An unsuspecting teenager is sucked into the strange video game Jumanji. Decades later, four other young victims also become trapped in the game. In these life or death stakes, the entrapped players must work together to finish the game and escape with their lives.
The kid in me was very upset when hearing about the 2017 Jumanji film. How could they mess with one of my most adored childhood films? No one is going to top the late and great Robin Williams performance of Alan Parrish, I said to myself. Not to mention the beautiful, sad and engaging music by the also now deceased James Horner.
However, when I saw the trailer I realised what they were doing was a separate story set in the world of Jumanji rather than a remake of the 1995 classic.
I then became much more open to the thought of it.
Especially after seeing the cast, which includes one of my favourites Jack Black, along with the always charming and entertaining Dwayne Johnson, and the hilarious Kevin Hart (re-appearing on screen alongside Johnson). Last but not least we have Karen Gillan, who successfully walks the line between silly and sexy. Her character Martha is not afraid to point out the obvious female video game character stereotype.
The set up isn’t so prolonged and we jump quickly into the world of Jumanji.
Jumanji is a quick learner and has created a full backstory along with NPCs, skills and levels. It is quite amusing seeing Dwayne Johnson with his muscles on muscles as a coward. Likewise Jack Black playing the avatar of a vain teen girl with an attention seeking complex. He does this a little too well and is quite convincing, if not slightly over the top -which just makes everything funnier.
Kevin Hart is quite funny and naturally there are plenty of jokes about his stature. Karen Gilian meanwhile shines as your not-so-typical heroine. There are a couple of other cameos throughout the film who help the heroes on their quest.
So does the 2017 Jumanji (sequel?) compare to the original?
So much lighter than the original, Jumanji is definitely a comedy that still focuses on the theme of working as a team. It was not quite the world described by Alan Parrish in the ’95 original, but somewhat more of a vibrant world with culture and beautiful surroundings.
Jumanji is still great for kids, though letting the odd rude joke slip past the keeper straight to the adults. We are glad it’s a fresh new take and not just another remake.