Jumanji!

Hey there movie fans. Ready for this one?

This is an east movie to review. I watched the original Jumanji and the new one on the same day. I actually recommend doing that if you can, becuae the new oen fits inot the old one like a sequel. and considering it’s been around 20 years, it fits like a glove.

They did everything, they came up with a explantaion for why the game is a video gma,e why it appears to be haunted, and why it is so much cooler if you’re actually in the Jungle. Th eonly falw I see is that they’re making a sewul, and thism movie was basically a decades-in-waiting sequel.

If anyone who loved the original was worried that they’d retell the story and ruin it, don’t be. Proper homage is paid to Robin Williams and his story, while an interesting parallel story is told. They also find a way to make you believe that the characters would not forget everything at the end, because luckily, no one’s future is handing on one character being able to win the game, like it was in the first one. (The only part that you didn’t like about the ending.)

This new one is a lot less sad too, but been with its wonkier style where people have three lives, you don’t lose respect f or the value of life. Two characters do push each other off cliffs or whatnot and lose lives doing that, and claim it’s no big deal. But that is balanced out when other characters sacrifice one of their lives to that someone can live and they can get out of the game.

I never thought I’d say this, but I think they managed to use the extra lives thing as a way to demonstrate how important lives are. And who would have seen that one coming.

And thank you actors, this movie is actually funny. The first one wasn’t, though it was interesting. But this one knows when to not take itself too seriously. g any real video gamer would know a game like Jumanji would not be likely to have cake make its characters explode, that can be overlooked since it’s supposed to be riffing video games in general.

And you thought Wreck-it-Ralph took them too seriously. But it works in Jumanji because you know the game kind of has a consciousness.

And it now has a creepy villain, not just a crazed sharpshooter. The villain isn’t on screen much and isn’t actually super important to the story, which is a good thing, because in the small amounts he was there he was creepy as heck. And his short screen time is very effective. You don’t like him form the start.

Somebody give Jack Black an award for this role please. It was over the top, but he played a completely convincing 16 year old girl trapped in a middle aged man’s body. He even walked like a girl. he committed himself to this part. He was definitely the funniest character. But the other three all had their moments. I never knew Dwayne Johnson and…whatever the girl who plays Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy’s name is… had it in them to portray nerds stuck in hot shot bodies. But they did an amazing job. Each character had the facial expressions of their teen counterparts down pat. It looked like it took months to perfect. (If not, then dang, that’s some talent.) I’d say Kevin hart was the only one who just played himself. But he still did a good job of portraying the other character.

To my surprise the moral life lessons in this movie were not shoddy either. I don’t like the sexual ones. But it wasn’t too bad mostly. Nothing that wouldn’t go over your kids heads likely as not. But as played as the be more confident message is, I bought it. We see signs of both nerd characters wanting to have more confidence before they go into the game, and we even see signs of it in the girl, and then the game is just the catalyst that psyche them. A nice touch they kept from Robin William’s was that they use the context of the game to deal with their real world challenges. The nerd stands up to his jock best friends, who finally reconciles with him and learns to respect him again. The weird girl who needs confidence and the nerd confess their love ( I could’ve done without the kissing, but it was supposed to be funny. To their credit, I like that their real world kiss was a lot sweeter that their video game one, implying that even out of it they have chemistry.) The selfish pretty girl turns out not to be so bad once you snatch the phone from her hand. And she even turns the tables on the smart girl by telling her she’s being judgmental. It kind of surprised me that a movie about a video game would bring up such a hit to the gut kind of idea.

The life lessons they learn are also not that you have to change your look or your personality and it will make you cool. Being cool actually isn’t the point. (How refreshing in a teen movie.) The point is to be a better version of yourself then you were before you went into the game. To know yourself better, and to care more about the people around you. The movie takes a real feel kind of life or death bonding approach to their friendship.

In other words, it’s the near impossible balance between weighty where it needs to be and lighthearted when it fits. It’s not the best movie every of course, or the most profound, but for the type of movie it is, it’s easily the best one I’ve seen.

Until next time–Natasha.

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