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. 

Relevance and Adaptability: The New Normal Mantra

Businesses function as a combination of factors that are complementary to each other. It is no longer wise to be apolitical in business, but overly tying oneself to political issues is also not recommended. Explaining this delicate balance, Brad Staples, CEO—of APCO Worldwide, spoke of how businesses were redefining global priorities, looking to make their future secure. With over 25 years of experience in devising public affairs strategies and campaigns, Mr. Staples dished out his take on how Public Affairs will look in the New Normal.

Public Affairs is a culmination of using communication to address concerns and build trust amongst stakeholders around issues of governmental nature. Public Affairs and Government Relations are gaining extreme attention for various purposes such as seeking government support for the organization and so on, says Mr Staples. This can be due to the current era’s increased disparity and distortion. The world as we know it today has changed drastically in the past few years. A global pandemic, increased polarization over socio-political issues, several of which assumed mainstream focus in recent times— racial bias, mob lynching, boycotts, failing infrastructure, inflation, catastrophic wars, and broadening of the gap between socioeconomic classes of people.

In light of such serious issues at the forefront, as a brand, it is pointless to maintain an apolitical stand. Brands must embrace addressing geopolitical and commerce issues.
A pertinent example of businesses adapting to the new normal would be best explained by the hybrid model of working. The pandemic has effectively shattered trade lines and economic models. And one of the relevant changes experienced was the relationship between the employer and employee. It has undergone a complete transformation— resetting the traditional patterns for hybrid and work-from-home models.

Speaking to Ramya Rajagopalan, Head of Communications & Diversity—Siemens India, Mr. Staples speaks about businesses gearing up to address global macro trends. The Russia-Ukraine war affected business trends and changed the face of a dynamic Europe. In such times, a multistakeholder approach becomes increasingly important, along with politicization. Bonding over their collective fondness for Goan food, Ms. Rajagopalan spoke of culture as an anchor to steady brands in their turbulent times. Brands can only stay afloat if they’re willing to break through conventional norms and bring home an inclusive culture that is both diverse and equitable.

Rounding up the talk, the speakers concluded that the key for brands to truly survive in such unpredictable times was—To Listen. Listening, although underrated, is the ultimate way to become adaptable. Relevance springs from adaptability and helps brands make the journey all the ahead.