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Movie Reviews

Posted at: Dec 29, 2017, 6:51 PM; last updated: Dec 29, 2017, 6:51 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Childish thrills


Film: Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle

  • Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas
  • Director: Jonathan Liebesman, Jake Kasdan
Childish thrills
A still from Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle

A reimagining of Chris Van Allsburg's 1981 children's book Jumanji, this film directed and written (along with four co-writers)by Jake Kasdan is structured to appeal to kids and it has the same ideology that the 1995 Robin Williams film showcased. The book's magic-board-game conceit has been replaced by video games though and the teen heroes transform into adult avatars- a body-swap adventure, silly enough to make it seem inconsequential. The film has a fair bit of action and a wee bit of humour but it’s not an experience that sustains. The gamey structure is an obvious thrill killer so it’s only the increasing degrees of difficulty within the gamey dimension that makes for some pastiche moments. 

Four high-school archetypes- a self-obsessed hottie; a football jock; a nerdy video-game enthusiast, and an anti-social bookworm are in detention when they come across the box that transforms them into adults in a jungle and expects them to play their way out of it while combating a villain (Bobby Cannavale) with his motorcycle-riding henchman and all manner of fearsome jungle mammals that stand in the way.

But more than the gamey structure, the thin humour or wafer like script what intrigues you here is the fairly likeable casting and gender and ego bending twists. Insecurities become strengths and old strengths become weaknesses thus making the foursome realign their thinking about themselves in order to make a secure getaway. There’s hardly any dialogue and the little of it is more of a connect-the-dots variety. The 3D effects don’t add value to the entertainment either. So what you get is the playing of an antiquated game that ran out of steam some 20 odd years ago. Would kids or adults be interested in that? 


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