In a follow-up movie to the 1995 “Jumanji,” the recently released movie under the same name details the story of four high school kids, Spencer, Fridge, Bethany, and Martha, as they attempt to complete the ‘modernized’ version of the game in order to return to their daily lives. The infamous board game from the preceding movie has been adapted into a video game that ‘sucks up’ the players into a virtual setting, trapping them until the game is completed.
“Jumanji” focuses on a group of high schoolers that have nothing in common. Spencer (Alex Wolff) is the stereotypical nerd who has a great deal of interest in video games, which proves useful later in the story. Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) is portrayed as an athletic figure, highly valuing his position on the football team. However, due to a cheating incident, Fridge is kicked off the team and both he and Spencer have to attend detention. Bethany (Madison Iseman), a ‘popular’ girl who is always attached to her phone, is caught calling during class, and is also sent to detention. Lastly, Martha is a socially awkward student who is also sent to detention for refusing to participate in P.E. This group of high schoolers in detention are then tasked to remove staples from old magazines, but come across an old, donated game console. Unbeknownst to them, this console contains the game “Jumanji,” which, just as in the first movie, will transport them into the game itself.
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas, the cast provides an overload of slapstick humor throughout the movie. However, despite the overwhelming presence of comedy, many of the jokes are stale, leaving only the individual personalities of each character to provide entertainment. Furthermore, throughout the movie, the plot is not particularly interesting or captivating, causing Jumanji to, at times, be dry. The only redeeming factor is the great acting by these stars; it saves this movie despite the poor storyline. Compared to the first movie, the 2017 remake is too focused on the visual effects and comedic moments rather than establishing a connection between the characters and audience and providing redeeming qualities which the audience can care about. Instead, we are thrown into a situation with a group of people who we have no reason to care about.
Overall, Jumanji is surface level interesting and entertaining, but has few redeeming characteristics.
PC: Creative Commons