I’ve seen the original movie once or twice as a kid but don’t recall it well enough to do a comparison.
I do love the update of Junmanji adapting itself to a video game over a board game (but I do know lots of kids who still play board games). It’s funny that they made up a game council to play jumanji on rather than take one of the popular councils and play Jumanji on that. Must have not been able to clear rights or something.
Anyway, this was the second time Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart teamed up in a movie together. The first being Central Intelligence, though you can’t go wrong with a little Hart and one big Johnson, Welcome to the Jungle was a better film than Central Intelligence, even without Hart and Johnson’s help from some star power like Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas.
So just like with the original film a few kids find some old game and begin to play it, only to get sucked into the game they are playing. Keeping with the video game tone the kids become the avatars they select. So this kid name Spencer, who in real life is a little nerd, gets to become The Rock, who plays Dr. Smolder Bravestone, not much of a doctor of anything but he’s got strength, speed, and no weaknesses, so like I said, he becomes the Rock, and what kid does not want to become the Rock, right? (hell I’m a grown man and I want to become The Rock)
Not all the other kids are as lucky with the avatars they randomly selected. 6 feet tall high school football star, becomes 5’3″ Kevin Hart, who plays Moose Finbar, and acts as Bravestone’s weapons holder. Not that being Kevin Hart, who is funny and rich would not be cool, but not really something I’ve dreamed about, but it could be worse, you could be Bethany, a shallow teenage girl who picks the avatar Shelly Oberon, who happens to be a fat middle age man. Some of the best laughs of the movie do come from Black playing a girl discovering the advantages and disadvantages of being a dude.
Then we have Karen Gillan, as the avatar Ruby Roundhouse, a total jab at the female stereotypes in video games, a hot chick who can kick ass but is not wearing enough clothing, which makes the user Martha uncomfortable. The movie does seem a lot more about what it would be like to truly live out the game as the characters treat each adventure like a level in the video game and have to overcome these adventures without loosing the three lives they are given.
It does not make for much character development though. Each person comes into the game with with certain issues that seem to be what the film was going to focus on, but the whole thing went by too fast to be of any substance.
This new Jumanji works on the pure star power it has as we watch The Rock, Kevin Hart and Jack Black interact with each other as they play the game. It’s worth it for that and that alone.