Release Date: December 20, 2017
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner, Chris Van Allsburg
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Sean Buxton, Mason Guccione, Marin Hinkle, Tracey Bonner, Najah Jackson, Natasha Charles Parker, Kat Altman, Maribeth Monroe, Missi Pyle, Michael Shacket, Jamie Renell, Marc Evan Jackson, Carlease Burke, Jason New, William Tokarsky, Rohan Chand, Tait Fletcher, Steve Dunlevy, Rob Mars
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 119 minutes
Production Company: Matt Tolmach Productions, Radar Pictures, Seven Bucks Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), Columbia Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Budget: $90,000,000 (estimated)
The original Jumanji (1995) still holds a place in my heart holding up as entertaining. With me not happy at the thought of a reboot, it was refreshing to know Welcome to The Jungle Is more of a loose sequel. This time instead of a board game, the adventure makes its mark in a video game and does so with style. Then with a worthy cast, a fresh script, and fun direction this adventure was a hell of a ride.
Most students in high school have been in detention at least once, and that’s where we met the players. But once this so-called solitary confinement turns into something much more was when all the fun begins. What I liked most about the film was the cast. No one star takes the lead, and the screen time is shared by Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. These four were the perfect team to band together and save Jumanji. If anything else the film is laugh out loud hilarious. The actors/actress are playing both themselves outside of any filmed role, and simultaneously the characters they chose in the game. Seeing all four transition back and forth between personas was a tasteful contrast, that gave fans something familiar while also providing something new. This point is especially strong with Jack Black playing himself as a comedian, and as a teenage girl. The comedy is mature, and lands which could’ve easily missed the ball coming across as scant.
When the cast in the game Jumanji, it’s a game they have to beat too. There are rules to follow, and everyone seems to have a firm grasp on what to do. There a strong team, and put their differences aside for the greater good. As a moviegoer, this is appreciated because the script doesn’t waste time, diving headfirst into the adventure, and the level of common sense used through deductive reasoning, and dialogue drives this point home even harder.
There also a level of stakes within the film, which gives the film gravity. Adding the element that the characters can perish if not successful in their quest which makes the whole experience even more invigorating. I didn’t know how it would end as the film keeps you guessing until the end. And everything in between was just what the doctor ordered.
While the marketing of the film was always satisfactory, I had feared this would be a forgotten movie soon after its release and never thought of it again. I’m glad to say I was wrong, as this a film I would love to add to my collection to watch a numerous amount of times again. I’m interested in the making of this film, and so much more as it stood on its own while still paying respect to the past film. Director Jake Kasdan was no one I ever cared about before, but I can say now that has changed, and he’s the center of my radar.