I was really bummed when I didn’t get to see Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in theaters. It just happened to be one of those times I had too much going on in life and never made it to the movies, so when I found out that it would be playing at FSU’s Student Life Center movie theater, I was super excited to get a chance to see a film friends had told me was good. And it was good. Jumanji is a fun, family-friendly film (though there are some definite PG-13 jokes in there) that is great for a few laughs and doesn’t make you think too hard, which isn’t something I wanted to do anyway.
The film follows four high school students—Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha—who are transported into the game Jumanji when they find the new video game while cleaning out the basement of their school for detention. Their counterparts are avatars in the game played by some actors you might know: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart. You can just tell as you watch that every one of them loved playing the personas of teenagers stuck in unfamiliar bodies, but Jack Black particularly stole the show. He was the only one whose high school counterpart was the opposite gender and while he could’ve played it as campy and stereotypical, there was a lightness and genuine quality to his performance that, surprisingly, made his journey through the movie feel the most real. Nick Jonas also makes an appearance as the game version of a teenager named Alex who was transported into the game back in 1996. He’s a nice addition to the cast and it was cool to see my middle school heartthrob tearing it up on the big screen; the college audience seemed to care about nothing else except for the former Jonas Brothers singer and he got a round of applause when he first showed up.
In terms of plot, the film doesn’t do much to surprise you as the plot moves along at an easy pace; if you’ve seen any adventure films or TV shows, you can pretty much guess what’s going to happen next or at least have an idea, but I never felt that the predictability took away from the experience. I wasn’t there for the movie to shock me. I was there for fun and laughs, which is exactly what I got. I will say, however, there is a twist at the end of the movie when the high schoolers are back home and out of the game (this movie has been out for months I’m allowed to spoil a little) that did throw me for a loop and that was a great little nugget right at the end.
Overall I had a really fun time with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It’s a really good, classic action/adventure movie with some great laughs and super fun characters that are played well by the actors who portray them. The trailers give some of the biggest laughs away and the plot wasn’t the most original, but this is a great film to watch on the couch with a whole group of friends, snuggled in blankets and just enjoying the night.