Entertainment Movie Review: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” a fun time | The Cullman Tribune


Movie Review: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” a fun time

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” directed by Jake Kasdan is neither a direct sequel, nor a reboot of the original “Jumanji” movie from 1995, but it clearly takes place in the same world. There are some references to the original placed throughout the film but otherwise there aren’t any connections made between the newest version and the original.

The film has four main characters but eight actors playing them. When we first meet them outside of the game, Alex Wolff plays Spencer, Ser’Darious Blain plays Fridge, Morgan Turner plays Martha and Madison Iseman plays Bethany. When all four of them find their way into detention at school, they come across an old video game called Jumanji and decide to play. After they’re pulled into the game, the characters are portrayed as the avatars they selected. Spencer is then played by Dwayne Johnson, Fridge is played by Kevin Hart, Martha is played by Karen Gillan and Jack Black plays Bethany.

Once they enter the gaming world of Jumanji, the movie really picks up and becomes a solid action comedy with several good actors having fun playing against type. Kevin Hart doesn’t stretch as much as the rest of the cast and kind of plays it safe, sticking to his defining comedic style. Hart is very funny but just plays himself for the most part while the rest of the cast is playing against their younger counterparts that we meet early in the movie.

All four of the lead actors have great chemistry with one another and their banter provides a lot of the film’s laughs. The comedy doesn’t land as well when we are following the younger set of characters but once they are in the game the comedy really picks up.

There are also plenty of cool references to the way video games are designed and how they play. For example, there are several characters in the film described as “non-player characters” or NPCs. The characters have several interactions with them; if you don’t play video games the jokes probably won’t work for you, but for gamers there is a lot to laugh at.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a lot of fun when we are with the four leads in the game but outside of that, the movie has some noticeable flaws. There is a plot hole involving someone they meet mid-way through the movie that never gets resolved and the villain is extremely forgettable. The writers had the opportunity to involve the villain with some of the gaming cliché humor but chose to sideline him instead. You will probably struggle to remember his name by the time you leave the theater and it’s clear that the director didn’t have much interest in him either.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a brisk, fun time at the movies despite a disposable villain and the four leads are clearly having a fun time with it as well.

Griffin’s score: 3/5 stars

Copyright 2017 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Image: Sony Pictures