"Needs More Heart and More Clean Fun"
What You Need To Know:
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is entertaining, with many funny, scary and exciting moments and appealing performances. It has a pagan, occult worldview where a video game has magical powers to change reality, but its premise is morally uplifting, with a light redemptive aspect. That said, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is not as exciting, clever or heartwarming as the original. It also has much more foul language and three scenes with lewd or inappropriate jokes. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is a three-star movie. Extreme caution is advised.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is a sequel that turns the magical, malevolent game box of the original 1995 movie into a video game where four teenagers in detention turn into adult characters trapped in an updated version of the deadly jungle kingdom of Jumanji. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE has its funny, scary and exciting moments, but it’s not as exciting, clever or heartwarming as the original movie and contains much more foul language, along with several gratuitous, crass lewd moments.
The movie opens in 1996. A teenager finds the Jumanji board game on the beach where it was left. He takes the game home. Overnight, it changes into a video game version, and the boy disappears.
Twenty years later, four teenagers get into trouble at school and are put into detention after school. The teenagers include a nerdy teenage boy, a football jock who used to be the nerdy boy’s friend, a conceited cheerleader, and a sullen, snobbish female student who can’t wait to escape high school and go to college. The principal orders the students to clean up a storage room, but they find the Jumanji video game and pick four of the game’s five character avatars to play the game.
Magically, the game sucks them into the jungle kingdom of Jumanji, where they reappear as the avatar they chose to be. For example, the nerdy boy is now Dr. Bravestone, a muscular Indiana Jones character played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and the female cheerleader becomes a chubby male zoologist and cartographer, played by comic actor Jack Black. Each of the avatars have special powers, but all but one of them also has weaknesses.
In order to get back, the teenagers must find a large green jewel stolen from a huge jaguar statue and replace it. To do that, they have to overcome get by angry hippos, snakes, charging rhinos, and a bunch of motorcycle-riding goons working for the villain, Dr. Bravestone’s rival, Van Pelt.
The good news is that each of the avatars has three lives to complete their quest. The bad news is that each of the avatars only has three lives to complete their quest.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is entertaining, with a fair number of funny, scary and exciting moments. The adult actors carry the load of the movie. For the most part, they deliver appealing performances. They not only have to be the adult avatar characters in Jumanji’s jungle world; they also have to portray the inner teenager that’s inside the avatars. This results in some funny scenes. It also sometimes heightens the movie’s jeopardy.
That said, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is not as exciting, clever or heartwarming as the original movie starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, and Bradley Pierce, directed by multiple MOVIEGUIDE® Award winner Joe Johnston (THE ROCKETEER, OCTOBER SKY, HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER). The movie has a pagan, occult worldview where a video game has magical powers to change reality, but its premise is morally uplifting and has a light redemptive aspect. Sadly, though, WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE also has much more foul language than the original movie. In addition, there are three scenes with lewd or inappropriate jokes about the female cheerleader trapped in the body of the chubby, older male avatar. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE goes too far. MOVIEGUDIE® gives the movie three stars and urges strong or extreme caution.