Jumanji: Welcome To the Jungle

Natalie Meins, Art Editor

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With the release of ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ this past December starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan came an impressive amount of positive public opinion, largely through positive press and advertsing. Adults and kids alike have flocked to local movie theaters across the globe to watch the new spin-off of the original classic.

 

Clairemont Reading Cinema was one of the major theaters in the area to provide showings of ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ for many months of uninterrupted screenings. Despite the skepticism from critics and long-time lovers of the 1995 classic ‘Jumanji’, the new smashbox hit raked in an impressive $36,169,328 opening weekend. Overall, the adventure comedy secured over $400 Million in gross earnings across the United States, with a worldwide gross of $946 Million.

 

Director Jake Kasdan has created a film unlike any other, chock full of comedy, nostalgia and adventure that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.  In the movie, four young teens are sucked into an old video game that they discover while serving detention in an old highschool storage room. They find themselves stuck in the depths of the jungle of Jumanji while embodying the adult avatars that they had chosen.

 

Nerdy and panicky Spencer transforms into a muscular, intimidating man named Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson).

Tall football jock Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson turns into a comically short, sarcastic backpacking guide named Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), selfie-obsessed Bethany becomes the squat, round adventurer Dr. Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), and introverted Martha embodies dance-fighting badass Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). Together, they must defeat villain Van Pelt and return the stolen Jewel of Jumanji to its rightful place, while encountering dangerous and riveting obstacles along the way.

 

Although the plot may seem shallow or a bit ‘textbook’ to some viewers, the movie itself has gained a lot of traction in the general public, making up for what it lacks in depth with comedy. A younger generation’s ability to relate to the video-game era has also pushed ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ into popularity.

 

With a 76% Rotten Tomatoes rating and a 92% viewers rating, this movie is, according to the Wall Street Journal, “…witty, funny, and engaging.” While some critics say that ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ is ‘overrated’ and that the comedy can be irrelevant, viewers have a more positive approach; especially younger adults and teens. One young viewer from Rotten Tomatoes, Andre Meadows, writes that “This movie is stupid fun. And I like stupid fun.”

 

According to Matthew Rozsa from salon.com, Jumanji “…strikes the balance between referencing its nostalgic origins without being obnoxious…”. Some critics, however, have a different view on the film’s success; Adam Graham from the Detroit News says that “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” makes the original ‘Jumanji’ look like a towering achievement”, giving the movie a D+ rating.

 

Overall, ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ has ‘lived up to the hype’, even after the many months of intense advertising before its release in December. The movie-making process was long and hard; in fact, British actor Tom Holland, most known for his recent work in ‘Spider Man: Homecoming’, was initially set to play the major supporting role of airplane expert Alex. However, the directors eventually ended up casting Nick Jonas for the part after Holland could not find time to film due to other commitments. Despite this minor set-back, the new adventure film was a resounding success; audiences of all ages have enjoyed this thrilling, action-packed comedy with many beloved actors, portraying a long-beloved story.

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Jumanji: Welcome To the Jungle