Board games are out and video games are in— and that’s the concept the new “Jumanji” takes into consideration. When four teenagers discover an old game console, they are mysteriously swallowed into the game, becoming avatars in the jungle. Their new characters take over from there, with several well-known comedians playing the roles that keep the quest alive. The kids must work together to finish a task—and only have three lives to do so. If they fail, they will stay in the game forever.
While the movie makes certain references and connections to the original “Jumanji,” it doesn’t overdo it — and perhaps this is a good thing. The movie becomes its own, not a sequel that must live up to the original. It does have one similarity to the original, beyond kids being trapped in a game with someone who has been stuck inside it much longer. The teens end up discovering more about who they are and their inner strengths. While self-empowerment is not the purpose of the movie, it is still a subconsciously satisfying addition nonetheless.
The characters are well-developed and humor is what primarily takes over as the entertainment factor. Each student is a stereotype of the typical high school cliques, and nearly every character end up being a character in the game that is exactly opposite of who they are. While The Rock, Kevin Hart and even Nick Jonas are at their best throughout the movie, Jack Black perhaps gets the most laughs. He portrays the stereotypical “stuck-up beautiful high school girl” but does not overdo the role. The entire movie is full of laughs, and it keeps the audiences engaged.
It is reasonable to acknowledge the setting of the movie as another aspect to appreciate. The movie was primarily filmed in Hawaii, and the beautiful landscape speaks for itself. It provides a colorful backdrop for all the action in the movie—which is a main factor—being that there are many threats within the jungle and the game levels combined.
Whether you are nervous about this movie living up to the first or were not a fan of the original, the movie is still worth a watch. Many who were unsure were pleasantly surprised, and those who were excited ended up content. While it’s no priority, the movie is definitely a must-see at some point.