Move Review: Jumanji -- Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji movie poster

3.75 stars out of 5 stars
"Jumanji -- Welcome to the Jungle"

(Light Spoiler Warning)

By Kenzie Scudder

Eagle’s Eye Online

When I first saw the ads and promotions for “Jumanji- Welcome to the Jungle” I had the concern that I imagine was shared by many of Robin Williams’ fans. Will it try to live up to the one with Robin Williams? If it does try, will it succeed?

Thankfully, the writers, director, and actors made the movie their own. There’s no need for it to try to live up to the last one because it could stand alone and be just fine. The storyline is completely different, with just a few references to the one that created this world. The actors in this new one are funny in their own ways and don’t try to be Robin Williams, the comedian loved by children and adults alike who died August 11, 2014.

In fact, this has a few of the big name comedy actors/ comedians of the mid to late 2010’s, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart, and they all add something different.

The main plot is the same. In the opening scene, a box is found that says “Jumanji”. The first one is set in 1995 and “Jumanji” is a complex board game that brings animals from the game’s world to reality when it is played.

In this one, though, the teen who finds it a year later, Alex, discards it, claiming no one plays board games anymore. In the middle of the night the board game transforms itself into a video game in a flash of light. As Alex begins to play and picks a character for the game, there is another flash of light and Alex disappears into the game, reversing the effects of the first movie. The movie then jumps 20 years into the future as four teens find the old console and the game lying next to it, and that is where the bulk of the movie begins.    

Spencer, the main character throughout who is considered nerdy and weak and portrayed by Alex Wolff, becomes a brave and strong man (“The Rock”) and as the game describes as having no flaws or weaknesses. His strong and tall friend switches places with him, and Kevin Hart portrays him in this role.  

There are also two girls to start out with, Martha and Bethany. Spencer has a crush on Martha. She is also considered nerdy and uptight. She picks a character known as “Man Slayer”. She turns into the character in a skimpy outfit and has skills that include charming men, distracting them, and “dance” fighting. Bethany, in their everyday life, is more like that, preppy and dresses to impress. She chooses a character described as a “curvy” scientist. This turns out to be portrayed by no other than Jack Black.

The directors include humor based on the physical attributes, such as The Rock staring off into the distance seriously (smouldering) and Kevin Hart’s shorter than average height (the average being 5’10” and Hart being 5’4”). "The Rock" smoulders

With all these strong personality and physical traits, chaos naturally ensues. Although it is lighthearted and I believe funny for both men and women, I would not take young children to this movie. This was proven as when I went to see Jumanji, a scene where one of the characters is suddenly attacked by something and afterwards the audience just heard a tiny voice say, “That was scary.” I can’t imagine how much of the movie she didn’t understand or that affected her. It was funny at the time but looking back, that little girl should not have been there. I would say anyone under 15 or 16 should not be going without a parent. Accompanied by parents, only children 12 and up would truly enjoy the movie for what it is and is appropriate for.

That being said, those of that age and up, in my experience, were in stitches at some of the parts in this movie. For example, Bethany learning what it’s like to be, as she considers, “an overweight, middle-aged man,” and the attraction she has to Alex while still in that role. He has been trapped in the game for 20 years and everyone knows about him. He is portrayed by Nick Jonas and Bethany is very attracted to him, as viewers will see in this film.

Overall, I think this movie is a fun time, will draw some laughs out of you, and perhaps bring some feelings out of being a teenager, young and awkward love, and friendship, if you’re at the age where you will get it. It’s not perfect, as there are some unnecessary circumstances that happen like just how little clothing the game character Martha turns into. Though, few movies are perfect, if any.

Out of 5 stars, I would give it somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. It will leave theaters soon, but if you have a chance to go see a movie I would recommend this one. If you don’t have a chance to see the movie before it leaves theaters, I would still recommend perhaps renting it, making some popcorn, and watching it in the comfort of your own home.