It has been over twenty years since the original Jumanji came out, and if you are studio executive it has been killing you that such a successful movie didn’t get a sequel. That changes now! Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is out in theaters! Despite the fact this movie was obviously concocted in a boardroom, it is pretty good. It is not great by any stretch of the imagination, but much better than it probably should have been.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle takes place some time after the original, and the cursed board game has changed itself in to a video game because it figures out that kids like video games better. Enter the standard squad of teenagers: The Jock, The Nerd, The Hot Girl, and Smart Girl. They all get detention for various reason, and then instead of doing the work they were told to do, they play a video game, Jumanji. Of course they all get sucked up inside it, and then hilarious body swapping action packed hijinks ensue.
It is clear this script was not written by Shakespeare, but it gets the job done. It even makes sense. Which is kind of a minor miracle. The only problem I had with it is the strangely high number of penis jokes. While at least one was a given since there is a teenage girl trapped in Jack Black’s body, it seemed like it was the go to joke if there was ever a lull. Also, the joke that the girl character wouldn’t be wearing enough clothing in the jungle because she is based off 90’s Lara Croft is funny, but then it seems to undermine itself by gawking at her anyway.
The casting has executive hit list all over it. You need Dwayne Johnson because he guarantees a $50 Million opening weekend. Hopefully Kevin Hart will bring in the African American crowd, and Jack Black is always good at selling jokes even if they are poorly written. Then you need a woman who is popular enough that people recognize her, but not so popular that you need to pay her a lot of money.
Amy Pond Karen Gillan will do perfectly! Thankfully all these people are also very talented, and they do a good job with what they are given.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was never going to be a classic, but if we are honest with our childhood selves, neither was the original, so this is a pretty good follow up. I am sure that we will not have to wait another twenty years for a sequel to this flick. Once it comes out to Netflix/Video Rental it is well worth watching, or if you are a Movie Pass card holder like me there are worse things in the theaters right now. In other words, Sony’s executive team got the job done.