When Sony Pictures announced a Jumanji sequel / reboot, many people were outraged that the studio would ruin a classic from our childhood starring the late Robin Williams. Fear and revolt were general, after all, new versions of old films almost always destroy the good memories left by the original material.
Luckily, we were mistaken: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ’is a delicious adventure with Afternoon Session touches that lives up to the original movie, watch now the movie if you don't believe us.
In the story, which serves as a slight "sequel" to the original, a father finds the Jumanji board on the beach and presents it to his son. The game soon turns into one of those gaming tapes like those on the Mega Drive console (who lived in the 80's and 90's will understand).
When four young people wind up in an old house, they discover the old video game player and are immediately catapulted into the game's jungle setting and occupying the body of their chosen avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan. What they find out is that they won't just play Jumanji - Jumanji plays with them. The four will have to survive the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they will be trapped in the game forever…
The idea of turning the board game into a video game is brilliant, after all, young people today have no patience for board games like "War" and "Game of Life", right?
But the main hit of the movie is without its cast: both young people and their avatars are sensational.
Who steals the scene is Jack Black, who plays the avatar of patrician Bethany (Madison Iseman). Seeing the actor behaving like a spoiled teenager is one of the best jokes in the movie, and despite being repeated over and over - the joke never tires.
Dwayne Johnson, as usual, is sensational as the sensational Steamy protagonist Dr. Bravestone, a muscle-bound hero with a thick, sensual voice. He is Spencer's avatar, lived by the average Alex Wolff ('Paper Cities') - who delivers a decent performance here.
The cast also features Karen Gillan - who delivers one of the funniest scenes in the movie; Rhys Darby - half faded out of so many stars; and Nick Jonas - who despite having a short cameo shows great timing for acting.
Jake Kasdan of the comedy "Sex Tape - Lost in the Cloud" and "Classless Teacher" manages to match action and humor scenes just right, delivering a light film with a beautiful message in its scope.
Despite having some original 'Jumanji' easter eggs and returning to the same 'spirit' of the 1995 movie, 'Welcome to the Jungle' delivers an original adventure that can break new ground, as well as the title game.
It's fun, full of action and adventure. Robin Williams would probably be proud.
On the other hand, the missions, which follow a basic video game line, are not very well constructed, the jokes, which work better than expected, only find more considerable fatigue in the figure of Kevin Hart, not unlike what the actor usually is in his other roles.
Ultimately, Jumanji's sequel is, above all, a pleasant surprise, extremely entertaining, with a wit that goes back to both the original movie and the modern video games, watch it now to see for yourself. With good action scenes managed by director Jake Kasdan, Welcome to the Jungle is guaranteed fun. Need to have the name Jumanji and get hold of a brand known? No. It could be, for example, like Zathura, adaptation of a book by the same author of Jumanji, Chris Van Allsburg. The special effects, not as sensational as they could be, at least are not the only pretext for the existence of this production, which, for those interested in escapist fun without much pretense, will surely be a treat.