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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: Movie Review

Star Rating
Movie Info
 

RATING:

Rated PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language

GENRES:

Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

RELEASE:

December 20, 2017

STARRING:

Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Alex Wolffe, Rhys Darby

DIRECTOR:

Jake Kasdan

DISTRIBUTOR:

Columbia Pictures

More on this movie at IMDb.com

Disclaimer
CBN is not endorsing the films or TV shows CBN.com reviews. Our goal is to provide information about the latest in entertainment, both the good and the bad, so you may make an informed decision as to what is appropriate for you and your families.
Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

With a nod (a very slight one) to the 1995 cult classic Jumanji, starring the late Robin Williams, comes its sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.  Starring an all-star ensemble cast that includes Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, the franchise reboot yields a high degree of energy while featuring a bounty of humor and lush cinematography.  Certainly entertaining, the movie does come with its fair share of pitfalls, ones that could discourage people of faith.

THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE*

Four very distinct high school kids, each with their own unique set of problems, uncover an old video game console and game cartridge (Jumanji) while serving detention.  When one of them turns it on, it goes haywire, thrusting all four literally into the jungle setting of the game, as each teen becomes the character they chose when starting it up.  Nerdy gamer Spencer (Alex Wolff, Patriot’s Day) becomes a quite muscular Indiana Jones-type hero (Johnson, San Andreas); behemoth football star Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain, Footloose) is reduced to a diminutive zoology expert (Hart, Get Hard), intellectually shallow but popular Bethany morphs into a frumpy, middle aged male professor (Black, Goosebumps), and insecure outcast Martha (Gillan, Guardians of the Galaxy) is transformed into an overtly sexy martial arts warrior.  They determine quickly that the only way they will be able to return to their former selves in suburbia is to survive Jumanji … no easy task.  Poisonous snakes, stampeding elephants, and blood-thirsty villians lurk behind every tree and palm frond.  Along the way, they stumble across pilot Alex Parrish (Nick Jonas, Camp Rock) who has been stuck inside the game for 20 years.  Does the name sound familiar?

THE GOOD AND BAD OF JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle truly excels on multiple levels, most notably for its social commentary on the world in which we live today.  First, for all the intrinsic qualities that board games provide, the original game upon which this movie series is built is quickly cast aside for more modern, contemporary technology.  It is also determined that our devices can also have a negative impact on us.  Students taking phone calls in class or striving to take the perfect “selfie” is actually frowned upon – a positive virtue for sure.

Far from a work of art, the screenplay is clever while director Jake Kasdan’s accelerated pacing of the story go a long way in making the movie an enjoyable experience.  Especially intriguing is the device of working actual game elements into the movie plot via characters, situations, and scenarios.

Laugh out loud funny in several spots; the movie derives much of its humor from each character trying to come to grips with their newfound body types and personality traits.  However, one can’t help but take pause as Black’s character immerses himself in the realization that he has turned from a girl into a middle-aged man.  This situation becomes ripe for sexual innuendo and personal self-discovery related to the male anatomy.

Uproariously amusing, Hart’s comedic delivery makes him the perfect comic foil for Johnson’s adrenaline-fueled hero.  Unfortunately, much of his dialogue is littered with foul language that you wouldn’t want your children uttering to family and friends.

IN THE END

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is truly a mixed bag.  For all the fast moving action and positive messages of being able to turn your weaknesses into strengths, the movie falls too easily into the trap of using bad language and sexual innuendo to generate a laugh.  The movie is certainly entertaining but viewers should use caution before heading out to the theater to see it.

* Portions of movie synopsis courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Star Rating: 
2.5
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