Jumanji Welcome To The Jungle DVD Reviewed By Joseph Hoshino

The Premise
In a brand new Jumanji adventure, four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji - you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they'll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves - or they'll be stuck in the game forever, to be played by others without break.

The Review
Simply put, there are just some movies out there that can never be remade. Rather than starting again from scratch, classic franchises like Jurassic Park and Star Wars have been bringing themselves back to life as of late, with Jumanji (1995) now making its long-awaited return in a new standalone sequel.  

One heavy burden this film seems to carry is the question of how it can excel without the late Robin Williams. What’s respectable is that it pays enough tribute to Williams’ character without utterly relying on nostalgia as the bargaining chip for its audience. Don’t get me wrong, I love nods to past movies in a soft reboot/sequel, but it shouldn’t have to scream “remember this, remember that?” all the time just to be engaging. Rather than being laid on so thick, easter eggs and references in this are placed around more gently as to let it be adventurous in its own right.

Leaving behind the pressure of wanting to shape itself into a number one franchise, this film runs as a quirky survival in the wilderness type of story on a PG rated level, passing for yet another fun blockbuster of the year. There’s plenty of action and laughs to go around and while the jungle/wildlife visuals may seem a tad over-familiar to what’s been done already, at the end of the day it’s the established ideals of the previous film that piece it all together.

Set in a video game world, it speaks up on some home truths about the in-game logic of NPCs and player traits that YouTubers often gag about in so many games today. With all that said, this fits in nicely to the classic style of the 1995 film and still feels very relevant as to keep up with the times. If I’m to put it in any other way, it could perhaps be MILDLY seen in the gaming community as a family film adaptation of a Far Cry game.

Dwayne Johnson never seems to shy away from big budget cinematic action, this time leading the videogame world as the avatar of a typically nerdy schoolboy, bringing much fun to the role in awe over his new-found muscles. As can be expected, Kevin Hart and Jack Black steal the most laughs here, with Black embodying a superficial high school cheerleader.

None of the central cast pose as too serious, serving an easy going ride with the likes of Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Rhys Darby as well as a great pack of younger talent coming from more fresh entertainment backgrounds as the Jumanji gamers in the film’s real world aspect.

The Verdict
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle delivers a whole lot of fun for the holiday season hype as something that’s here for a good time, not a long time.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 18th April 2018
Rating: PG – Contains coarse language & sexual references
Duration: 119 minutes 
Genre:  Action
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart
Director: Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher)

The Extras
In August 2016, Dwayne Johnson confirmed that the film will not be a reboot or a remake, but a sequel to the original film and a tribute to Robin Williams.

The film's African jungle setting was shot in Hawaii.

In the aftermath of Jumanji (1995) actor Robin Williams's suicide, many people spoke out against this film. The crew assured that this film would provide a great tribute to Williams.

Tom Holland was cast as Seaplane McDonough but had to drop out of the film and was replaced with Nick Jonas.

It had been speculated that Karen Gillan's character was either Alan Parish's daughter or a grown up Judy Shepherd (Played in the 1995 film by Kirsten Dunst).

The idea of the main characters getting sucked into the game itself rather than staying in the real world is similar to the Jumanji animated series, which itself was an altered retelling of the first Jumanji movie.

Jumanji (1995) is one of Karen Gillan's favorite films.

Ruby Roundhouse's outfit was influenced by Lara Croft, the main protagonist of the Tomb Raider video games. As an in-joke, Martha comments on how impractical the outfit is to wear in the jungle.

As of April 22, 2016, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) confirmed via Twitter that he will star in this film and that shooting will start in Fall 2016.

The second collaboration between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The first was Central Intelligence (2016).

Karen Gillan posted a photo of herself and her personal trainer Scott Pearlman whom helped her get into shape for the film on her official Instagram account on November 10th, 2016 and thanked Pearlman for whipping her into shape for the movie.

This film is set in the same city (Bratford, New Hampshire) as the first film.