Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Movie Review


Justin Kozlowski & Aidan O'Beirne, EMC Staff Writers

Justin’s Score: 9.5/10

“Entertaining and brilliant”

Aidan’s Score: 10/10

“Executed with pristine brilliance”

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%

Metacritic Score: 58%

~Note: No major spoilers for this film. Minor spoilers for Jumanji (1996) in Aidan’s review~

Now onto the reviews…

Justin’s Review: Going into this film, I had incredibly high expectations. There was an incredibly diverse and talented ensemble for the cast, (especially since Jack Black is one of my favorite actors) a big production budget, (around $100 million) and an interesting; modern take on the story of “the mysterious object causing trouble.” Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a reboot of Jumanji with Robin Williams in 1995. Throughout this review, I will make comparisons between the two films to help further enhance important details and parts.

After going into the theater and seeing the film with my co-writer, I am happy to admit that my expectations were met and even exceeded. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts in 1996 with a young man finding the Jumanji board game (and yes, the same Jumanji board game that troubled Robin Williams in the 1995 Jumanji movie) and putting it aside because he gets bored with it after looking at it. The board game, becoming self-aware of the man’s lack of interest, turns into a video game console with a cartridge. Now the young man gets interested and starts playing it. Next thing you know “Jumanji” pops onto the screen with “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns ‘N Roses playing. Then it slowly starts focusing on our main characters. There’s Spencer, the intellectual yet socially awkward guy, his former best friend, Anthony, a phone-obsessed know-it-all, Bethany, and an intelligent yet socially awkward girl, Martha. These characters all meet together when put into detention. Their jobs were to remove staples from discarded magazines but as they are doing this, they see a retro console with the Jumanji cartridge in it. Seeing it as more fun than pulling staples out of papers, they get the game hooked up and press start. This is when the film really begins…

Let me start off by saying the visual effects in this movie are spectacular and this is the kind of movie you would want to see on the biggest screen possible. Aside from visual effects, all of the actors played their roles perfectly in my opinion. What this movie did surprise me with is the sheer amount of humor cram-packed into its plot. There wasn’t a joke that completely fell flat and there were numerous genuinely hilarious moments in it. The reason the humor in this film shocked me so much was because the Jumanji (1995) with Robin Williams was surprisingly not all that funny. Don’t get me wrong, there were some genuinely entertaining moments in it but with a movie having Robin Williams, I was expecting it contain some more humor.

All in all, this was a fantastic movie. It had a refreshing and modern take on the original story and it was executed incredibly. That is why I gave this movie an almost perfect score. When you get a movie that intrigues you, gives you some memorable and funny moments, and never has a dull moment, you know you are in for a truly stunning cinematic experience. This is the kind of movie you would want to see more than once and I found it to be much more enjoyable than the original Jumanji.

Aidan’s Review: I grew up with the original Jumanji. I started watching it when it was still on VHS. Based on a book called Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. The creation of the game is quiet a dark one full of lies, deceit and blood. It all started back in Africa in the 1800’s, where the game was purchased from an African Merchant by British Soldiers to help pass the time when making negotiations. Through a misunderstanding, the peaceful alliance was broken and the tribe turned on the soldiers. However, the soldiers got reinforcements and massacred the tribe. One of the soldiers found the game and as he held it, the tribes’ shaman placed an evil curse on the game on his dying breath. He promised the soldier that no matter where he went, the evil of the darkest jungle would follow him. Years passed and the game arrived in the New World… Which leads us to the first movie.

The 1995 Jumanji movie started in 1869 with two kids burning the game. For 100 years it lay silent in the ground, until it is found by young Alan Parrish. Drawn to the game by it’s sinister drums he uncovers it and later makes the deadly mistake of rolling the dice. He is sucked into the game and he waits there for the next 25 years to escape. Two young kids find the game in Alan’s old house and start playing the game. After a few turns they release Alan and he helps them until the game is finally finished. Along the way they release a hunter called Van Pelt. He is no ordinary hunter for his quarry is with people instead of animals. In the end, the game is defeated and thrown into the ocean until it lands on a beach. 

When I first heard that there was to be a remake of Jumanji, I was skeptical. I thought to myself “Why would a Robin Williams classic need a remake?” Then I saw that my friend was quite interested in seeing it. I invited him to the local movie theater. It was the first time I had been to a movie theater since I was 7 so I was excited. When we got in the theater and took our seats, the movie began. I was happy that it left off where the first one ended. The movie went on and there was a twist I did not expect… instead of the game releasing its creations upon the players, it brought the players to its creations. I was happy that they kept the drums. Personally, there’s no Jumanji without the drums. I was a little confused on how they changed Van Pelt however. He first started out as a hunter than they took him down to a mercenary. To me that seems a step down on the deadly scale. But he still made a good antagonist. In the end I found Jumanji a ten out of ten on my movie scale but it will never be as good as the original. Now to the readers… There is only question that remains… Do you seek to find a way to leave your world behind?