Having transformed itself from a board game into a video game, the inescapable jungle force of Jumanji is back—and this time it’s got the Rock!
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Four troubled teens—Bethany the teen queen, Fridge the school jock, Martha the awkward studious teen, and Spencer, the equally academic gamer—find themselves together in detention.
While cleaning out the school basement, they discover an old video game console. The game is ominous (at least to those of us familiar with the original 1995 film, starring Robin Williams), and soon the four teens find themselves sucked into the game, having transformed into the avatars (or game characters) they had selected.
Fridge is now the small and vulnerable sidekick, Bethany is a middle-aged man (played hilariously by Jack Black), Martha is a scantily clad street fighter, and Spencer is Bravestone (played by Dwayne Johnson, aka the Rock)—the near-indestructible superhuman, with smouldering good looks.
With not only their new circumstances (being stuck inside a jungle video game) but their new identities to deal with, the group find themselves faced with some incredible challenges. They must learn to work together, to use their strengths and overcome their weaknesses, to defeat the game’s bad guy, restore peace to Jumanji, and—most importantly—return home.
I have to say I was sceptical about this one, but was pleasantly surprised. Not only were there many rollicking laughs to be had (plenty from Dwayne Johnson’s portrayal of a weakling trapped in a superhero body), but the action was exciting, the plot moved quickly, and the sentimental storyline (which teaches kids to embrace their differences) was delivered without sinking into too many clichés.
Of course Robin Williams was central to the original film’s success, but I’m confident even he would be satisfied that this new incarnation of Jumanji not only brings it alive for modern audiences, but does so in a quick-witted, action-packed and, ultimately, very entertaining way.
It is aimed at a slightly older audience than the first film, and there are a few adult jokes and scary moments to be aware of, but all in all, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle delivers a welcome return.
If you’re looking to entertain tweens and teens these school holidays—apart from that intergalactic film everyone’s flocking to, you might want to give this one a try!
Director: Jake Kasdan
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart
Runtime: 1hour 59 mins
Release Date: December 26
Reviewer Rating: 4/5
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