I don’t know how much I have to say about Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It was pretty fun, but it is exactly what purports to be; I didn’t see a lot to comment on. Maybe I could spend this review complaining about the first Jumanji, which is junk, but that feels like a waste of time. This movie takes a goofy body switching premise, but things in the hands of four fun performers and just sort of does its thing.
The plot of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is that a quartet of high school kids fitting rough stereotypes get sent to detention together. Forced to clean out an old storeroom, they find a mysterious old video game titled Jumanji and try to play it. It sucks them all into the game, where they become the character they selected. So the nerdy guy becomes the Rock,the jock turns into Kevin Hart, the shy girl becomes Karen Gillan and the popular social media obsessed girl becomes Jack Black. Working together, they must beat the game to go home.
It is just what it seems. They play through video game cliches and confidence lessons. There are tons of jokes about how the guy that was small is now big and the guy that was big is now small, as well as Black portraying a teen girl. It is nothing new, but it all works.
The biggest reason it works is because of its stars. Dwayne Johnson is endlessly charming and has a track record of working well with Kevin Hart. Hart, I’ve found, works best in small doses and this here is just the right amount. This is also a good showcase for Karen Gillan, who gets a chance to shine not covered in Nebula makeup. Then there is Black, who has to play a different gender and really has fun with it. How much you like the movie likely comes down to how much you like these four. I am a big fan of three of them, and neutral on the fourth, so it really worked for me.
I don’t really want to spoil any jokes, and the plot isn’t worth spoiling; there really isn’t much here other than some very good popcorn entertainment. It is action, adventure, and CGI animals, which fortunately look a lot better than the ones in the original looked. It isn’t genuinely good, but it also isn’t as dumb as a lot of other would be blockbusters. It is roughly as good as watching The Last Jedi for the third or fourth time.
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