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Movie Review - Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff) is in a heap of trouble. The straight laced teen got caught ghostwriting for friend(ish) and star football player Anthony "Fridge" Johnson (Ser'Darius Blain). The hideously popular Bethany (Madison Iseman) doesn't understand how anyone could take a test during her social media crisis. Her insubordination lands her in detention. Martha (Morgan Turner) has valid reasons for wanting to skip physical education however, her remarks land her in detention as well. The foursome while in detention, which includes tedious busy work in the school basement; stumble across an old video game console.

The game, a platformer named 'Jumanji' sucks the kids into the game, transporting them into a lush jungle, where a non playable character (NPC) named Nigel (Rhys Darby) gives the crew the introduction and sends them on their way. Apparently there's a sacred jewel that has been stolen by an explorer named Van Pelt, who went rogue and uses the power of the jewel to rule the land of Jumanji. Before the adventure starts the quartet selected their players. The shrimpy Spencer chose Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), an archaeologist and explorer. Bethany chose Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black), a cartographer, cryptographer, archaeologist and paleontologist. Martha chose Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), a commando and dance fighter. Lastly, Fridge chose Moose Finbar, a short zoologist and weapons specialist.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is a sequel in the most technical sense only. Those looking for an updated version of the Robin Williams classic will definitely be disappointed. But, that doesn't make this title bad. Jumanji (2017) is a standalone sequel that delivers a different kind of hijinx.

The most impressive/underrated aspect of Welcome To The Jungle is how well the in-game characters mimicked their real world counterparts. For example, Jack Black's role wasn't a chubby, unkempt, middle-aged cartographer; he was all of those things, with the spirit of a bratty, self-absorbed teenager. There's the usual high impact set pieces and playful, yet familiar banter between Johnson and Hart are good of a few laughs; Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is better than I originally thought when it was announced back in 2015.

Verdict: B

Rated: PG-13 @ 119 mins

NOTE: In 3D Where available

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