Jumanji Making a Comeback


Vivian Ma

Abdullah Ridwan ’18, a fan of original Jumanji stated, “I remember watching the original film as a child, and I thought that it was really amazing, despite it being a bit scary. I’m really looking forward to the sequel coming out, because I loved the first film. Hopefully, it will turn out to be just as great.”

Jumanji’ was a hit film back in the late 1990s, capturing the hearts of young children and adults alike with its eccentric characters and original storyline. It follows the story of Alan Parrish, played by the late Robin Williams, a man trapped in a board game where every move that happens in the game happens in real life. The movie closes off on an ominous note with the game trapped on a beach, waiting to be discovered by yet another curious child.

Following Robin Williams’ death in 2014, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that there would be a modernized sequel to the original film as a way to pay tribute to his work. The standalone sequel ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,’ released on December 20, 2017, stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart. These experienced actors all have major movie blockbusters under their belts, such as ‘Moana,’ ‘School of Rock,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ and ‘Ride Along,’ respectively.

“It’s success wasn’t dependent on the first movie; they took an idea and revamped it to our current age, including modern slang and phrases.”

The film follows four teenagers who get sucked into the video game version of Jumanji and have to navigate their way out by completing the game. On their journey, they have to battle a villain and dangerous animals, while in the body of the character they chose and along the way, they learn how to cooperate and get along. At one point in the film, one of the characters mentions that he has been living in a makeshift treehouse built by Alan Parrish, paying respect to Robin Williams.

The movie features a typical Breakfast Club style cast with students who come from completely different cliques in high school, but makes it more refreshing by putting them into the bodies of different characters. This leads to hilarious dialogue with adults speaking and acting like teenagers, although in a few scenes it shifts from being funny to unnecessarily cheesy.

“The movie was a really good continuation without over utilizing tropes from the previous movie,” Han Bing Hu ’18 said. “It’s success wasn’t dependent on the first movie; they took an idea and revamped it to our current age, including modern slang and phrases.”

With production costs around $100 million, it does not come as a surprise that the CGI effects, set design, and overall editing are all phenomenal. The overhead shots of Jumanji are all breathtakingly beautiful, especially in IMAX and 3D, and the animals come off as dangerous rather than laughable. The only problem are the fight scenes featuring Karen Gillan, which come off as unrealistic because of how obvious it is that she is using wire harnesses and stunt doubles.

Overall the movie serves as both a great throwback for nostalgic adults, as well as a good action comedy film for young children. The cast provides an exceptional performance and the set design and animation are beautifully done. ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ is a solid film that is worth watching, providing hilarity and scenes that can be savored.