Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the sequel (and it is a sequel) to the original Robin Williams movie from the 90s. I didn’t care much for the original movie but the trailers on this one looked decent so I gave it a chance (and, really, would I miss pretty much anything at this point?)
 
The twist in this version of the movie is that the board game has turned into a video game and sucked the characters into the game instead of releasing wild animals into our world. Four teenagers in detention stumble onto the game, pick a character to play, and are replaced with these avatars in the game world. The nerdy boy becomes Dwayne Johnson, the shy girl becomes Karen Gillan, the tall football star becomes Kevin Hart, and the phone-obsessed pretty girl becomes Jack Black.
 
The four leads are very engaging and most do a good job of playing against type. Dwayne Johnson gets to play nerdy and scared. Special kudos to Jack Black for really selling himself as a 16 year old girl. Credit also to Karen Gillan’s comedic chops as she tries to turn on sex appeal before just roundhousing all the bad guys. The only loose screw is Kevin Hart… he’s funny but he’s playing Kevin Hart, not the slightly reserved football star he’s supposed to be.
 
The shtick of the film is that it uses video game logic but honestly it only goes about half-way with the premise. It’s either written by people who don’t play games or they decided there’s only so explaining they can do for a general audience who might not get the jokes. It does nail a few things like non-player characters repeating the same lines when talked to, extra lives, a few other things.
 
The film did bring the comedy and some decent enough action. I laughed quite a bit at the film… a lot more than I expected. It even gave some pretty good character moments and had them evolve or learn lessons.
 
Overall it was a lot more charming and fun than I expected it to be. It’s enjoyable.
Score: 80

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