If you’re a real Jumanji fan, you probably be excited when you learned there would be a sequel and started reading Jumanji film reviews. You too might have been disappointed as numerous potential pitfalls for this sequel were readily shared by many reviewers. But here, are the reasons why, against the odds, I think you’ll find that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a worthwhile film.
Read on my Jumanji film reviews to learn more:
A good connection to original Jumanji
Beginning in 1996 (Jumanji was actually launched on December 15, 1995), the film finds the board game Jumanji half buried beneath the sand. In this opening, the game has washed up on the shores of France, echoing the last scene of the original. Here, a father in America buys it for his son, who is a gamer in his teens, after it has been shipped back to the country. The next 20 years by by quickly.
There are a number of callbacks to the first film throughout the sequel, such as Nick Jonas’s Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough occupying the home formerly occupied by Robin Williams’s Alan Parrish. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is at its finest when it is attempting to update a classic idea for a modern audience. For this generation, the new Jumanji not only works, but it’s also rather terrific. In the future, this film will not hold up well due to its reliance on allusions to social media.
Some uniqueness captured my interest
What makes this sequel stand out is how these young players get completely immersed in the action. Instead of being stuck in a physical board game, however, they find themselves in a virtual one. Just as in Freaky Friday, everyone plays a completely different version of themselves. Franklin “Moose” Finbar (Kevin Hart) is the new name for the jock, while Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Professor “Shelly” Oberon (Jack Black), and Ruby Roundhouse (the smart girl) take on new personas in the film (Karen Gillan).
The change from young adults to teens is a radical departure from the source material and that has been center of the story and has been discussed in many Jumanji film reviews. The original Jumanji’s hook was its focus on a grown-up kid who is thrust back into a world. He doesn’t recognise after longing for his lost youth. There is a lot of anti-parent anguish in there. This slant was likely influenced by the presence of Robin Williams in the major role. The focus of this sequel, on the contrary hand, is on adolescent relationships. Teens arguing and finding creative solutions to difficulties is always a good time. Perhaps a hippo eating a teen? This movie delivers all of that and more.
Some glitches but overall, its enjoyable
One or two of the stages are incorrect. Bad jokes about animal dicks and virgin testicles fall flat, and the film suffers from the same bagginess in the third act that plagues so thrillers. Henry Jackman’s soundtrack cheekily invoking Maurice Jarre’s opening desert sequence adds to the wonderful grandeur of the set pieces (which feature huge ostriches pursuing dune buggies and flying confrontations with growling monkeys).
It’s unclear whether this successful strategy can be used again. It’s promising that the characters swear to “never go back again” after a scene that alludes to their past exploits in the “real world” throughout the credits. They made this promise once before and reneged on it, and it turned out okay. I doubt I’ll be this lenient the next time around. But honestly it was not as bad as I was expecting it to be.