We have heard it all before, with the slew of sequels, remakes and reboots coming our way, Hollywood has run out of ideas. While that is not true at all, there are plenty of good ideas still out there, the problem lies in the mistakes that are made in trying to retell something in a fun or entertaining way. It seems so often when they try to redo a film property they make the wrong choices and then we end up with something far worst than what we were originally presented with. Thankfully, someone has been paying attention, as the makers behind the latest Jumanji got it right.
Spencer (Alex Wolff) is pretty much that kid in school that was invisible. No one really sees him as his old friend Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), who got too cool for Spencer, needs him to do his school work for him. When they get caught they are sentenced to detention with two other rule breakers in Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman). Their punishment is helping prepare items for recycling, but when Fridge finds an old video game they decide to play that instead. It turns out in this case, recycling would have been the better choice as they choose characters and are sucked in a game in which they become the characters they choose. Alex is no longer the invisible nerd, he is now a man named Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) while Fridge lost a few feet and became his sidekick (Kevin Hart). Things do work out for Martha, as she is Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) unfortunately Bethany ends up becoming Jack Black. Together they must use their strengths and avoid their weakness and beat the game in order to return home.
Fans of the original Jumanji will remember the last adventure all came from a board game, a fact that the makers of this one do acknowledge, but as cleverly said in the movie, who plays board games? With that said, the game evolves and becomes a video game, you know something way cooler to play. The update of the function of the game and the video game logic is pretty basic, but there is still plenty of action, this time they aim for laughs more than wows. Those laughs are mostly supplied by this generation’s Martin and Lewis or how you know them as Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. Going on what seems their 100th movie together, you can’t deny the chemistry as they just play so well off each other. It is Black though who supplies the most laughs as he has the natural reaction of what would happen if a hot girl turned into a middle-aged chubby man.
This time the game is she shining moment for the film, and the good news is that is most of it. As for the lessons learned in the end and the return to the real world that is not as special, because let’s face it you no longer have the stars who make this so enjoyable. This is how you retell a story. Why try and adapt with the times and make the right decisions. So, grab some mosquito spray and one of those explorer hats because this is an on-screen adventure you will be glad you took.