Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, 2017
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Nostalgia reboots are a quick-cash go-to for Hollywood. Not that the original 90s Jumanji was monumental, but it sure does have a large following and big enough impact that a decade or so later it would generate such shocking box office numbers, and managed to create and manintain general excitement around the film since before its official release in December, 2017.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is basically The Breakfast Club in boardgame simulation; the movie follows a four teenagers who get swallowed into a real-world game after they mess with an ancient boardgame during detention at school. In the alternate game-world, these teens take over the bodies, duties and abilities of older and totally different versions of themselves; the characters they individually picked to play when they found the boardgame while bored in detention. They're instantly missioned to save Jumanji from a demonic figure who seeks to takeover and rule the ancient and sacred land.
The sentimental value this movie offers is thin but comes appreciated. There is a fifth kid who has been stuck in the game for a very long time- back home his disappearance has worn his family out to the point of hopelessness. Another crucial point is that these kids might never get to go back home if they don't go through all the levels required to complete the mission. They might also actually die in this game if they run out of lives- they get three lives each.
The movie is paper-thin in its story and looses a lot of points with world-building and character development. It had the chance to be as inventive as possible with the game-world setting, but instead we get a plain tropical forest and some bad CGI animals that I guess were meant to add some flare but felt annoyingly out of place. Either than a few dissapointing technicalities, this is a truly enjoyable and engaging movie on the surface once you've adapted to its intentionally lazy writing.
This is a movie that's here for one thing and it's to make the audience bask in nostalgia while giggling their butts off. It refuses to be daring enough to be socially aware, as other recent reboots have done to accomodate the current social climate, as that would be risking alienating some of its core fanbase. It touches on the injustice of objectying women in movies especially, girl-power and hints at a queer storyline, but the movie isn't ballsy enough to expand on any of these.
I don't have much to say about the movie mainly because there's not much to take away from it, but I will say that it is a regret-free watch. It has some genuinely hilarious and heartwarming moments which basically carry the film through, otherwise it would've felt to long to be lenient towards. The filmmakers and crew involved in this truly believed in what they were making and it shows. Another thing that's pretty cool is that the cast truly enjoyed themselves depicting these characters. Sometimes a movie doesn't have to be glorious and outstanding to be enjoyable, sometimes good enough is simply enough.
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