Movie Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Synopsis: While serving detention, four teenagers discover a video game and decide to play it. However, the game, Jumanji, is magical and, when they are sucked inside, they must work together if they hope to survive and return home.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas.

Review: It was pretty warm out yesterday and, even though I did manage to get some work done outside (and make an appearance at a graduation party), none of us had a lot of energy by yesterday afternoon. As a result of that, we wound up having a family movie night and picked this movie, which I got on DVD through Netflix.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this film when I first saw previews for it. I didn't hate the original Jumanji, but it also isn't on my list of favorite movies. And, because of that, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this sequel. But, as it turns out, the movie was pretty good.

One thing I found I liked about this movie was the decision to have the board game evolve into a video game and the kids were turned into avatars. This made the movie funnier than I was expecting, both because the avatar characters were nothing like their real-life counterparts.

I also loved how the various characters had a prearranged mix of skills ranging from the flawless Dr. Bravestone (Johnson) to the seemingly useless Mouse Finbar (Hart). Their various weaknesses, which included everything from venom to cake (the latter was awesome) also added a little something as well.

There were a couple things I found I didn't like about this movie. The first is we never are told what would have happened if one or more of the characters would have lost all three of their video game lives. Would they return once the game was defeated? Or, would they remain dead? Not knowing for sure did take away some of the suspense when someone was left with just one life.

I'm also a little confused about how the Jumanji video game ended up in a high school storage room. This would imply the game system has passed through other hands yet, in 20 years, has never been played. It just seems like there is more to the story that is being left out.

Final Opinion: This was a cute movie that had a good mix of comedy and action. I don't know if it was better than the original (as some people have claimed) but it was worth taking the time to watch.

My Grade: A


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