We love watching Kids special movies and share our genuine and unbiased reviews for the same. Jumanji, however is not “kids only” film, young adults and even adults and elder will find it enjoyable. Most of us very well know the fact that the source of the story of Jumanji is a picture book of the same name by writer and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg. The book was published in 1981. The book was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1995 starring Robbin Williams amongst others.
As Robin and Chris both stated “Jumanji” is a word in Zulu language and it means “many effects”. In the graphic book and the movie both, Jumanji is a magical game setup in a Jungle. Despite it being a game, the dangers of the same applies to the player in realistic manner and he/she need to overcome them to come back to his/her normal life.
|Movie||:||Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle|
|Produced by||:||Matt Tolmach, William Teitler|
|Screenplay by||:||Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner|
|Based on||:||Jumanji (picture book) by Chris Van Allsburg|
|Music By||:||Henry Jackman|
|Editors||:||Mark Helfrich, Steve Edwards|
|Production Company||:||Columbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach Productions, Radar Pictures, Seven Bucks Productions|
|Distributed By||:||Sony Pictures Entertainment|
5 December 2017 (Grand Rex),
20 December 2017
Dwayne Johnson (Dr. Smolder Bravestone, an archaeologist and explorer who is Spencer’s avatar), Jack Black (Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist and paleontologist who is Bethany’s avatar), Kevin Hart (Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a short zoologist and weapons specialist who is Fridge’s avatar), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse, a commando, martial artist, and dance fighter who is Martha’s avatar), Nick Jonas (Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, Alex Vreeke’s avatar), Bobby Cannavale (Russel Van Pelt, a corrupt explorer seeking to control the “Jaguar’s Eye”, whose power he is demonically possessed by), Rhys Darby (Nigel Billingsley, an NPC guide in the game), William Tokarsky (Bread/Cake Vendor, an NPC food trader), Rohan Chand (Boy at Bazaar, a young NPC guide),
Alex Wolff (Spencer Gilpin), Madison Iseman (Bethany Walker), Ser’Darius Blain (Anthony “Fridge” Johnson), Morgan Turner (Martha Kaply), Mason Guccione (Alex Vreeke), Colin Hanks (Adult Alex Vreeke), Marc Evan Jackson (Principal Bentley), Sean Buxton (Alex’s Father / Jogger), Tim Matheson (Older Alex’s Father – Old Man Vreeke, uncredited), Maribeth Monroe (Teacher), Missi Pyle (Coach Webb),
The story kept fascinating the makers though it is already adapted in 1995 as a Hollywood movie, Chris McKenna came up with a story which then was written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner as a film script. The script is adapted in a movie named Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The movie is standalone sequel to the previous film starring Robin Williams and sets the story from 20 years where the first film ends. To pay a tribute to Robin Williams, a character is named after him.
Directed by Jake Kasdan, this film can be considered as action comedy adventure drama, and though primarily aimed for kids as audience, the movie is enjoyable by viewers from all age group.
Let us take a bird’s eye view to the plot of the movie.
In 1996, a young boy named Alex who was fond of playing video games was gifted with a board game by his father who found it on a beach. Alex found it quite unattractive and refused to play it. The game then mysteriously converted itself into a video game and eventually Alex was teleported to the same. He was then not heard of since then.
Roughly after 20 years of that incident, in 2016 four students in a high school are placed into detention together. They need to cleanup and set the things properly in the school library. While doing the work, they were eventually attracted to the same game of Jumanji. When they started playing game, each of them choose the character they wanted to play and with a bang they all are sucked into the virtual world of the game.
The world of Jumanji is a dangerous jungle filled in with deadly creatures. A diamond setup in the Jaguar’s eye was withdrawn by Russel Van Pelt who can now control actions of the animals from the jungle. The players of the game will be given the diamond and their job will be preventing Van Pelt to re-capture it from them. And, they need to safely place the diamond in the “jaguar’s eye” and speak “Jumanji” to end the game and come back to the reality.
There is a twist. All 4 students who are thrown into the world of Jumanji are not themselves, but they are converted into the characters they’ve chosen!
Spencer Gilpin (a nerdy gamer) is now Dr. Smolder Bravestone, an explorer and an archaeologist. His strengths are stamina, courage, reflexes, climbing, smouldering intensity, and boomerang throwing. He apparently has no weaknesses. He is the archetypically masculine, intelligent, and courageous video game hero of the story.
Bethany Walker (a pretty young girl who is selfie obsessed) is now Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist and paleontologist. The main change is her gender is male now! Though Oberon’s strengths are his fields of expertise, because of his obesity, his endurance is his weakness.
Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (a football player who became a jock and struggling at other ends also) is now Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, a short zoologist and weapons specialist. His weaknesses are cake, strength, and speed.
Martha Kaply (a teenage girl who is introvert) is now Ruby Roundhouse, a commando, martial artist, and dance fighter. Roundhouse is proficient in karate, tai chi, jujutsu and capoeira, and her only weakness is venom, such as that found in various animals in the game.
Alex Vreeke (a teenage boy who played, and was trapped inside the game for 20 years) is now Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, a mysterious guide, adventurer, and pilot in the game. McDonough’s strengths are piloting and making margaritas. His only weakness is mosquito bites, which is bad for him since the jungle is teeming with mosquitoes. It is worth to note that this role is previously portrayed by Robin Williams and Adam Hann-Byrd in the 1995 film Jumanji.
You can guess that as the film moves ahead the game gets challenging and the team will eventually do what it needs to, to solve the game. But, will they be able to complete the game or they will be trapped into the game like Alex? You need to watch the film to know the answer.
The movie has been made by keeping many targets in front, including the box office. And they have added almost all ingredients, which can be added in this kind of movie, to achieve the goal. And we can say, more or less, they are successful in achieving the target.
The script is updated to the taste of current generation and the kids and young adults will like it for the same, there are no two thoughts on that.
The dialogs of the movie are simply superb. Of course, there are no philosophical monologues or heavy teaching here. The punchlines in this film will make you remember Arnold Schwarzenegger films. Small and witty dialogs are the backbone of Jumanji.
The way the movie teaches (indirectly) the kids and young adults to not to get lost in the virtual world of mobile phones is simply superb. I like the dialog which tells something like “Since when the phones became smart?”. There are a few satirical punches which should not be missed. And, at the end of the movie you see the persona changing in the “phone obsessed” character, and it is a positive change. So, yes, the movie is really good if you don’t miss the hidden message it gives you.
The movie also talks about the mortality (we, in real, get a single life for each one, and that’s why it is not a game, and should not be lived like the same), team work, finding inner abilities, fight your own demons and weaknesses,… Many such messages are there which you will surely consider as takeaways from the film.
The initial part of the movie, which shows arrogant students, not paying attention in class, busy with smart phones and video games (the virtual things) shows the imperfections the young adults are living through. It is not the fault of the education system but it is our overall social responsibility to make the ideal environment for eduction available in school. Some countries went far in the material world and the mindset of people living there adapted it, making them think, material happiness is the only way of living a joyous life. Don’t we human beings need to use our brain more than the other organs as it is something unique we have?
Based on the story it explores, in addition to comparatively tight script, this movie require to have a good quality of special effects. The jungle and the virtual gaming world cannot be explored convincingly otherwise. And, we are glad to find this is taken care of. Yes, the movie has the special effects which are splendid. I’ve enjoyed the movie in 3D and it is one of the most convincing 3D adaptations I’ve seen so far.
The makers played a master stroke by choosing right actors for the right characters. While Dwayne Johnson is the most popular among them, all of the others do justice to their roles. Just naming a single actor will be unjust to the others. It is a team work and it is a convincing team work. The chemistry between the cast is visible on screen and we are sure that they had fun while shooting. I must mention that if the antagonist is not convincing, the half effect of the movie could be evaporated. Bobby Cannavale is effective as Van Pelt.
The locations are chosen nicely. Of course, there is a huge amount of VFX here, but some locales and sets are still needed. And they are chosen wisely. The wardrobe is effective too. The background music serves as a positive attribute of the film.
There are a few scenes I would like to mention as stand-out ones, but, to avoid spoilers, I need to control that desire :).
Overall a nice film for kids and young adults which elders can enjoy as well, only, if you watch it a movie and don’t try to find logic in each action. The virtual world is created effectively and the movies bring in some hidden messages as well. It also shows some wrong sides of the culture where people are growing up and also guides towards the right path at an extent.
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.
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