Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin hart, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Rhys Darby, Ser'Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Marc Evan Jackson, Missi Pyle, Bobby Cannavale.
Director: Jake Kasdan
Screenplay: Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, & Scott Rosenberg.
What a fun and enjoyable family feature, I honestly thought we forgot how to make these. With no expectations going in, I came out with a massive smile on my face. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) is well plotted, funny, exciting, with the best cast they could have asked for who really gave it all they could. A touching tribute to the original while actually bringing originality to the screen which I thought would have been impossible.
We meet our film in 1996 where Jumanji has to keep up with the times. The game is washed ashore for its innocent to find and morphs itself into a video game card to pull its victim in. Jump to 2016 and we meet our heroes, Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and Martha (Morgan Turner). Before even the good ol' Jumanji fun starts we are introduced to some quite entertaining characters which though sterotypical teenage kids have a bit of depth and backstory to make them appealing. Once they morph into our Jumanji heroes, Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwyane Johnson), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), and Prof. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) we still feel the connection to the their teenage forms.
This is not a complicated film, but it delivers perfectly on what it sets out to; make a video game movie and make it well. The structure is clean, the mission simple and the characters bringing individual strengths and weaknesses to complete the mission. The trajectory of the plot makes it more appealing than the original due to the general fact that it doesn't have to exist within our real world reality.
I had fun because the rules of the film let me. The action scenes didn't feel convoluted, the character development while light still felt meaningful and the characters were just fun people to follow. I am not afraid to admit that my instant rejection of this film was invalid as it had the originality and authenticity to stand on its own two feet.