Solid: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack port Black
Director: Jake Kasdan
There are some movies that should not be messed with – especially because they represent a significant part of your childhood. Jumanji is one of such motion pictures and any possibility of a remake transmits a shiver down the spine. However, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is is amazingly much less bad you think it might be, in truth its breezy and harmless nature could earn you over.
The update is as expected – the game aspect is improved to a video game, and four teens who play the overall game are sucked directly into it, becoming their respective in-game characters trapped in a jungle. This is where some hilarious subversion begins – the jock in the real world becomes the fat and pudgy moron within the overall game, the stereotypically unattractive girl becomes an astonishing Lara Croft type ‘hot chick’ and so forth.
There is a fifth player in the game – an NPC (Non Playable Character) who informs the heroes that there is a mystical villainous hunter who wants to grab a jewel called the Jaguar’s Eyes for a few nefarious purposes. It’s up to the heroes to thwart the grasp plan, exit the overall game and go home to reality.
The predictability within the film is offset by the ensemble – with The Rock and roll, Kevin Hart, Jack Black color and Karen Gillan coming across as fun, likable people given a hilariously impossible task. The four really stretch out the silliness of the premise to all possible levels, Dark colored in particular making a laugh one minute performance as a teenage woman stuck in the torso of, well, Jack port Black.
The undemanding quality of the film almost feels as though a guilty pleasure and director Jake Kasdan supports nothing back in providing ludicrous gags to first scare and amuse, but mainly both at exactly the same time.
The change from the game to a retro video console surprisingly works, with the most entertaining aspect being the User Interface of the personas’ strengths and weakness each and every time they put their practical their breasts. Hardcore gamers can place a few easter eggs related to vintage video gaming, and the Guns N Roses music that belts at full throttle serves as a nice accompaniment to crafting the adventure at hand.
Predictably the film also offers the standard issue ‘life lessons’ for children but the grandstanding is simple to process when there’s a great deal action occurring across the characters.
If there’s a very important factor sorely missing it is the heart and soul that was prevalent in the original film by Joe Johnston. The 1995 version possessed a feeling of attention and innocent discovery seen through the eyes of children; here the innocence has been changed by lathering of pre existing pop culture – which works in parts but has little depth.
Having less Robin Williams is of course the largest void that no amount of chocolate floss, slapstick or special results can fill. Each time the film rendered an instant of stress, I expected a bearded Williams to pop-up and ask what yr this is. Perhaps he is not actually ended up and has basically found himself in Jumanji where you are not always likely to please everyone.