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Review: Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

Who would have thought that a board game would ever appear so terrifying?

The 1995 original film Jumanji, starring the late Robin Williams and a younger Kirsten Dunst, certainly proved that a simple board game may not just be so innocent.

Two decades later, what once was a breakthrough film about a board game gone wrong has since been revamped into a technologically advanced, out of this world sequel film with a fresh new lineup of familiar faces.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is directed by Jake Kasdan and follows the familiar story-line of a mysterious board game which traps its players in a world like no other.

Welcoming us to the jungle, the incorporation of a vast array of animals, insects and reptiles amongst the challenges which the main characters face are a few of the themes which link the 1995 and 2017 films together.

The 2017 iteration follows four young high school students with diverse personalities into the world of Jumanji. Just like the original, the film begins “back in time” with a young teenager finding the hidden board game.

When the young Brantford teen discovers the game, the recently unearthed Jumanji box promptly mutates into a video console plug in which represents the technological advances today, which is encouraged via the teens statement, “who plays board games?

The original film put fans on the edge of their seats and left them mesmerised by the way the film was successfully put together while the incorporation and representation of the technological changes to account for a changing of era has brought Jumanji in to the 21st century.

Something needed to be done to live up to fans expectations and there could have been no better way to achieve this than incorporating modern-age technology, a turn around in location setting and relating to the comical views of today.

The incorporation of technology is thoroughly observed at the beginning of the film when the four significantly different high school students find themselves in detention, where they come across the Nintendo game of which they begin to fool around with. The game promises thrills for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind and each of the four students are then sucked into the digital vortex.

This is where the humour really sets in and where the movie really finds its peak when the four young high school students are reborn as alter-ego avatars in the world of Jumanji.

World renowned actors/comedians Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are here introduced into the movie and who could think of anyone better to play the roles and to pursue a coming-of-age comedy genre.

Dwayne Johnson is yet again the big screen hero, Karen Gillan plays two diverse roles and creates endless laughs through the transformation into a males body, Jack Black plays the role of a self-centered teenage girl like no other and Kevin Hart is his usual, hilarious self.

Andrés Muschietti’s 2017 revamped It, also released around the same time as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, certainly left crowds squealing and squirming in a midst of horror but also adopts a similar teen-friendly feel. The film also incorporates a new modern-age technologically advanced feel with a hint of comedy to break up the squeals and squirms.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is highly enjoyable by those who truly are Jumanji fanatics. If you are looking for a film that follows the same storyline, with a strong similarity in character roles alongside the same setting with no real big bang of a change that separates the old from the new, then this follow up Jumanji film is not for you.

The change of character feel brings forth vibrancy, humour and charm, the change in location brings to the table excitement and leaves fans continuously guessing throughout each scene but the best thing overall is the story-line is still embedded beneath all the advanced new layers of the film.

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