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MOVIE REVIEW: Embark On an Uneven Yet Very Amusing Trek With Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

VVNG- It would be foolish to think that the 1995 classic film, Jumanji, could ever be remade in a way that would live up to what Robin Williams helped create. I am glad to say that the filmmakers of this sequel were smart enough to decide to make a film that is completely different and, ALMOST, totally unrelated to its predecessor. The only real connection to the beloved original is the name of the game and one other tiny thing. Welcome to the Jungle is definitely not perfect, but I had a really fun time watching a hilariously entertaining and action-packed adventure that will have you and your family laughing and wishing a game like this actually existed, so you can stop wondering what it would be like to have The Rock’s enormous muscles.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a super strong and super brave explorer who is being controlled by a nerdy teenager that is lacking self-esteem.

Four teenagers from different clichéd high school social groups, get sucked into a jungle-based video game and become characters who have completely different characteristics than them. They have to learn how to work as a team if they ever want to get out of the dangerous game that has deadly repercussions.

Karen Gillan is great as a teenage girl, with no confidence, trapped inside of an attractive female badass.

I give Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the “Checky™ Sticker of Tolerance!” There were more than a few times when the movie was heading towards a potential Game Over, but the fantastic cast would then do something hilarious or action-packed that would bring the flick right back to life. The Rock and Karen Gillan do a great job acting like awkward teenagers trapped inside of their perfect bodies. Jack Black had me laughing the most as I watched him acting like a very self-absorbed teenage girl. Kevin Hart was great, but he doesn’t even seem to make an effort to play a character that is in any way different than Kevin Hart. I am not saying he wasn’t really funny in the movie, just that he doesn’t appear to be acting. But, hey, if you like Kevin Hart, I am sure this won’t annoy you.

Jack Black is HILARIOUS acting like a middle-aged cartographer with the mind of a conceited teenage girl.

One of the biggest things that bugged me about this movie was how they over explained everything. I feel like the premise was quite clever but super simple. However, they kept explaining every single thing about everything. The film was already about to finish and they kept explaining how everything worked inside of the video game. Oh, and that’s another thing, it never really felt like anyone was actually inside of a video game. Yes, the characters had some abilities that the teenagers could never have in real life, but other than that, it just felt like a regular movie in a jungle where the bad guys are really stupid and the good guys just go from one scene to the next in a way that almost feels like a bunch of sketches stitched together.   

Some of those “sketches” were repetitive and went on for too long. I mean, I get the joke, now let’s move on. That wasted time would have been better utilized explaining why the game exists (I have a theory), or by letting the characters show off their skills more. If anything, the filmmakers should have trimmed the film by 10 or 15 minutes, that way the movie would have flowed better.

Kevin Hart acts like Kevin Hart being Kevin Hart in the jungle.

Don’t worry, I realize that it sounds like I didn’t really enjoy the movie, but, aside from all the negative things I just mentioned, I really think this is a great flick to check out in theaters. The visual effects are really well done, the action is very entertaining and the comedy is gut-busting (even though they did show a lot of the big jokes in the trailers). The whole movie sometimes feels uneven and a bit disorganized, but it all comes together very nicely in the end. So, what are you waiting for? Get on your elephant, or whatever form of transportation you prefer, and go immerse yourself in this extremely enjoyable and adventurous flick that will give you a major entertainment power-up.

So, what did you think of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle? Do you agree or disagree with me? Which flick are you checking out this week? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great day at the movies and don’t forget to save me some popcorn.

Official Synopsis: Four high school kids discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. 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.

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Ezequiel T (a.k.a., El Checky) is a Translator with a lifelong passion for films. He has been reviewing movies for years and has been watching, discussing and sometimes even making them for as long as he can remember. When reviewing them, he has a simple way of recommending a good movie by giving it The “Checky™ Seal Of Approval!” which is due to his childhood nickname. He currently lives in Victorville, CA with his wife of 12 years, Joanna.