In the golden era of films, there was one which opened up a new genre of fantasy, and that movie was Jumanji, where a seemingly innocent boardgame traps individuals in what we could now call the most realistic VR adventure yet. It was a great success, so much so that it was remade recently into Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
In this iteration of the cursed boardgame, it is converted into an old Atari or Sega game cartridge to lure in teenagers who have moved on from boardgames. The same recipe here continues as teenagers are trapped and a huge time skip is once again implemented just like its predecessor.
The main difference this time is that while the game sucks you in, it has changed its rules since its inception, as since its a video game, it no longer uses the dreaded dice rolls, and is more to akin to an adventure RPG. The players also change their body types based on the character they have chosen, which is played by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart.
The thrills in this movie are not as evident from the last since suspense came from the random choices a player makes after a dice rolls which creates unpredictability whereby in this version, having a game character with parameters allow them more degree of freedom. While there are good moments such as the rhino chase scene, there are many others that felt less impactful.
Like most of their other team-ups, The Rock and Kevin Hart make a good comedic duo as their interaction with each other usually manages to get the crowd to react positively, although some jokes felt rather forced hence losing its coherence halfway through the movie. Jack Black playing a female character is also quite interesting to see, as he seems almost too well suited for the role, which at many scenes gives the crowd a good chortle.
Story-wise, since it is basically a remake of the first Jumanji, we can say the formula is pretty much a rinse and repeat albeit a few differences. Kid gets lost in Jumanji, time skip, the new group enters the game, find the first kid, finish the game and reset scenario. The ending might hint that there will be no sequels but if you know Hollywood, they probably have a few plans on the drawing board for this franchise.
So all in all, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was fun, cringey and thoroughly enjoyable. Perfect for a family rendezvous during the weekends.