Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, Rhys Darby, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Alex Wolff
Released By: Sony Pictures Releasing International
Opening Day: 21 December 2017
Synopsis: In the brand new adventure "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," the tables are turned as four teenagers in detention are sucked into the world of Jumanji. When they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, they are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting, into the bodies of their avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji – Jumanji plays you. They’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever…
It first happened in August 2012 when we first heard that Jumanji was going to be reimagined and updated for today’s audiences. Together with the rest of the Internet, we did not think much of this piece of news. This was especially so when the remake was confirmed in August 2015 – too soon after the unfortunate demise of Robin Williams (Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb), who portrayed Alan Parrish in the 1995 movie.
For the uninitiated, the original movie directed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) is about how young Alan Parrish gets trapped in a board game in 1969. Fast forward 26 years, a pair of siblings play the game and release the adult Alan. What follows is an unforgettable series of near death incidents involving wild animals and carnivorous plants. To a child who grew up in the 1990s, this action adventure which also starred Kirsten Dunst (The Beguiled) and Bonnie Hunt (Cars 3) was both exciting and terrifying.
One can understand why people were waiting to see how the 2017 movie is going to fail. Luckily for the filmmakers (and the movie studio), the standalone sequel is a fun ride.
The plot is a no brainer: we follow four teenagers as they get transported into the video game world of Jumanji, and they must conquer the game by playing as the characters they choose. Yup, and as the story goes, this is the only way the four of them can return to the real world.
Directed by Jake Kasdan (Sex Tape), this is the type of popcorn flick that requires viewers to be undemanding so that you can easily enjoy your time in the cinema. Running at 119 minutes, the movie is a winner because of the stars headlining the production. In this day and age, this approach is the most convenient way to sell an otherwise predictable product (you can expect everyone to be safe and happy when the end credits roll).
Who do we have here? All hail Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch), who aptly uses his smoldering intensity and megawatt smile to play an archaeologist and explorer in the game. This dude is a bona fide movie star. Then we have Jack Black (Bernie), who puts his comedy prowess on display by portraying a young girl trapped in a fat, middle aged cryptographer and paleontologist’s body. The serious film connoisseur may regard his scenes as cheap attempts at humour, but trust us – Black is a natural at inducing laughs. The fast talking Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence) is another member of the ensemble cast, and audiences can expect more jokes involving the short zoologist and weapons specialist. There’s also Karen Gilian (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) who plays a kickass female fighter, Nick Jonas (Careful What You Wish For) exuding heartthrob charm who plays a lost explorer and Bobby Cannavale (Ferdinand) who effortlessly plays a scheming villain.
Thanks to the advancement of CGI, the creatures in this movie are realistically created on screen. A hungry hippopotamus gobbles up a character, while a fleet angry rhinoceroses goes on a stampede. While the first movie induced some sort of fear (it may also be due to the fact that we were kids), this update is all about the laugh out loud moments, thanks to a charming ensemble cast led by a certain huge personality known as The Rock.
(Welcome to Jumanji and sit tight for an entertaining ride filled with solid laughs)
Review by John Li