Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review, Rating, and Audience Response: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. This may seem like I’m repeating a theme, but this is the movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi wanted to be. And for the production cost, should have been. Sorry, but until the foul stench of The Last Jedi (TLJ) wears off, I’ll continue to see it’s miserable failure in every movie I see. So what should the TLJ have been? In summary; a buddy movie about a group of divergent and reluctant adventurers who are thrust into a situation they didn’t want and have to fight seemingly insurmountable odds and magical opposition bent on global domination to free the world (galaxy) all while being pursued by evil henchmen…who die all too easily. Throw in a little choice humor, some cool chase scenes, a hot girl, a fast pace, a zippy story and action-packed ending culminating in the hairs-breadth finish, and you have a winning formula.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review and Rating
Jumanji has all that. Star Wars…didn’t. Most people have seen the original (I, however, did not…though I knew what it was about). This one is different but not drastically so, and with much better CGI (well, it is twenty years newer).
So how does Jumanji fare on the criteria? Four teenagers from different backgrounds and lives are stuck together in detention and happen across the game in video game format. It goes from there, as each teenager occupies a different character in the game. Each character is wildly divergent from their real personas. They are all funny, with the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) being a nerdy Jewish kid, etc. The funniest is the self-absorbed Barbie princess becoming Jack Black. Most of the best comedy in the movie comes from her journey of discovery with…ahem…male parts.
I don’t like Kevin Hart most of the time (too much and he tries too hard) but he’s not bad here. For example, when viewing their character’s list of weaknesses, he goes off on “strength” is a weakness for him. In real life he is a 6’ 3” football player. It’s entertaining.
And of course, Karen Gillam plays the hot girl. She’s a shy dweeb in real life but a super hot action hero in the game.
All of these components and the characters’ chemistry was totally missing in TLJ. Therein lies the Star Wars problem; nobody cares about Poe, Finn, Rey or any of the new characters. They are on screen together but you feel watching the movie they are replaceable and irrelevant. There is a chemistry between the characters in Jumanji. It’s not the greatest chemistry I’ve ever seen but you enjoy watching them, they’re all interesting and you’re interested in their screen time. Especially the hot girl.
This was a great Christmas movie. The theater was packed (it was a 1015 showing) and when I got out the entire cinema was packed with a long line to get in. There were lots of children in the theater and only a few bad words (from Kevin Hart, of course) with nothing too terrible for young ears. There are a few surprises and teenaged girls might like one of them.
All told I would give this a 4 out of 5 but seeing how terrible Star Wars as I’m bumping it up to a 4.5 out of 5. I see nothing in this movie people of all ages wouldn’t like and enjoy.