Film Review: Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle (2017)

Jake Kasdan’s 2017 fantasy action comedyJumanji: Welcome To The Jungle stars Dywane Johson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart. 4 teenagers trapped inside a video game as characters of the game. In the bodies of the avatars, endowed with their respective powers, the group navigates a thrilling adventure through the thick jungles of Jumanji. The actors portray the adult avatars in the movie.

The movie begins in the 90s with a father stumbling upon the eponymous board game—Jumanji on a beach, who then hands the game to his teenage son which miraculously sucks the boy into itself, sending the distraught family into never-ending grief. The decapitated ‘Vreeke’ house earns its unfortunate name—‘Freak House’ in the Brantford neighbourhood.

Four present-day teenagers—Spencer Gilpin (the nerd), Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson (football star, Spencer’s former best friend), Martha Kaply (socially awkward), and Bethany Walker (ditzy, homecoming queen) are sent to detention. As punishment, they must clean the school basement. While begrudgingly removing staples from school magazines, they discover the discarded Jumanji. They are similarly sucked into the game and manifest as their avatars of choice. The lanky Spencer becomes the muscular archaeologist—-Dr.’Smolder Bravestone’ (Johnson), Fridge shrinks into a diminutive zoologist ‘Mouse Finbar’ (Hart), Martha embodies ‘Ruby Roundhouse’ (Gillan), a dance-fighting martial artist, and Bethany, an overweight male cartographer—Prof.’Sheldon ‘Shelly’ Oberon’ (Black). The actors are stuck into the bodies of adult avatars but act like their teenage personalities which often makes for comical and endearing moments throughout the film.

Struggling with their unusual predicament, the explorer group must battle VFX designed-hippos, rhinos, black mambas, and ninja bike-riders traversing the game, capitalising on each others’ strengths. They must also battle the antagonist—’Russell Van Pelt’, Dr. Bravestone’s nemesis, who assumes dominion over Jumanji after extracting the mysterious jewel from the eye of the Jaguar statue.

After initial squabbles and a few games live wasted, they discover that the only way out of the game is to finish it. Helping them achieve a narrow escape from Pelt’s bandits, appears Jefferson ‘Seaplane’ McDonough, (Nick Jonas) who is later revealed to be Alex Vreeke, sucked into the game, twenty years ago. 

Traversing through the lush landscape of Hawaii, we embark on a journey of whimsical fighting styles, pissing matches, a budding romance amongst unexpected circumstances, to finally liberating Jumanji from its tormentor. The protagonists shine playing jungle-roughened explorers as teenagers faced with peer pressure and insecurities. The movie ends with a destroyed Jumanji ending in the dumpster for good. 

Author: Digital Onca

Digital Onca is a blog that documents the concepts of Digital Marketing and Public Relations. Digital Onca is the effort to stay with the times, understand more deeply, more closely the working of a digital space that is steadfastly emerging around us.

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