‘Jumanji’ Sequel Succeeds in Creativity and Paying Homage to the Original

By Collin De Lade, Staff Writer

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From left to right: Actors Kevin Hart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black star as the adult avatars in the video game adaptation, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”
Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Twenty years after the original film, the magical board game enters the lives of four teenagers stuck in detention. After coming across an old video game console, the four teens get sucked into the video game version of “Jumanji” as adult avatars where they must survive through the jungle before they run out of lives. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is a perfect example of how to properly make a sequel released decades later – by advancing the story without relying too much on the original material.

The movie stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black star as the adult avatars in the game. All four leads do a fantastic job playing their respective characters that go against their typical stereotypes. All of them get multiple moments to shine and steal each scene; especially Jack Black, who plays a teenage girl who is full of herself. I absolutely loved all four of the leads and their amazing, hysterical chemistry.

This sequel succeeds at standing on its own without connecting back too much to the original. Both fans of the original and newcomers will get sucked into this story. The sequel does pay respect to the late Robin William’s character in a satisfying, yet subtle manner that is important to the overall story.

With a body-switching storyline, this film could have really headed toward a cliché due to the number of family flicks with poor writing and lame humor. Luckily, this is a very funny, exciting and well written action comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I also enjoyed how it’s a very humorous satire on robotic and exaggerated video games tropes.

As much as the majority of the movie is laugh-out-loud funny and action-packed, the movie suffers any time the main characters are not onscreen. Bobby Cannavale plays the underdeveloped, sinister-looking villain that has no purpose but to be the main villain of the movie. Besides having a recognizable face behind it, this is an absolutely forgettable character that should have been written out.

It is necessary to remind parents that this is a PG-13 movie with sexual humor. Some of the humor is really designated toward middle schoolers and up. That being said, there is one running gag involving Jack Black learning about his new body that is laugh-out-loud funny every time.

I had an absolute blast with “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” I found the four leads to be very charismatic and funny. The tone of the film was very exciting and humorous. I loved how nothing about it felt out of place or with a Hollywoodized ending. There was something new to be told with the “Jumanji” brand and this is even more entertaining than the original. I strongly recommend seeing this film during the holiday season.

8.5/10

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