Sunday, January 21, 2018     Volume: 18, Issue: 46
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
12 STRONG
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
PADDINGTON 2
THE COMMUTER

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE


Where is it playing?: Movies Lompoc, Parks Plaza, Hi-Way Drive-In

What's it rated?: PG-13

What's it worth?: $ Full Price

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

Sound the banging of drums signaling impending doom or the next level in a game. It’s a familiar one, too, but instead of playing a board game, because who sits down to do that anymore, we revisit the twists of Jumanji (1995) as a video game. Director Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher and Sex Tape) is calling the shots with this interpretation and of course putting his own comedic twist on the film. 

With Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, we see an old game through new lenses. In present day, we have a group of four archetypal teenagers. You know, similar to The Breakfast Club you’ve got the nerd Spencer (Alex Wolff), his former best friend turned jock Fridge (Ser’ Darius Blain), a self-absorbed popular Bethany (Madison Iseman), and smart girl Martha (Morgan Turner) who’s a little salty about her peers. The crew gets detention and winds up having to remove staples from magazines for the evening. Anyone else find that to be an unusual punishment? To top it off, they’re doing it in an abandoned classroom filled with old school memorabilia and random junk. That’s where the unlikely group finds Jumanji (this time in video game form). They decide to ditch their task to play it. Once the game is plugged in and rebooting, the kids are sucked into the console, entering into the Jumanji world. But there’s a catch: they have assumed the bodies of their avatars.

This is where the fun really starts; Spencer turns into Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). His weakness: he has none. Fridge turns into Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart). You can only guess where the nickname comes from. Notorious hottie Bethany turns into the nerdy, male Professor “Shelly” Oberon (Jack Black), a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist, and paleontologist. Shy Martha turns into Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). She’s a martial artist and dance fighter with very short and tight clothing. With their new personas, the group must learn to work together and trust one another so they can return the jewel known as the Jaguar’s Eye to the jaguar statue.

This film does what many remakes fail to do, which is successfully entertain its audience. I wasn’t quite sure how this would go walking into the theater. But these actors did a hilarious job delivering as prepubescent teenagers in way over their heads. Johnson and Hart bounce off each other perfectly—no I’m not tired of the height difference jokes; it worked out well here. Outlandish Black can hold his own in a scene, and newcomer Gillian hilariously portrays a geeky teenager. I was laughing nonstop throughout the film. (112 min.).

—Karen Garcia 




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