Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle reintroduces an old story with a millennial twist

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle | Photo from Letterboxd

On Dec. 20, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hit theaters. A spin-off of the original movie Jumanji, starring the deceased Robin Williams, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was not projected to outshine the former film. However, with a fresh millennial twist, the sequel brought in a whopping $7.5 million opening night.

The original Jumanji was a staple movie of the 90s, with a family friendly humor that granted it an age rating of PG—unlike the revival film. The new movie, while lighthearted and witty, received an age rating of PG-13 for crude and sexual humor that could be inappropriate to children.

Nevertheless, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle did appeal to today’s millennial audience by incorporating electronics such as cell phones and Nintendo gaming devices. The use of these products in the film clearly showed the director, Jake Kasdan’s efforts to demonstrate a new generation of Jumanji.

The film begins with an immediate throwback to the original Jumanji movie, by showing a view of the Victorian-style home the first film took place in. The once Jumanji game board then turns into a game console, hoping to lure in the uninterested late 90’s teenage boy to play. The film then cuts to inform the audience of the lives of four new teenagers: Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), Anthony Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain), and Martha Kalpy (Morgan Turner). Each of the students coincidentally wind up violating school rules and find themselves stuck in the high school’s basement cleaning for detention. The teens come across the old Nintendo gaming device and proceed to hook it up to an old-school rolling TV. Little did they know that the characters they chose determined their likelihood to survive in the wild world of Jumanji. Audience members are quickly transported with the teens inside the video-game, where we meet the game’s characters.

I was personally impressed with the all-star cast who embodied the game’s characters. Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), Franklin Finbar (Kevin Hart), and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). My favorite comedic twist of the film was Jack Black’s portrayal of a young and clueless teenage girl, who in reality was Bethany Walker. The movie would not have been half as funny had the director chosen a male in reality to play Sheldon Oberon. Furthermore, the playful relationship between each of the actors left me laughing until the credits rolled onto the screen.

Upon leaving the film, I found myself in hopes for another Jumanji film. Who knows, maybe titled Jumanji: Back to the Jungle? I enjoyed the movie so much I would even purchase it when the DVD version releases. However, I unfortunately viewed the film in 2D. With the amount of special effects and gorgeous “African” terrain, (the movie was actually filmed almost entirely in Oahu) I would advise taking advantage of the 3D option.

I would recommend Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to anyone over the age of 12 searching for a feel-good movie with a positive ending. Put on your game face, grab your glasses, and get ready to enter the daunting 3D world of Jumanji.

Grade: A