By Angela Cai (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia)

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (released 26th of December 2017) is a remake of the original movie Jumanji that was released back in 1995. Even though I haven’t watched the 1995 version I wouldn’t watch it and prefer the newer version better.

Although 2017 Jumanji (Welcome to the Jungle) is PG it is still a great and engaging movie for people around my age. The comedic moments are hilarious and abrupt plus a captivating plot truly adds up to a brilliant movie. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle follows four main characters (Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany) who end up in detention together. While being punished by removing staples from a bunch of old magazines, one of them finds a game console. They also stumble across the game Jumanji. Not long after they have selected their characters they are absorbed by the console in a dust-like form, only to become the characters they chose.

Bethany sure picked the short end of the straw and ended up with a male character by accident (because it was one of the only few left). She becomes a significant character for comedic relief throughout the rest of the movie. I must mention how the director used the method show not tell as a way for the audience to find out more about the game the characters entered. A good example is when Bethany gets swallowed by a human-eating hippo. The hopes of the characters along with the audience drop with horror and shock, only to sigh with relief when she comes back tumbling down from the sky. This is when Spencer (who is now Dr Bravestone) realises that the three stripes tattooed on their arms represent the number of lives they have. Spencer’s theory is confirmed when Bethany looks down and sees that she only has two stripes on her arm now. Another good example is when Bethany does CPR on Alan (a boy who entered the game in 1996 and has been stuck in the game for 20 years) and one of her lives fade away as Alan’s last one started to fade back.

Another part of the movie I really love is the use of technology and common associations to video games. For instance, at least three NPCs are in the game. Spencer explains this when they are in a jeep after an NPC saves them from the hippo that ate Bethany before. Another time was when the NPC was recounting the backstory of the game. As a cut scene begins to play, Spencer says it must be the backstory the NPC is talking about and that all games have them. The NPCs also repeat what they say over and over again just like they would in the games we play now. I find that really cool. Also, each character has their own weaknesses and strengths which come in use or as a disadvantage as the movie progresses. There was this time when Fridge ate a cake and exploded because that was his weakness. He probably should have been more careful instead of trusting Bethany when she said it was just bread.

Each character contributes their own bits of humour that make the movie so much funnier and enjoyable. Fridge’s reactions to everything, especially his now extent knowledge on animals (because his strength or skill is zoology). I would say his punchline is “and how did I know (all) that?”. One of Spencer’s skills is smouldering intensity or something, where he has this serious look on his face or tone to his voice. How his “friends” or companions react to that is just as amusing. Of course, there’s Bethany’s gender swap and how she copes with being a man now. There’s also Martha’s new confidence in herself and badass fighting skills. After all, her strengths are dance fighting, karate, tai chi and aikido.

I give this movie an 8 out of 10. The movie could do with some more complexity and the characters struggling a bit more. I’m not sure why but I feel like their journey to return a jewel to a Jaguar statue was too easy. However, I am happy with everything I just mentioned up above and that how the director arranged for everyone to complete the game with just one life. That signifies the fact that it was a long, perilous road to success. The movie could do with a few more scenes at the end showing the audience how the experiences from the game impacted their future choices and actions. The scenes that were there aren’t enough. On the other hand the characters, plot and graphics are fantastic. The acting is real and the effects help achieve that. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who’s looking for one to watch, and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as I did.

Rating: 4/5

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