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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-ray Review

March 19, 2018

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-ray Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Mar 19, 2018
( Rating: 4 Star Rating)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is out to take home. Should you add this funny adventure to your collection? Are the extras entertaining? Check out Kidzworld’s Blu-ray review.

By: Lynn Barker

It’s 1996 and in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and teenager Alex Vreeke (later, Nick Jonas) discards an old board game dad found on the beach. When he has no interest in playing old board games, it transforms into a video cartridge. He puts it in his player and is sucked into the game, disappearing from the real world. It seems that the game keeps teaching people lessons by making them play….for years!.

The teens about to be sucked into the gameThe teens about to be sucked into the game

In Our Time

High schooler Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff) and estranged old pal Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blaine) are sent to detention because Spencer did Fridge’s homework. Fellow sufferers are vain, pretty Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman) and socially awkward Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner) on whom Spencer has a secret crush. Told to clean out the school basement, Spencer finds the discarded console with Jumanji in it and the gang decides to play. They pick avatars and, poof! They are sucked into the game, ending up in a jungle.

The players try to figure out the gameThe players try to figure out the gameCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Hellish Avatars

The teens are freaked on learning they have become the avatars they chose; Fridge is a short zoologist (Kevin Hart), horrified Bethany is an overweight middle-aged professor type (Jack Black), Martha (Karen Gillan) is a hot, athletic woman and weak Spencer is a muscle-laden tough guy (Dwayne Johnson). They figure that the avatars all have special skills. They are told the game’s mission by in-game character Nigel (Rhys Darby). They have to return a large gem the “Jaguar’s Eye” to the jaguar statue it came from and yell “Jumanji”. They are given a map that only Bethany whose character is a cartographer, can read.

The avatars see crazed motorcyclists coming at themThe avatars see crazed motorcyclists coming at them

Re-Animation

The bad guy is an adventurer called Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) who originally got the gem. They are attacked by his men on motorcycles. They escape by jumping off a cliff into water below. Bethany’s avatar has already been eaten by a hippo and lost one life but is back in the game. Now Martha has been shot but is returned to the game again. The group realizes they have arm tattoos and the bars on them count down as they “die”. Martha and Bethany now have only two. They have three lives in the game. Will they die for real when their avatars go through three lives?

Bravestone holds the eye of the panther gemBravestone holds the eye of the panther gem

Discoveries

With Van Pelt’s men stalking them, the group discovers special skills losing more lives in the struggle. They are eventually confronted by a fellow gamer, a flier who thinks he has only been playing a couple of weeks but he is actually Alex (Nick Jonas) who was sucked into the game in 1996! He’s used up two lives, has limited skills and is afraid to use up his last life so he’s just been laying low.  He needs the others to escape the game. If they work together, can all of the players escape?

Alex (left) joins the avatarsAlex (left) joins the avatars

Working Together

The group survives a stampede of white rhinos, a dangerous helicopter flight, a deadly mosquito bite and almost losing the gem they must return to the statue by working together. They’ve realized that some members of the group really have strong feelings for others. They combine skills to defeat the jaguar statue’s guards with a few more lives lost. Who will actually be able to replace the gem in the statue and yell “Jumanji”? Will everybody be returned to the real world or will losing all game lives mean true death for a player? If the players do return to our world, will they destroy the game forever?

Fridge's avatar caught in rhino stampedeFridge's avatar caught in rhino stampede

Special Extra Features

  • Gag Reel – Short, sweet and edited down to PG-13. Cute but nothing side-splitting funny.
  • Journey Through the Jungle- This is the “making of” featurette with on set pieces and director Jake Kasdan talking about working together in Hawaii, fun on set. Production Design of sets like the giant Jaguar rock and creation of the large bazaar the team runs through are shown and costuming, including the crazy large backpack the “Fridge” character carries are discussed along with all the wild, mostly CGI jungle creatures threatening our heroes.  Fun extra
  • Surviving the Jungle: Stunts – focuses on the wild motorcycle stuntmen, the jump off a large waterfall and especially Karen Gillan’s “dance fighting” as her character Ruby Roundhouse. Fun.

Ruby in actionRuby in action
  • Attack of the Rhinos takes apart the helicopter vs. herd of rhinos chase through a canyon and all about the creation of the CGI herd and the casts’ wild ride inside a helicopter fastened to a gimbal. The actors tell us about the experience…Interesting
  • Book to Board Game to Big Screen and Beyond: Celebrating the Legacy of Jumanji – is a tribute to the 1995 movie starring Robin Williams. All of the actors are fans. We see how the story changed this time showing us the inside of the game rather than having characters and animals escape from it. Interesting and great for fans of the original movie.
  • Jumanji Music Video is my favorite extra! It’s hilarious! Jack Black and Nick Jonas appear in their own hand-made video performing a crazy “theme song” they created. The cast reacts appropriately.  So worth seeing and re-watching!

Spencer, as his avatar, rides to victorySpencer, as his avatar, rides to victory

Wrapping Up

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is hilarious and action-packed with some very good comic actors leading the way. Personalities are changed for the better and relationships are improved within the game. Good character development along with the action. It’s a worthy successor to the beloved 1995 Robin Williams movie.

Bravestone (Spencer) learns his statsBravestone (Spencer) learns his stats

This Blu-ray set doesn’t have an audio commentary but extras give us some fun on-set action and the silly “theme song” music video alone is worth the purchase. Laughed my head off.  We can go four stars.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-ray Rating: 4

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-rayJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Blu-rayCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Buy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starting Tuesday, March 20th.

 

Have Your Say

Would you love to actually “be” your game avatar? Are you a Jack Black or Dwayne Johnson fan? Talk it up below!