As tropical as it sounds, Jumanji is a fun family adventure film, with a simplistic plot and outright brilliant CGI. Set in modern day, and a sort of reboot to the 1995 predecessor, Jumanji has all the ingredients for a good film, but what was lacking in the final bake?
Firstly, although not original to this film, the plot is lighthearted and adventurous, literally. Who hasn’t thought of stepping into a virtual world, or a book? However Jumanji is not a world you want to partake in. The ultimate goal for our characters is to get the jewel of Jumanji back into the jaguar statue (and call out its name some ten times or something?) In which case, they can return home to suburban America.
The film stars two sets of ‘stars’, the kids that enter Jumanji and the adults that portray them, as their game star characters. Here’s a way that might explain that better:
Alex Wolf – Dwayne Johnson (Spencer)
Madison Iseman – Jack Black (Bethany)
Morgan Turner – Karen Gillan (Martha)
Ser’Daruis Blain – Kevin Heart (Fridge)
Confused? Yeah so am I writing this, there are also their game names which honestly you’ll pick up when watching it. Firstly, the older cast works so well with each other, there is clear on screen chemistry between them all, but that doesn’t so much help the younger cast, who just seem awkward and unfitting. This is great at the start because they are not meant to be friends, but by the end when they have realized ‘the true value of friendship’ it still appears that way. The ending see’s Bethany (the popular it girl) tell her friends that she wants to go exploring during summer, and two other the other character’s Martha and Spencer realized they’ve loved each other for years despite never actually talking to one another. This may be me being picky, but this seemed like easy plot exists for them, it seemed basic and almost like they were trying to squeeze every last drop of Hollywood traits from this script. Why couldn’t these four new ‘friends’ simply sit at a lunch table together or go for a picnic? (Picnic might have been worse thinking about it)
While the ending was disappointing, the older cast members were fantastic. Jack Black stole the show, he played Bethany so well. Karen Gillan was a total bad ass (like always) and Dwayne Jonson and Kevin Heart were like Ron and Harry, and Hogwarts was Hawaii. I won’t forget to mention Nick Jonas, who’s plot line was so predictable, after a boy was mentioned missing at the start and we see him disappear into the depths of the TV, it was so obvious that when he turned up in the game, that he’d be the one that vanished 20 years ago. I knew it was coming and that’s what I didn’t like, you need some predictability in a film, but when you can kinda guess the next ten minutes, it’s not ideal.
What I really liked about this film was the set design and the imagination behind it all. The shooting location of Hawaii is beautiful on it’s own accord (think Jurassic Park) but on top of this fantastic setting was game like CGI to allow the audience to feel as if they are placed in the game with the characters. Each character had three lives, when a bar went it meant that they were close to dying, but no one got that close. The only event was when Nick Jonas has is last bar slowly vanish until Jack Black gave him mouth to mouth and it was restored by taking one of his. It was all so rushed and not really explained, it was clever, but could have been retold better.
To conclude, definitely watch this film, it’s an easy light-hearted watch. The script is painful at times, and at others its downright hilarious, and with a squeal on the way later this year, it’s one to look out for.
Production Budget: $150m
Box Office: $962M