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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Movie Review

Reviewed by on Dec 20, 2017
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the reimagined film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Is this comedy movie about players trapped in a videogame as funny as the trailers or the original film? Check out our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, it’s 1996 and teenager Alex Vreeke (later, Nick Jonas) disappears into the Jumanji videogame after his dad finds it on the beach. If course, when dad finds it, it’s a board game which magically transforms into a video cartridge after Alex expresses his disdain for playing old-fashioned board games. A whole new generation of players will discover the videogame in our time, pick avatars and then be sucked into the game.

The teens about to discover the gameThe teens about to discover the gameCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Twenty Years Later

It’s 2016 and high schooler Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff) and pal Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blaine) are in detention because Spencer did Fridge’s homework. Fellow sufferers are vain, pretty Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman) and socially awkward Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner). Told to clean out the basement, Spencer finds the 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 check out the old gameThe players check out the old gameCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Avatar Hell

All four teens are freaked learning they have become the avatars they chose; Fridge is a short zoologist (Kevin Hart), 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 the gem the “Jaguar’s Eye” to the jaguar statue it came from and yell “Jumanji”. They are given a map that only Bethany can read.

Spencer's avatar checks out his descriptionSpencer's avatar checks out his descriptionCourtesy of Sony Pictures

The players follow the mapThe players follow the mapCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Attack and Re-animation

Against them is an adventurer called Van Pelt 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 but didn’t die and 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?

Martha's avatar is action-womanMartha's avatar is action-womanCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Following the Clues

With Van Pelt’s men stalking them, the group discover special skills losing more lives in the struggle. They are eventually confronted by Van Pelt himself who explains that he is the fifth player and is actually Alex who was sucked into the game in 1996. He’s used up two lives and has limited skills. He needs the others to escape the game. If they work together, can all of the players escape?

Following the cluesFollowing the cluesCourtesy of Sony Pictures

The avatar group is far from victoryThe avatar group is far from victoryCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Working Together

Combining their gradually-discovered skills, 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 while realizing 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?

So do we just hide in the jungle?So do we just hide in the jungle?Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Wrapping Up

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is both hilarious and action-packed. The group learns to believe in themselves and take that to the real world. They also get that they can work with others despite great differences. The adult actors playing against type (Jack Black makes a great vain teen “girl” and Dwayne shows us he can be, at least, at first, a scared wimp) do a convincing and funny job.

Can we get out of this game alive?Can we get out of this game alive?Courtesy of Sony Pictures

The story has a few twists and this version of the tale is more visually adventurous as well as concentrating more on laughs while retaining the “heart” that was at the center of the 1995 Jumanji movie starring the great Robin Williams. In that film, you didn’t see how the game was really played from within and this one makes up for that with modern special effects. This is one movie that doesn’t suffer from a “re-imagining” or “update”. For an upbeat good time at the cinema-plex this holiday season, you can’t go wrong with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. We can go four stars. 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Movie Rating: 4

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Movie PosterJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Movie PosterCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is in theaters now!


Have Your Say

Have you seen the original Jumanji movie on home video? Are you a Jack Black or Dwayne Johnson fan? Do you think it would be cool to be sucked into a videogame? Talk it out with a comment below