Wednesday 10 January 2018

Film Review: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

cinema-movie-ticket, jumanji

Before I get stuck into my review, cards on the table - I've never seen the original Jumanji film.

Of course, I knew about it; it's a classic, after all. However, as the majority of my regular readers will doubtless already know by now, my education is significantly lacking when it comes to classic movies. I have my favourites and, with very little free time (or money) available to watch films or go to the cinema, I have to pick what I want to watch very carefully.

I saw the trailer for the recent reboot, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, several times over the last few months when making trips to the movies. However, opinions seemed to be divided among the people I spoke to about it. Some said it would be a poor imitation of the original - "you can't beat a classic," was mentioned several times - whereas others thought it could be a modern refresh of a classic film.

So, going into the screening with a mixed reception yet an open mind of my own, I sat back, enjoyed the show, and allowed myself the freedom to form my own opinions about the film.

Quickly becoming one of 2017's top-grossing films in the global box office, it's clear that Jumanji is more than just your average remake. Although the movie does rely extremely heavily on the talent of its lead cast members, the concept is just as unique and quirky as ever, only further added to by the up-to-date backdrop.

Speaking of the concept, if you aren't familiar with the basic story, the whole narrative of the film can be summed up as follows: four teenagers are sucked into a video game and become the on-screen avatars they chose, forced to work together and overcome their fears in order to beat the game and attempt to win their passage home. Put like that, it's an incredibly simple idea, yet it's undeniably innovative and still just as exciting as it was back when the original Jumanji movie was released.

However, it's not just the action-packed sequences and adventurous elements that keep you glued to the screen. Strip away all the fluff and its core this is a coming-of-age story, where the characters must grow and develop, working alongside one another and becoming better people as we progress through the film.

Of course, there is also a liberal dose of humour, largely related to the scenario the teenagers have found themselves in. Jack Black undeniably steals the show as Bethany/Professor Shelly Oberon, somehow managing to perfectly portray all the emotions of a selfie-mad teenage girl who suddenly finds herself trapped in the body of an overweight middle-aged man.

That being said, it's no secret that this whole movie is held together by its stellar lineup. Jack Black is joined by the powerful trio of Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart to complete the main quartet, yet Nick Jonas' Alex provides the perfect finishing touch.

Fresh, exciting and exhilarating, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is certainly no shoddy remake.

Have you seen the film? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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