Cast: Alex Wolff, Bobby Cannavale, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Madison Iseman, Marc Evan Jackson, Maribeth Monroe, Missi Pyle, Nick Jonas, Rhys Darby, Ser’Darius William Blain, Sylvia Jefferies, Tim Matheson
Director: Jake Kasdan
The late Robin Williams made the original his very own. Now, some 22 years later, a fresh version following the same principles has been made for a new generation.
Four teenagers in detention discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of and decide to play it in order to stave off boredom.
They are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting, straight into the bodies of their avatars and a whole exciting adventure unfolds.
What the impressionable teenagers soon discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji -Jumanji plays you. The group is forced to undertake the most dangerous adventure of their lives – and there is a likely chance they may get stuck in the game forever.
Director Jake Kasdin’s production offers enough star power and comic zest to deliver some fun moments and help lift audiences out of the doom and gloom of daily living.
Instead of a board game as it was in Chris Van Allsburg’ original bestselling children’s book, Jumanji is now a Video Game. Still a relic to the Smartphone-addicted 2017 teens who find it in a storage closet at their high school, the game grabs the attention of this breakfast club of misfits. They are nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff), football jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), popular mean girl Bethany (Madison Iseman) and painfully shy Martha (Morgan Turner).
As they enter the game, this quartet transform into the adult avatars they chose when they decided to sign on.
Skinny Spencer morphs into Smolder Bravestone, the expedition leader played by muscle-bound Dwayne Johnson. Gridiron giant Fridge is reduced to pint-sized zoologist Moose Finbar, portrayed by Kevin Hart. The introverted Martha (Karen Gillan) becomes the fighting fit Ruby Roundhouse. Attractive Bethany has been transformed into the bespectacled, rotund middle-aged Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black).
The actors all get in their licks, but Black steals every scene. He is expectedly hilarious, but the telling part of his performance is that, instead of exaggerating or patronising this Instagram princess, he finds her vulnerable heart.
Four screenwriters put the script together and director Jake Kasdan keeps the action humming as the characters learn important life lessons while dodging bodily injury as they attempt to restore the emerald eye of a jaguar carved into a mountain top. This updated “Jumanji” can’t outrun the clichés on its tail, but it tries its best to please.