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“An adventure for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind.”
What kind of memories does this quote invoke? Incredible sorrow or maybe heartthrob of wishing the years could rewind? I, for one, know that this movie absolutely knocked me out my seat when I first saw the original Jumanji.
My love for the late Robin Williams's work is infinite and this movie definitely was one of his greater works. Though it’s more than just him that makes this movie stand out. The cinematography, the well-picked cast, the plot really pushed this movie beyond the bounds of being ordinary. Even if remembering it didn't mean to provoke old nightmares you may have had as a child. Jumanji even had its own spin-off with the 2005 movie Zathura. But the most surprising fact about this movie was that, much to people’s disbelief, it rendered a sequel, which for its faults was still pretty good.
This movie has a star-studded cast including Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Madison Iseman, Alex Wolff, Morgan Jeanette Turner, and Ser’Darius Blain. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is not exactly a master and really was not something anyone who is a fan of the original movie asked, but to some moviegoer’s surprise, it did quite a good job with a rating of 76 percent (Rotten Tomatoes). Other reviewers, however, including Glen Kenny from The New York Times, writes “very few remakes, sequels, or franchise reboots have signaled their desperation to connect quite as nakedly as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does.” His review asserts that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle seemed desperate and unoriginal as if directors were just digging up old source material instead of coming up with new ideas.
The plot of the movie starts off where the original left off and follows four high school students who just so happen to all get detention on the same day, which allows them to meet and discover a video game called Jumanji among the junk of the school's basement. When they start it up, they get sucked into the game’s virtual world. The only way to escape is to beat the game because if they don't, they would be stuck in the world forever. The movie plays on four big character tropes. There is Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) the meathead of a jock, Bethany (Madison Iseman) the vain popular girl, Spencer (Alex Wolff) the nerdy misfit, and Martha (Morgan Jeanette Turner) the socially awkward brainiac. These stereotypes are often used in movies regarding high school kids, so it's not surprising to see them used in this movie for laughs. Speaking of laughing, the jokes were witty and clever though there were a few that left some people in the audience frustrated. For example, when one of the main characters didn’t know what an NPC (non-player character) was. Virtually everyone one knows this whether they are hardcore gamers or not because of the high tech culture they were living in.
Some parts of the movie could have been reworked to fit in with the film better, especially when one of the main character’s traits really is not looked into as in-depth as it should have been. If the movie had incorporated more culture into the world of Jumanji, then everything around would have felt more alive than generic. Instead of being sketched out, the audience is just left with a foundation of something that could have meant so much more than punchlines and cheap jokes.
Even with their flaws, the characters were still very quirky and fun to follow throughout the film. Each had their own memorable personalities even when they enter new bodies. They all developed with the story and became better than who they already were, and the best part was the ending. Not because it was over but because it was easy to see how far each character had come from his or her journey in the game. It’s sweet to see the effects of what personalities can have on each other and help change each of them for the better instead of staying their cardboard cutout selves. This fun film is truly worth watching especially for those who want to dig up some nostalgia. “This sequel turns out to be a comedy of manners, of all things, and an agreeable one, a movie that will get you laughing and suck you in,” concludes Joe Morgenstern from the Wall Street Journal The movie was good for all it was worth and I do look forward to watching it again.