Jumanji Welcome to the JungleRating 3.5/5 – It’s not really hard to review a movie like Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle because the target audience is kids.   I’ve been having a problem with the idea of adults, much like myself, doing examinations of movies or TV explicitly meant for children as if it can be compared to The Godfather or even Back to the Future somewhat off-putting.   Do a search for Rick and Morty or Steve Universe and coming across these video essays on the deeper meanings and how they relate to today’s social climate.    Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle is a kid’s movie.  It sensibilities does not go past age 12, the plot is not deep or any commentary on anything more than “don’t judge a book by its cover” or “find the hero within” or whatever bullshit philosophy for young people.   I seriously think there is a board of these overused platitudes and storylines get picked by which dart gets the closest.   The only thing that should concern a review is the mechanics of the movie and does it entertain it’s target audience. It surprised me at how better Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle was than I would have expected it to be.  It was funny, it didn’t feel like it stayed too long,  and the premise was a little better than I’ve heard many reviewers describe it.   These things are surprising considering the climate and history of this franchise.

Jumanji 1995

Released back in 1995 Jumanji was one of the 10 top grossing films of that year.  Believe it or not, domestically this movie outgrossed Die Hard With a Vengence, Heat and Get Shorty.   It starred Robin Williams during his “Death to Smoothy” era and was billed as a kids movie too.    What set this movie apart was it was dark.  I’m not talking just a few dark things happening.   You might watch Jumanji and think about how Robin Williams wasn’t as funny as usual or how it was the beginnings of CGI, or the dialogue and costume clearly date Jumanji as a 1990s thing.  Watch this movie and think about everything that happens.   Two kids start playing a game in the 1969 and one gets sucked in and the other is left to live her life being thought of as crazy and a perpetual suspect in his dissappearance.  26 years later two kids around the same age come to the boy’s empty house to live with their aunt.  They’re parents died in an accident several months before.   The new kids begin playing the game and the boy who was trapped is let out only now,   Robin Williams plays the boy, now a man, whose been living in a jungle for all this time but still has the thinking and sensibilities of the child who is trapped in the game.   That’s really fucking dark, people.   The rest of the movie is the game making everyone’s life a living hell from hell.  The game is finished and everything gets undone.   The boy and girl who started the game find themselves right back to 30 years before and immediately get rid of the damn.   But here’s the kicker – they remember everything they had gone through for the last 30 years despite now being put back to tweener age.  And Jumanji goes on to stress they live the next 26  years not only with those memories but waiting for the two kids  to come back so they can change the course of their lives.   It did okay at the box office and you have to admit that takes a strange premise, decides to tell the story as dark as possible even in the end.   Jumanj is counted as one of Robin William’s more memorable movies.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle srips away is even a pretense at complexity outside a ABC Family series and it’s about as dark as a Disney XD live action series.   Think ABC family movie with adult adjecent jokes.  Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle is about as complex as a ABC After School Special about drinking.   There were some cool twists here and there, enough to set this continuation apart from the previous two.  What Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle does right is take that ABC family formula use it to fuel two pretty good running jokes..  You know these characters:  vapir hot girl (check), stereotype nerd (check), jock bully guy (check) and smart girl without fashion sense (check),  In this version all four kids get sucked into Jumanji while on detention and end up the opposites of their real life characters but still act like themselves.   This movie takes place in the jungle Robin Williams spend his life in the first movie.

Karen Gillan Tomb Raider

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle Katen GillanTo me Karen Gillen will always be Amy Pond, the girl who waited.  I’m a Whovian after all and I embrace everything Doctor Who, even the bad American attempts at the character.  Karen Gillan was always girl-next-door sexy to me.  In Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle she played a Laura Croft style character and not only looked exceptionally hot, I honestly think she could pull off being Laura Croft.   Karen Gillan tend to play the girl-next-door you want to hang out with kind of hot that is flexible to any type of character.  She’s showed a lot of balls and range playing Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy, but I’m surprised she made such an awesome looking Laura Croft.  If they decidde to do a full show she’s an obvious candidate.

Jack Black Actually Entertaining

Another thing that about Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle that took me by surprise was actually being entertained by Jack Black.  School of Rock was the last movie I consider Jack Black to be good in until Goosebumps.   I like Goosebumps and I thought one of the main reason Jack Black worked as the fictional R.L. Stine was becaue he was playing an adult and not the endless men-children he constantly plays.   In Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle he was actually funny playing a self-obsessed teenage girl trapped in the character of a middle age hero helper.

Kevin Hart? Sure, Why Not?

Kevin Hart is hit or miss for me.   He’s a great stand-up but his movies appearances aren’t anything to write home to mom about.    I think the problem is he always plays Kevin Hart and it takes something special to do that.   He can be funny but not “play the same character over and over again” funny.  At least not yet.  This was his first big budget movie and I think he did pretty damn good in it.   Some of the biggest laughs in Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle came from his chemestry with The Rock.  (And no, I’m not going to talk about the impossible to hate, going to make more money then me in four lifetimes, The Rock.   He’s The Rock.  He can get away with playing himself all the time.)

Bottom Line

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle did not leave me feeling like I could have waited for it to come on cable or that I wasted my money.   The kids came away with smiles and doing the whole “remember that scene when” thing we all do as kids when we are really on about a movie.   I found myself laughling consistantly throughout the movie which means the jokes pretty much landed and the actors were having a lot of fun with their roles and it shows.   While the attempts to be like the original were, well, feeble, the Easter Egg call backs to the orignal were pretty clever.   It’s worth a trip to the movies and you won’t be dissappointed.



I'm from Brooklyn New York and this is my opinion on everything.