Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

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Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game.

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Cast

Alex Wolff – Spencer

Dwayne Johnson – Dr. Smolder Bravestone

Morgan Turner – Martha

Karen Gillan – Ruby Roundhouse

Madison Iseman – Bethany

Jack Black – Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon

Ser’Darius Blain – Anthony (Fridge)

Kevin Hart – Franklin (Mouse)

Nick Jonas – Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough

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Jungle Victory

I was dubious about going too see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Why? Because Jumanji (1995) was one of the movies I found most entertaining growing up. The deliciously strange story, the fast-paced action and special effects, the array of dangerous animals, the race against time to finish the game before the game finished off the players.. brilliant stuff. So in 2017 I got that “why have they made a revamp of a classic?” feeling. That instant response you have to a trailer  when you wonder why Hollywood couldn’t just leave an old story alone. Plus, Dwayne Johnson. Kevin Hart. Jack Black. The casting wasn’t exactly bubbling with exuberance, I couldn’t think of a worse line-up. I knew I would be in for a tedious ride as I entered the cinema but as with most movies I see I got my ticket, grabbed a vente (extra hot) latte from the on-site Starbucks, and hoped for the best…

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was one of the best, most highly entertaining pieces of cinema I have seen in years.
Fucking WIN.

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I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this movie. The script – made up of some very funny conversation between the players – was fantastic. The representation of the video game world itself was wonderfully weird. The mix of fast-paced and slow-paced action was blended superbly. And above all, the feature was enjoyed (as proven with loud laughter in the cinema) by adults and children alike. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is one of those movies that acknowledges all ages and adapts its humour accordingly. For example, one scene sees Franklin Finbar (Hart) consume a mouthful of cake at an outdoor market, realise cake is his ‘biggest weakness’ in the video game and subsequently explode amongst his fellow players. The younger viewers in the audience seemed to be loving the entertainment factor of this.

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Another scene takes place whereby Martha as Shelly Oberon (Black) and another character need to pee desperately; which culminates in the pair stood urinating against trees. The conversation between the pair is hilarious, Martha announcing her surprise delight at having a penis to urinate out of due to having transformed into a male character. At one point she / he mentions “it has a handle”. A few adult audience members roared with laughter at this – again proving the perfect blend of child-adult humour.

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When I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle at the cinema I was sat next to a man and his young son, which proved to be the perfect example of the effect the movie has on different ages. The man seemed to be enjoying the subtle innuendo and comedic performances of Gillan and Black, his son pointing at the cinema screen during more adventurous moments and commenting on what was happening during the game. Perfect. For the first time in years, I had found a movie fit – entirely – for the whole family. So if you’re a parent contemplating what sort of flick to sit the kids down in front of at the weekend, look no further. And sit yourself down with them. With a nice mix of action-adventure, dry comedy and fantasy, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle excels in providing entertainment for everyone.

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Players and Winners

There are one or two elements of this movie that succeed in making it as entertaining as it is. The first one is comedy value; I wasn’t expecting half of what happened on screen let alone the dialogue to go with it. And this is where the four actors come in..

Gillan as Martha as Ruby Roundhouse shines through with a performance so dry that it oozes sarcasm and borders on satire. Strange facial expressions and exaggerated movements ensure a very funny show, and a character vastly different to the ones in TV shows / movies I have seen her in previously (and the dance-fight against two video game bad guys is brilliantly stupid). Gillan excels in both stand-up comedy and observant characteristics of a young teenager (once again, the man and his son next to me were vocal in enjoying this scene).

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Hart as Fridge as Franklin Finbar surprised me. Normally his boss-eyed glare and wacky gestures irritate the fuck out of me. Looking at him looking at another actor (I.E. looking through them) makes me want to smack him quite hard in the face so that his eyes re-align. However, this time I overlooked this (pun very much intended) as Hart toned down the twat and proved he can be naturally funny without having to go overboard. He’s great in this movie, bringing a fresh difference to his usual comedy and proving less really is more.

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Black is great too; being male and playing  a female role underneath gives him a wonderfully camp undertone. Very different to the usual characters he plays. This boosts the movie’s comedy factor even more. Win.

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Another good element of the feature is the total role reversal; how the big male character becomes small, the geek becomes massive and muscly, the sultry female becomes an old chubby man.. it’s brilliant to have this – particular personalities thrown into the shoes of people of whom they are the polar opposite of, and observing the disastrously hilarious results. It mixes the dynamics up perfectly.

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What Went Wrong

In a way, this film feels like it’s over before it’s started. It moves at such a slick pace that the story feels a bit rushed. The kids enter the jungle – embark on their mission – the enemy is introduced – battle – film comes to an end.
Also, do not expect the same sort of animals, creatures or bizarre game additions the first Jumanji brought into your living room. This time round you get just a few jungle beasts popping up at random intervals, the main focus is on how the characters deal with their situation. I wanted more than a few rhinos running around in a circle, however cute it was.

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And there you have it, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. A highly entertaining film for both children and adults which reaches new heights of entertainment. It’s refreshing and doesn’t get caught up too heavily in its adventurous escapades by making certain scenes longer than they need to be – however rushed it may seem at times. At the same time it’s slick and very witty, using its observant humour to make it more relatable to viewers. This movie was completely different to what I was expecting, and trust me – that’s a very good thing.

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This entry was posted on April 1, 2018 by .
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