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Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle: My Movie Review

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American adventure film with a mix of comedy scenes, written by Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, and Chris McKenna who also made the story plot. This film was directed by Jake Kasdan.

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!!!

This is a film that pays tribute to the late Robin Williams, who starred on the first film entitled Jumanji in year 1995, where young Kirsten Dunst (Mary Jane Watson of Spiderman) also co-starred. Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle also serves as a movie sequel of Jumanji franchise. Playing as Alan Parrish on the first film, Robin Williams’ character name was mentioned in this film. A movie that is based on a 1981 children’s book of the same name authored by Chris Van Allsburg.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle stars one of the famous wrestlers-turned–actor The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson. Ten-time award-winning actor Dwayne Johnson (Maui of Moana/ Hank of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island/ Roadblock of GI Joe: Retaliation/Raymond Gaines of San Andreas/ Mitch Buchannon of Baywatch/ Hobbs of Fast and Furious/ Hercules of Hercules/ Derek of Tooth Fairy/ Captain Charles T. Baker of Planet 51/ Jack Bruno of Race to Witch Mountain/ Sarge of Doom/ Mathayus of The Scorpion King/ Scorpion King of The Mummy Returns) played the role of Dr. Smolder Bravestone, an archaeologist who is also an explorer who serves as an avatar by Spencer. 

Five-time award-winning American actor Alex Wolff (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of Patriots Day/ Jamie Schwartz of Coming Through the Rye/ Eli Pettifog of HairBrained/ Bennett of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/ Theo of The Naked Brothers Band) played the role of Spencer Gilpin, a nerdy gamer at Brantford High School who undergone detention with Fridge, Martha, and Bethany, for writing Fridge’s homework for him. He was also the one who discovered the Jumanji video game.

Nine-time award-winning American actor Jack Black (Nacho of Nacho Libre/ Dewey Finn of School of Rock/ Carl Denham of King Kong/ Po of Kung Fu Panda/ Stine of Goosebumps/ Lemuel Gulliver of Gulliver’s Travels/ Lenny of Shark Tale) played the role of Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist and paleontologist who was also Bethany’s avatar.

American actress Madison Iseman (Charlotte of Still the King/ Kaylee of Laid in America) played her role as Bethany Walker, a pretty and popular but a narcissistic and self-centered teenage girl at Brantford High School who goes to detention after talking on her phone during a quiz and displaying an arrogant contempt towards her class in the process.

Fifteen-time award-winning American actor Kevin Hart (Ben Barber of Ride Along/ Calvin Joyner of Central Intelligence/ Dante Slate Jr. of Grudge Match/ Vic of Along Came Polly/ CJ of Scary Movie 3) played as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a zoologist and weapons specialist who was Fridge’s avatar due to the game’s font causing Fridge to misread the character’s nickname as “Moose”.

American actor Ser’Darius Blain (Galvin of Charmed/ Young Takoda of The Last Full Measure/ Jackson of Camp X-Ray) cast as Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, a Brantford High School football jock who lacks confidence to succeed academically and went to detention for having Spencer write his essays for him and is also kicked off his football team.

Seven-time award-winning British actress Karen Gillan (Eliza Dooley of Selfie/ Nebula of Guardians of the Galaxy/ Amy Pond of Doctor Who/ Jane Lockhart of Not Another Happy Ending/ Kaylie Russell of Oculus) played her role as Ruby Roundhouse, a commando, martial artist, and dance fighter who is Martha’s avatar.

American actress Morgan Turner (Susan Vermeil of Invincible/ Taunting Classmate of Remember Me/ Janet of Wonderstruck) played the role of Martha Kaply, a teenage girl at Brantford High School who goes to detention for objecting to physical education class and disregarding her teacher. She later becomes Spencer’s love-interest.

Golden Globe nominee and four-time award-winning American actor and one of the members in a boyband Jonas Brothers, Nick Jonas (Nate of Camp Rock/ Ian Wright of Hawaii Five-O/ Doug Martin of Careful What You Wish For/ Brett of Goat/ Nate Kulina of Kingdom) played  as Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, Alex Vreeke’s avatar. McDonough is a mysterious guide, adventurer, and pilot in the game, who waits for and joins the other avatars as they attempt to escape Jumanji. He was the last missing piece of the map metaphorically.

Two-time Primetime Emmy winner and three-time award-winning American actor Bobby Cannavale (Joe Oramas of The Station Agent/ Paxton of Ant-Man/ Jake Fernandez of Parker/ Valiente of Ferdinand/ Martin Maddox of I, Tonya/ Irving of Mr. Robot/ Richie Finestra of Vinyl/ Hank Harris of Snakes on a Plane/ Wilson Jade of Ally McBeal) cast as Russel Van Pelt, a corrupt explorer seeking to control the “Jaguar’s Eye”, whose power he is demonically possessed by. He is the boss of the film’s video game scenario;  Jonathan Hyde played a different version of Van Pelt in the 1995 film. He has also the ability to control animals in the jungle.

The film is set 21 years after the first film, where the plot follows 4 teens who are transported into the virtual world of Jumanji inside a game using their chosen avatars as their character roles. Their main quest is to return the Jaguar stone to its monolith in order to restore Jumanji and for them to go home in a real world.

The film was initially released in the United States on December 20, 2017 in Real D 3D and IMAX with just a production budget of $90-$110 million. It was premiered on December 5, 2017 at Grand Rex in Paris. The movie made a whooping $934.1 million box-office income worldwide making it the 5th highest-grossing film of 2017 and the 45th highest-grossing film of all time so far.

The film received generally positive reviews from critics, who called it a “pleasant surprise” and praised the cast. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 181 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. The website’s critical consensus reads,

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.”

On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average, the film has a normalized score of 58 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

For my own review, this movie is really good for kiddos too since it has lots of fun and adventure and there are also animals that they will surely enjoy with scenes involving them. Though not as much as what you expected from the original film, yet this one surely gives no room for boredom coz this film indeed will make you laugh out loud. Believe it or not, Jumanji has been my first movie ever watched on a cinema and been one of my all-time fave back those days when I was a kid. So with this I can give my 8.4/10 for this film.

There will be a sequel for this film as announced on February 2018.

If you haven’t watched this movie yet, here’s the trailer:

Reference: Some info are copyright sources from Wikipedia.

Image Credits: Google Images

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