Twenty years ago, a little film called Jumanji made its appearance at the box office. Starring Robin Williams, the film is, to this day, one I’ve never seen. Fast-forward to seeing the trailer for the 2017 reincarnation, and I discover a new comedy to get lost in.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Film Review
Through a stroke of misfortunes, four teenagers find themselves in detention together. Spencer (Alex Wolffe) is the super smart nerd who agrees to do the homework of the popular football player, Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain). Unfortunately for both guys, the teacher catches them. Then there’s Bethany (Madison Iseman), the pretty and popular girl who believes she’s nothing without a perfect Instagram filter. Finally, there is Martha (Morgan Turner), an anti-social girl who earns detention after talking back to her PE teacher. While stuck together, the one thing they have in common (curiosity!) gets them deeper into trouble.
Opening an old video game, they wind up transporting to a strange place they’ll learn is Jumanji.
In this strange jungle where everyone seems to be robotic and programmed to give game-appropriate information, these kids find they’re not themselves. Spencer is now a muscled, combat skilled man called Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); Fridge is now small in stature and a shell of his former self called Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); and Martha is an attractive woman who can defend herself with ease, she’s now Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). The final member of the quartet, it’s Bethany who’s change is most drastic. Instead of the sexy professor she assumes her avatar will make her, she’s a middle aged man, Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).‘JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE’: Virtual Reality Adventure Transcends Reality #FWarchivse Click To Tweet
True of every film or story, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle isn’t going to be a good fit for everyone. But it’s good Saturday night entertainment. Funny is certainly one word that we can associate with this film. The humor is in the same vein as “slapstick,” but then this is kind of a necessity when you consider the characters. Each one is a teenager in an adult’s body. To use humor that didn’t border on silly wouldn’t have melded the story as effectively. One example of this is late in the film when two characters decide they want to be each other’s first kiss. The scene is incredibly awkward (in a laugh-out-loud kind of way), but it fits the actual mentality of the characters.
Not only are the character’s fun to experience this adventure beside, the cast who portrays them is fabulous. (Can we take a moment to appreciate Karen Gillan being in this cast list. I love seeing her in something outside of Doctor Who, where she is fantastic.) I enjoyed getting to know the characters, and find the role reversals interesting. The popular kids became incarnations that aren’t anything like them. Then the nerdy kids became the opposite of their high school social standing. It’s a clever twist on the story, and a unique story cue to help in teaching the characters their valuable lesson.
Those of us who don’t mind the commonplace slapstick-like humor will discover a fun adventure awaits inside Jumanji.
Content: Crude humor is the main reason for the film’s PG13 rating. There are several jokes about Bethany turning into a “man,” and the new challenges she faces as a result of this. There’s minor and commonplace profanity a few times, and there is some “adventure” violence or tense moments (threats like snakes crop up).