This Christmas we had a last-minute change up and Felix was with us for the holiday. We spent a few days in Las Vegas, including Christmas Eve, when we decided that we needed to go to a movie. We debated between the latest Star Wars film and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, which won out. We did end up seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a week later and I can't even write a review on it. I fell asleep during several pivotal plot points. I also fell asleep and couldn't review Star Wars: Rogue One. I guess I have a pattern.
PLOT- In the mid-90's, Alex (Nick Jonas), a bored teenager, discovers the Jumanji board game in his home, his father having found it on a beach. When Alex casts it aside, mentioning a disinterest in board games, the game converts itself to a video cartridge. Alex decides to play and is sucked into the game.
Flash-forward to the present day, where Alex's mysterious disappearance and the mark that it has left on his father, have become a town legend. When forced to clean their school basement as a part of detention, a group of high school students discover the Jumanji cartridge. Like Alex, the kids get sucked into the game and they become the avatars that the chose. They quickly realize that they must complete the challenge set forth in the game and stay alive, if they ever want to escape Jumanji.
LIKE- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun ride. It's exiting, funny, and creative. I liked the original, especially because of Robin Williams, but I think this sequel is actually the better movie. We did have a family movie night last summer and watched the original Jumanji, which the kids loved. I think this is why Felix was eager to see the sequel. He's eight and the film is just a touch scary, without being terrifying, and this makes it exciting for kids.
I liked the creativity with the board game shifting to a video game. It's great update. The trailers revealed that the kids became the avatars, with comedic touches like Bethany (Madison Iseman) the popular girl gets turning into the frumpy old-guy avatar, played by Jack Black. The nerdy girl, Martha (Morgan Turner) is turned into the avatar "Ruby Roundhouse" ( Karen Gillian), a super-model looking martial arts expert. Spencer, (Alex Wolff) the nerdy boy, who has a crush on Martha, is transformed into an uber-muscular anthropologist, played by Dwyane Johnson. Spencer's childhood best friend, whom he has grown apart from, is Anthony (Ser'Darius Blaine.) Anthony is a popular athlete and he struggles when he is turned into a zoologist with a weakness for cake, played by Kevin Hart. It's a little on-the-nose that the kids are turned into their polar opposite avatars, but it also works, because we see each of them struggle in their new bodies. I liked touches like having the ancillary game characters, the ones who just repeat a few lines for the purpose of advancing the story and giving the characters information, just like a real video game.
There are some surprises; funny and unexpected moments that were not spoiled in the trailer. There is also a sentimental nod to Robin Williams.
DISLIKE- Nothing. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is just a fun movie. We walked out of the cinema smiling and happy. Sure, this isn't going to be winning awards, but for sheer entertainment, it's a winner.
RECOMMEND- Yes! Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is worth splurging on in the theaters. We watched it in a full theater and the vibe of the crowd made it even better. It's also a great pick for a family day out, I would say older elementary kids and up.