Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)


Okay, so full disclosure, when they announced this, I was fine because they never said “remake”, I always assumed it was going to be a sequel regardless. The people who were upset, I was mostly like “chill, it’s a sequel, it’s probably harmless” and it was, and I had a lot of fun watching it. I’m late, but I very much enjoyed this movie. Onwards to the review!
Mild spoilers ahead, but I’m sure you’ve seen the movie already.
Summary: Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game.
Cast and Characters. Okay, we have our young versions which are the kids who get sucked into the story. I’m going to include them with their avatars as it just seems right.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Smolder Bravestone. He is the leader of the team, kind of like Indiana Jones. He’s an archaeologist and explorer who is just an epic brave, person. Being that he is being controlled by a 16-year- old nerdy and neurotic kid, he maintains those personality traits as well. We’re so used to seeing Dwayne Johnson play macho characters who are so sure about themselves, but in this, he’s saving the world, but he’s freaked out, or worried about how he’s going to do it. It’s great and great comedy. To be honest, we learn things about the character and the cool things he can do, his strengths and what not, but he’s an avatar so it really just comes down to the performance which is great because he’s so funny. The way he allows his voice to crack when he’s scared, it’s some great stuff.
    • Alex Wolff as Spencer Gilpin. He is a nerdy gamer at Brantford High School. He is afraid of EVERYTHING. His mother does not help with that either. He has anxiety and being Dr. Bravestone helps him overcome those problems. From what we see of Alex Wolff, he’s fine in the role he has to play before and after the game, though I do think it’s clear at the end, that he’s bit more confident and probably in ways, still the leader of the new group of friends.
  • Jack Black as Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon. He is a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist, and paleontologist, making him probably the smartest in the group. But what’s great, is that Bethany is the gamer, so Jack Black playing a 16-year-old girl made for great comedy and Jack Black was great at doing it. Almost a little too great but I expect nothing less lol. His dialogue is funny but the way he delivers the lines, perfection.
    • Madison Iseman as Bethany Walker. She is a pretty, popular, self-centered teenage girl at Brantford High School. There’s not much more to say than that lol. She isn’t really mean or anything, but she’s just into herself and doesn’t really realize that there are other people around her as well.
  • Kevin Hart as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar. He is a zoologist and weapons specialist, and ultimately Bravestone’s sidekick hehe. Obviously, Fridge isn’t happy that he is a small, petit avatar, or that he has a lot of weaknesses and not a lot of strengths, so throughout the movie, we see him being a bit antagonistic. But when push comes, he does what he needs to do, like with the snake and the plan at the climax of the film. Kevin Hart is great in this film. Sometimes I find him small, very yelly and not funny but I think this was a great part for him. He got to have some great physical comedic moments, as well as great lines. I wonder how much he ad-libbed but his chemistry with Dwayne Johnson, and they’re the ones with the most “connection” before the game, is great.
    • Ser’Darius Blain as Anthony “Fridge” Johnson. He is a Brantford High School football jock, who cares way more about football and doing other things than his grades. He and Spencer were friends back in the day, but as they got older, they went in different directions and he’s kind of a jerk to Spencer. He gets put into detention because he had Spencer write a paper for him to pass a class to stay on the team. Which is obvious he doesn’t pay attention because he thought it said “Moose”, but the name is indeed “Mouse” lol.
  • Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse. She is like Lara Croft, a martial artist, and dance fighter. I think it’s pretty great because Martha isn’t anything like how Ruby might be in a game like this, but Karen Gillan gets to really play up that awkwardness. It’s obvious that she can do some cool physical stuff, with how she runs or how she can randomly do something cool, but Martha isn’t like that, so she keeps trying to cover up her exposed skin because, I mean why would she be wearing that kind of outfit in the jungle lol. I knew Karen Gillan was funny because I liked that short lived show Selfie she was in, and she’s pretty funny sometimes as Nebula, and she was funny here as well. I have to say, watching her kick butt, was AWESOME, especially her dance fighting.
    • Morgan Turner as Martha Kaply. She is a shy and cynical intellectual at Brantford High School who believes that physical education is needless and dislikes popular peers like Bethany and Fridge. Martha is a loner and she doesn’t really want to play at first, but after encouragement from the others gets into it. She definitely becomes more confident as she plays the game, and by time we get to the end, there is a little change in her.
  • Nick Jonas as Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. He is a young aircraft pilot, who has been playable in the game for 20 years. His weakness is mosquitos, which is pretty funny considering he’s in a jungle. He’s been on his own without his team, so he’s pretty much failed at getting past a certain point, but thanks to the others arrival, they are finally able to move forward in the game. I’ve always liked Nick Jonas and I think he was great in his role. This young, kind of earnest pilot, but who is also playing a teenage gamer from the 90s, with his lingo and swagger, was cute.
    • Mason Guccione as Alex Vreeke. We meet him at the beginning of the film, after his father brings him the Jumanji board game. He is turned off by it but the game turns itself into a game cartridge which entices him to play. He gets trapped in the game for 20 years and thinks he’s been in the game for a few months. It’s kind of sad when he finds that it’s been a way longer time.
    • Colin Hanks plays the adult Alex when he appears 20 years later.
The Action. Set in the jungle and it’s a video game, there’s a lot of action going on. All of the fight scenes are choreographed well. The part in the bazaar, where Bravestone fights the bad guys, he’s basically calling out all of his moves, just like Spencer did at the beginning while playing a video game, but that didn’t make it any less cool to see if happen. Karen Gillan’s fight scene at the Transportation hanger was already choreographed really well, at first, she’s dancing with the guys, as one of her specialties is “dance fighting” but when the actual fighting happens, I was like “Yasss kick butt!!”
A Fun Adventure. If anything, the movie is just a fun adventure. I think all of the characters are likable and you want to see them succeed in the game, but you probably also want to see them lose lives as well, just to see what outrageous ways they can die in the game. But it’s just fun. The hippo scene, the snake scene, helicopter scene and the entire climax is a lot of fun. This movie knows exactly what it is and it just enjoys itself doing just that, being a fun, silly, action/adventure movie.
Core Story. While I don’t think the movie is trying to be that serious, the core message is teamwork and to basically get over yourself lol. Everyone basically starts off with some kind of chip on their shoulder, or something they’re dealing with, no matter how self-absorbed it might be (Bethany lol) but they have to learn to work together. Poor Alex has been stuck for 20 years because he didn’t have a team, and even though he doesn’t know them, and they don’t know him, they have to trust each other. That’s a pretty good for them to learn while playing this game. It’s pretty fundamental.
Really funny. I laughed quite a bit through the movie. Everyone has their moments, I don’t think anyone overdoes anything, no one is annoying, no one is trying to hard, it works for their characters and they all work well together and their comedic timing works. The fact that Dwayne Johnson is playing a 16-year-old, awkward teenager in a giant man’s body, or that Kevin Hart is playing a 6’1 athlete who is upset that he is “missing the top two feet of his body”, or Jack Black who is great at playing a self-absorbed teenage girl, and Karen Gillan playing a socially awkward girl who now is wearing showy clothes and is a badass lol. It all just works.
The Villains. There’s this whole story with Bobby Canavale’s character being a friend of Dr. Bravestone and he turned of them, or something, but let’s be real, who cares? He’s just a game antagonist and I just want to watch the team make it through the jungle with their shenanigans. I mean, yeah, he can control the animals because of something he does with the green jewel, but I mean, I just think he didn’t really have to be there. The jewel could have just been missing in general.
CGI Issues. It wasn’t all bad, but it was mostly like the elephants and jaguars that looked pretty bad. Plus, it looked really dark in the climax, I don’t know if it was just my tv or not, I don’t know, but it was dark, and the jaguars didn’t look good running through the forest and I was like just meh.
Overall, I quite liked Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, there is a lot about it to enjoy and to like. I didn’t expect a lot, but I didn’t think it was going to be terrible or anything, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the movie and liked it the entire way through. All of the characters are likable, all of the actors do a great job, they are clearly having fun and it shows. Their comedic timing and chemistry with each other worked really well on screen. The action was well choreographed, and the adventure was fun to watch, and I’d actually play this game if it was a real game (I don’t want to be an avatar though, like in real life lol). I think the villains were pretty useless and sometimes the CGI wasn’t very good or at least consistent with other parts of the movie, but overall, I had fun. Great fun!
Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars. 
Have you seen Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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