Saturday, June 23, 2018

MARIAH's THOUGHTS on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Release Date:
December 20, 2017
DVD Release Date:
March 20, 2018
Run Time:
1 hr 59 min

Directed by:
Jake Kasdan

Screenplay by:
Chris McKenna, Erick Sommers
Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner

Screen Story by:
Chris McKenna

Based on the book Jumanji by:
Chris Van Allsburg

Production Co.:
Matt Tolmach/Seven Bucks
Columbia Pictures

Distribution Co.:
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Social Media:

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale

Plot Summary:
Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji - you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they'll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves - or they'll be stuck in the game forever.


*My Thoughts*

A nice teen flick for a modern-day version of a classic film. In comparison to its’ predecessor, Jumanji (1995) starring Robin Williams, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an entertainment piece for a good 119 minutes. Although Jumanji continues to exist with little references to the original, Jumanji is no longer the mysterious board game older fans would recognize. It relates very little to Jumanji (1995), where Jumanji (2017) has its powerhouse cast of action stars (Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan), comedians actors (Jack Black, Kevin Hart), and stand-alone plot. The game may continue, but the times and people change.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is set in 2016 with an introduction set in 1996. Smartphones, social status, and one’s academic future fill the minds of our four protagonist teenagers until they are pulled into the game. To accommodate the changing times, Jumanji doesn’t just bring the game to the players, the new Jumanji whisks its players into the jungles of the fictional realm. Jumanji (2017) losses the essence of mysticism because of this; it no longer forces the current world to deal with the dangers of the game but forces players into a secluded space. While being pulled from reality and into a fictional realm is magical, it limits the possibilities of what the game can do. Jumanji (1995) distorted reality, pulled players into the jungle, and brought the jungle to the city. Jumanji (2017) is a video game that is played in specific levels or regions of a jungle that players need to pass through. This creates a straightforward plot and leaves little room for exploration of the characters or the world of Jumanji.

In terms of character development, the movie offers little other than self-actualization for our four teenagers. The actors change their characters with each passing moment of the movie. Spencer, played by Alex Wolff and Dwayne Johnson, transitions from a meek gamer to a more open and confident young man. The person with the largest character development is Bethany, played by Madison Iseman and Jack Black, who transitions from a self-absorbed girl obsessed with her phone to a moderately friendly and outgoing person. The film comes full circle when players broaden their awareness and come out of their comfort zones. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun action movie for a quiet Friday night.

My Rating:

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