Review: ‘Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle’ is a Holiday Surprise

A creative reimagining of the 1995 classic.

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A creative reimagining of the 1995 classic.

RATING: ★★ 1/2 (out of four stars)

When I saw the first trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, I thought it was going to be awful. The premise just seemed ridiculous, and to me, it was just another remake/unnecessary sequel. After seeing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, I’m here to say that it is a pleasant surprise! There are some really funny moments, the adult cast is great, and the video game premise actually works.

But first, let’s address the movie’s issues, as there are a few of  them. The acting from the young cast is pretty mediocre, as the first 15 minutes involves character introductions for four students who typically never would hangout as a group, but get put in detention together. Also, the villain is super forgettable, which is disappointing because the villain in the original Jumanji was relatively good; it just further proves that writers don’t care about the villains beyond making them one dimensional for the purpose of giving audiences something. More times than not, a movie will come out with a cool premise and cast, but completely forget to develop the villain.

But once the four students get sucked into the game and are turned into unexpected avatars, the movie is a blast until the end (minus the villain of course).

When you combine Dwyane Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black in one movie, odds are you’re going to get some laughs. And in Welcome to the Jungle, you get A LOT of laughs, mainly because the characters have good comedic chemistry, both together and when they’re on their own as they venture across their the terrain; there are a few scenes are so gut-busting funny that they’re among some of my favorite in a comedy this year.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does a really good job with selling its audience on the video game premise, knowing what kind of movie it’s trying to be, and in delivering it’s campiness and cheese. Of course, a lot of the reason behind this is due to how funny the cast is; however, it’s  still enjoyable to see a film aware of the type of movie that remains both engaging and funny while delivering some stylish action sequences that contrast well from the humor. In the end, it makes for a well-paced, entertaining adventure.

When all is said and done, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun, surprising holiday movie. Usually when a sequel comes out 20 years after the original, it’s a calculated misfire. So once in a blue moon, it’s nice to see one hurdle over the other failures. If you plan on taking the family to movies this holiday season, odds are that going into the jungle of Jumanji will give you the best bang for your buck.

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