Over 20 years ago a movie was called Jumanji. It’s well known and can be seen on video as most of us teen’s had to do. It’s one crazy movie about a weird game that puts the players in jeopardy. Well the movie has been reborn, but this time it’s a kind of reversal. Still great for teens as the comedy gets put in high gear.
If you have seen the original Jumanji, you know that the game brought the animals to the player’s world. Well in this movie version, the players are brought into Jumanji’s world. Full of comedic scenes and situations, greats of comedy are used as avatars that have many strengths and weaknesses. For example, Kevin Hart’s character “Moose Finbar” has a weakness to cake. You’ll get the idea right from the start.
Here is some of the story. 20 years earlier board games were deemed obsolete and Jumanji the board game evolves into a video game to deceive gullible kids into joining its realm. Alex (Mason Guccione), a high school student finds the Jumanji electronic game and being curious, he plugs in the game and gets absorbed into the dangerous world. After his disappearance into the game he became known as the kid who vanished and was never to be seen again.
While serving their time in detention, 4 unlikely friends come together. Spencer (Alex Wolf) a good-graded geek, Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) a jock, Bethany (Madison Iseman) a popular teen, and Martha (Morgan Turner) a wallflower. In detention, the 4 polar opposite students find an old video game system with an unusual game in it, Jumanji. Their choice is either serve their detention recycling magazines or passing time playing the game.
Jumanji is a wild ride through a mad jungle where everything wants to kill you. The key to the game is to ask the right questions to the right characters. Answers to your questions are limited to default responses. The in game characters are called NPC (Non Player Characters) and only answer questions that will bring you to your next challenge.
Plugging in the game was a big mistake. As the game starts up the four friends thought they had choices of 5 characters: Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Moose Finbar (Kevin Kart), Professor Shelly Obero (Jack Black), but they find one character has been taken. That character is the young high school kid Alex (Mason Guccione) who vanished 20 years ago and has the avatar Jefferson Seaplane McDonough (Nick Jonas).
This game cannot be beaten alone, you need each character to come together and to serve the part that their character can provide; brave, map reader, animal specialist, tough trained fighter, or pilot. Without one of the game avatars, the game cannot be complete. Each player is granted 3 lives and each time they die use a life like usual video games. If their lives are completely drained, then that means game over. Not only for the game but for your personal existence.
The contrast between real life and virtual existence is huge. The Rock plays the role of a young skinny boy that is afraid of everything. Kevin Hart’s contrast went from a large built football jock to a short pushover who serves the Rock’s character (Dr. Smolder Bravestone). Jack Black plays an avatar to the Bethany character who cares about nothing but looking good and using her phone. His execution of this roll is marvelous, he looks like a middle age man, but still has the personality and attitude of a teenage girl. Karen Gillan’s character plays Martha as a sexy bad ass who is a master in multiple forms of fighting. She does a great job of transforming the socially awkward girl into a beautiful and intense fighter.
If you are looking for a funny thrill ride that is very enjoyable for ages as young as 12 then this is the movie. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is rated PG-13. It contains a small amount of foul language and some scenes of blood, but nothing too intense. With all the comedy and entertainment, it will be worth seeing it.