'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' is Rated "A" for Adrenaline Filled Fun

Lawrence Kim
December 21, 2017

The only reason I bring it up here is because Jake Kasdan's "Welcome to the Jungle" spends a fair amount of unnecessary time justifying how it is connected to "Jumanji", including how the original book and film had evolved into a video game by 1996. Fans are protective of their childhood movies and there's also the passing of Robin Williams that makes Jumanji feel untouchable.

Black said of becoming Bethany: "This character was sort of in my toolbox since I was in college and no one ever asked me "Hey, would you play a teenage girl?' and I was like 'You know it's amusing you're asking me that because I have one ready to go". During the press junket for the upcoming Jumanji, Sony got the help of three of the film's stars to test out Knowledge is Power, a trivia game that's the second title to use the PlayLink branding. Four high school kids - Spencer, Fridge, Bethany, and Martha stumble upon the Jumanji video game during detention. When they turn it on, they are each whisked into the bodies of the avatars they choose. Enter Franchise Viagra himself, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, Martha's game avatar, seemed to serve as a sexual asset more than anything else.

"You knocked it out of the park man", Kevin Hart said. "How could you not have seen that mid-1990s mega-hit about the board game that sucks kids into it and forces them to risk life and limb to win?"

While in the video game they discover that they must play together and follow the map to safely return to their own world. Rather than platform-jumping, indiscriminate slaughter and the slow accumulation of skills and weapon upgrades, the players succeed by learning to believe in themselves and to trust each other. Karen Gillan displays a wealth of timing and comedy touches, but it really is teen girl Jack Black who steals the film with an unforgettable performance, in what is a surprisingly tricky role. This movie threatened to be more of the same, but by never pretending to be more than the escapism it is, it actually rises to another level as a coming of age story, making this a jungle worth visiting - perhaps moreso than going to that galaxy far, far away in "The Last Jedi". Gillan makes the most of the cliched wallflower-becomes-hot-warrior-princess routine.

The biggest laughs come via Jack Black as Sheldon aka Bethany. Black, pitching his voice high and complaining about being fat and middle-aged, attempts to find the inner-life-of-a-blonde cliche.

Still, the surface pleasures of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" are enough for a fun afternoon at the movies during the holidays. It's not trying to say anything about a particular subject or have some deeper meaning.

Don't consider "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" a straight remake of the 1995 Robin Williams board game adventure film.

On its own, this a pretty by-the-numbers action comedy nominally aimed at kids and teens that takes disappointingly few risks with its own seemingly fertile fantasy premise. With these two elements combined, the movie becomes an exciting romp through risky terrain, similar to the feeling held within many video games the film emulates.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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