Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Based on the book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg and the film Jumanji written by Greg Taylor

Screenplay by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Bobby Cannavale

Four teens find themselves in the midst of a video game with real life consequences. With new bodies and new skills the teens need to win to find their way home.

This movie is a semi-sequel/update to the 1995 film Jumanji. This one is based on that film, written by Greg Taylor (Prancer), and the book of the same name, by Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express). This one was written by Chris McKenna (Igor), Erik Sommers (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Scott Rosenberg (Con Air), and Jeff Pinker (The Dark Tower). This movie was directed by Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher). The cast of this one includes Dwayne Johnson (The Other Guys), Jack Black (School of Rock), Kevin Hart (The Secret Life of Pets), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), and Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man).

This movie is less of a sequel and more of an updated version of the 1995 film Jumanji. The premise is interesting but the story is predictable from the very start. The characters are fun, and there is a lot of comedy spread throughout the film. Unfortunately a lot of the movie relies on crass humor that is uninteresting and repetitive.

The story also has far too many recognizable plot holes. While this one might be a fun story at times, there just isn’t anything interesting or surprising about the story. The writers seemed to rely on obvious plot points and bathroom humor to put this one together. Because of these choices the movie misses a chance to be a fun family film, and instead feels like a weak attempt at a teen movie.

This one has a big-name cast that includes Jack Black, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillam, Kevin Hart, and Bobby Cannavale. Their performances are fun, but no one seems to bring anything special to the experience. The cast handles the action scenes decently, but again don’t seem to be given opportunities to bring anything special to the story. Ultimately the cast wasn’t given anything solid to work with and this one just feels like a bunch of talented people going through the motions.

This one is filled with all of the visual magic a computer can create. Like a lot of live-action Disney films, this one feels like it was created almost entirely in front of a green screen. This might not have been a problem if the story had been strong. (Films like The Jungle Book (2016) have proven this.) Outside of that, there isn’t anything great or terrible going on in this one. If you’re a fan of the stars you might want to see this film, but I wouldn’t be quick to recommend this one. With the crude humor and weak story, this isn’t quite the family film that the original was. I give this one 1.2 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 119 Minutes

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