Jumanji rejuvenated in 2017 hit

Jumanji rejuvenated in 2017 hit

Kai Umeda, Film Critic

Jumanji is  one of 2017’s most acclaimed and anticipated movies and it sure does show as this franchise has grown into  a giant cult following, even spawning its own TV series. So what’s the story?

In the beginning we see the board game washed up on the shores which is right where we left of in 1995. A boy picks the game up, takes it back to his house, and surprisingly, it’s not a board game anymore–it’s a video game.  The kid plays the game and disappears for a really long time. A number of years go by and four other kids played by Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, and Morgan Turner all get thrown in detention. Iseman finds the game and they select their avatars.  In the blink of an eye they find themselves in an unfamiliar environment and in the bodies of different people, played perfectly by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. From that moment on all sorts of shenanigans happen. The group finds themselves attacked by animals, a madman with mind control powers is hunting them down for a jewel, and romance develops between two of the players.

I guess what people adore about this movie is the action and humor that comes from all the characters.  In the original Jumanji, its humor wasn’t a focus as much as the action was.  Also, there are a lot of fans of the original saying that this movie didn’t pay homage to  lead actor Robin Williams (1951-2014). I sort of saw why people would have some nasty things to say.  Then, again it’s a sequel, but when I saw it was like a reboot. This makes sense because reboots and/or sequels do get released years after the original.  It was as if Hunger Games met Shrek.  I think the producers still keep the spirit of the original movie, except they just did everything they could and tried too hard to put in new stuff.  That’s not saying that the movie’s bad.

The original Jumanji and the new one have some similarities and differences that don’t ruin anything for the whole movie, but don’t always keep the spirit of the original.  Now in the 1995 version, the game unleashed all sorts of terrors including lions, rhinos, man-eating plants, and monkeys, to name a few. In the new version they replaced the lion with jaguars, which I thought was inaccurate since the game’s origin was Africa.  Once again they bring up the notion that other people have played the game and died in the midst of it. In the 1995 one it’s not mentioned as much. However, in the 2017 version it was brought up rather in a very scary way.

I also think they tweaked the villains.  They’re both named Van Pelt except both are different in a lot of ways.  The original was a psycho who hunts players and takes pride in mounting them on his wall like they’re game.  The new guy has a history with one of the characters; which makes him credible for his scary behavior.

For what it is, I think Jumanji is worth a watch.  When you’re supposed to laugh, you laugh.  When you feel scared, you get scared. When you’re supposed to get wrapped up in the character in their adventures, you do.