Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Movie Review

Jumanji 2017 movie poster

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Movie Review | by TheEpiphanyDuplet

Recommended Audience: Fans of Jack Black, Bobby Cannavale, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Jumanji 1995 and action comedy movie fans

Jumanji 2017 movie poster

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Movie Synopsis

When four high‐school kids discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of – Jumanji – they are immediately drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the avatars they chose: gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer (Dwayne Johnson); football jock Fridge loses (in his words) “the top two feet of his body” and becomes an Einstein (Kevin Hart); popular girl Bethany becomes a middle‐aged male professor (Jack Black); and wallflower Martha becomes a badass warrior (Karen Gillan).

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…

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Viewer Rating: 4.5/5 *****

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Movie Review:

Peps Goh: I sat in the theater watching the trailers and commercials go by with a slight apprehension. I really liked the first Jumanji, and was more than a little skeptical about this sequel having seen it’s trailer and how far it had seemingly departed from the concept of the first. I wasn’t sure how to shape my expectations, am I setting myself up for a disappointment by hoping for a solid piece like the original Jumanji was? And before I had my mind made up, the theater darkened, and it began. Me on the other hand, was looking forward to it (for once) as it has Dwayne Johnson in it! The trailer kinda reminded me of his Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, so I really want to see how it will be different from that film. 
Jumanji 2017 Game avatarPeps Goh: I’m really surprised and impressed at how great a job the writers (Chris McKenna, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, and Erik Sommers, working from the original book by Chris Van Allsburg) did! They had somehow managed to make a big departure from the original, creating a great amount of fresh ideas while at the same time managing to remain faithful to the core message and theme of Jumanji. It would be so easy for a studio to make the lazy mistake of copying and pasting the outline of the previous film into the sequel, turning it into a predictable and cheap imitation hoping for the same success of it’s predecessor. But instead, they took a brave leap, and went all out in creating a whole new masterpiece that is extremely relevant to the present time, but maintaining all the heart its 22 year old precursor bore.
Jumanji-Welcome-to-the-Jungle-2017Tiffany Yong: This new premise sees four (very relatable and relevant) teenagers – nerdy gamer Spencer (Alex Wolff), typical football jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), pretty but selfie-obsessed nomophobic Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha (Morgan Turner), a surly outcast loner – randomly thrown together into detention where they discover the strange Jumanji video game. I love how the director managed to set the personalities of the characters so clearly within a short time that when they transformed into the avatars they picked, there wasn’t any confusion. 

In fact, it was so enjoyable watching the veteran actors (or should I say comedians) channel their inner teenage spirit into the characters. In order to not spoil the story for you guys, watching the “avatar actors” adopt the personality complete opposite of them, imagine a timid but muscular Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (explorer Dr Smolder Bravestone), a low self-esteem yet sexy ass-kicker Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse), plump Jack Black as overweight male cartographer Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon with a female soul and short Kevin Hart as short zoologist Franklin “Mouse” Finbar with giant past.

jumanji jack blackTiffany Yong: It takes a lot to amuse me, for example, while slapstick films like Bad Neighbours surprised me, the sequel Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising was a disappointment. I had to say, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is one of the rare comedies which managed to make me laugh non-stop.

From start to end, the laughter per minute of Jumanji 2 could easily go toe to toe with the humorous Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok that just opened not so long ago (I think Jumanji win in terms of story and comedy though). The endearing chemistry of The Rock and Kevin Hart was amazing as usual, and now with Jack Black thrown into the mix, this comedy ensemble is a force to be reckoned with. I can easily say that this is the top comedy piece of this year.

Bobby Cannavale Jumanji 2017Tiffany Yong: Not only does the writers made the film meaningful by getting the characters to address their insecurities and friendships, they provide very relevant gameplay – such as cutscenes, non-playable characters (NPCs) and the priceless strengths and weaknesses of game avatars, which is worth 2 x your movie ticket to watch them! If I have any bones to pick (really there’s practically nothing), i would say the game villain aka evil John Hardin Van Pelt (Booby Cannavale, who’s Jim Paxton from Ant-Man) was nothing more than a bug-infested bad guy, but ain’t all villains in video games the same? 

Peps Goh:The writing is also really tight, without a single loose end. It is an impressive piece of outline writing, successfully paying off every set up, and with the colourful world it had meticulously set up playing to the complete advantage of the finale and conclusion. And however formula-based the story structure may be, it still manages to engage and surprise on every act.

Jumanji 2 more than lives up to the hype and exist as a solid sequel deserving of becoming a classic by itself.

I’m glad Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle did not become one of those useless sequels that were made because the original film was popular, and managed to effectively upgrade the original classic board game to the video game age. (VR next maybe?)

Do You Know?

Jumanji_gameThe film’s African jungle setting was shot in Hawaii. 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.

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

Lara-croft JumanjiRuby 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.central-intelligence unicornThe second collaboration between Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. The first was Central Intelligence (2016).

Behind The Scenes and Interviews

Check out Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Official Website and Facebook Page!
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) is out in cinemas on 21 December 2017.

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*Disclosure: Invitation from Sony Pictures. No monetary compensation was received for the movie review.

P.S. Noticed the different coloured text? Articles written by #TheEpiphanyDuplet will be colour-coded in future to let every reader know who say what! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading our insights!

21 thoughts on “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) Movie Review”

  1. Pingback: Hereditary (遗传厄运) Movie Review |

  2. Movies based on jungle adventure always fascinates me and I am sure Jumanji will be no exceptional.. The way you always represents your movie review is also amazing.. Readers find it easy to make up their mind about whether they are going to watch the film or not..

  3. I haven’t seen jumanji but will surely try to watch once after reading your review and seeing the trailer. It should be fun and entertaining.

  4. Different Frame of Mind

    This is a great review of the movie. I actually had forgot that this movie was coming out. I loved the original Jumanji so I am really intrigued to see this one!

  5. Jumanji was one of my favorite movies growing up. When I heard they were doing a remake I was soooo excited. I have to admit when I saw the previews and that they steered away from the original plot I was not that enthused. Thanks for such a great review I’ll definitely be checking it out.

  6. Corinne and Kirsty

    I am glad your enjoyed the movie. I have seen the trailer and was not so impressed but after reading your post, i might give the movie a go

  7. I am huge fan of the original Jumanji movie and so happy to read this great review. It think it has not released in the US yet, can’t wait to watch it.

  8. I am a huge fan of the first Jumanji, I kinda of grow up with it! I had no idea this one was out. I would definitely go see it – though I am a little sceptical… 🙂

  9. I can’t wait to see this! Yes – I’m a fan of the original Jumanji and many of the actors and can’t wait to introduce this (and may have to find the original to watch with them) to my boys!

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