Set a few years after the events of the first film, we open to a scene where the Jumanji board game has been found in the sand and brought home to a console-playing son to try and wean him off the computer. Having non of it, the Jumanji game morphs itself into a console cartridge which the teenage son instantly comprehends and decides to play. Much like in the first film, the teenager is then sucked into the game never to be seen of again. Fast-forward 22 years, and we’re introduced to the main “child” actors; a footballer, a geek, a wannabe Instagram star, and a girl who just doesn’t fit; by means of an after-school detention. Cue the emergence of the games console in a pile of rubbish during a school clear-out, and BOOM! they’re all sucked into the game as the characters they chose.
Within the game, the characters learn that they must save Jumanji from an evil threat, and along the way they also discover they each have skills and abilities – much like in real life – that makes them unique in their own individual way. There are also some cameos from some lesser (and more well-known) faces who come to their aid when they need them.
Ok, so this film is nothing like the original 1995 movie starring the late Robin Williams. It does incorporate a few throwbacks to the original, but in all intents and purposes, this is a film in its own right. Being a big advocate of Dwayne Johnson, and having seen the previous film I was immediately drawn to this movie to see how the directors and script writers had brought it up-to-date, and I’m happy to report that they’ve done a great job!
Films that star Dwayne Johnson usually centre around him, however Jumanji isn’t just “The Rock Show”, and it’s the relationship between the four main “grown-up” actors that actually makes this film worth watching. Kevin Hart plays his usual stereotypical role (like “Central Intelligence”, which coincidentally also includes Johnson), and the play-off between him and Dwayne Johnson is just right. Karen Gillan plays the awkward teenager brilliantly and shows she is not a girl to be messed with by displaying some seriously good martial-arts skills. But personally, it’s Jack Black who steals the show for me, and in places his acting is a bit “too” good (watch the film and you’ll know what I mean!)
Don’t expect an incredible storyline – it is, after all, a film based on a fictional 90’s computer game – but the fact it doesn’t take itself seriously at all keeps it well within the light-hearted genre of action movies that are fit for all the family.
who should watch it?
Those who have seen the first Jumanji film and are interested in the updated version. Alternatively, anyone with a family or if you’ve got a spare couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. It’s completely inoffensive and perfect for the whole family.