that it’s nowhere near as manic or comedic as the game part of the movie, there’s not all that much to entertain you, which was disappointing to see.
Overall, however, I had a heap of fun with Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Rather than being a simple Hollywood rehash, it’s a properly entertaining and consistently funny adventure movie that harks back to classic 90s blockbusters, and features a collection of brilliantly enjoyable performances along the way, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.