Following in the giant footsteps of the classic kids’ romp of the 90s featuring the late great Robin Williams, Jumanji – Welcome To The Jungle is very much its own beast. More a homage to the original than a remake, the movie sees four disparate teens sentenced to detention at school. While in the throes of boredom, one of them discovers an old ’90s plug and play console with a Jumanji videogame cartridge, which essentially sucks them into the heart of the action and requires them to complete the game to return to the real world.
While maintaining the thrills and spills of the original, director Jake Kasdan (of Sex Tape, Bad Teacher fame) also introduces classic body swap humour a la All Of Me/Freaky Friday – and this really is the masterstroke of the film as nerdy student Alex Wolff transforms into man-mountain Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch), whilst well-built college football star Ser’Darius Blain morphs into the diminutive Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence). Shy and retiring Morgan Turner becomes kickass hottie Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), while image conscious stunner Madisson Iseman draws the short straw and takes on the body of portly Jack Black (Goosebumps).
The chemistry of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart was undeniable in buddy comedy Central Intelligence last year, so the re-pairing of these two was a given at some point, and once again they do not disappoint. Karen Gillan displays a wealth of timing and comedy touches, but it really is teen girl Jack Black who steals the film with an unforgettable performance, in what is a surprisingly tricky role.
Man-eating hippos, aggressive rhinos, sinister snakes and a pantomime villain in Bobby Cannavale serve to push the passable script along at a decent lick, and while this new version is far from ground breaking, Jumaji: Welcome To The Jungle is perfect holiday fodder and guaranteed to tickle plenty of people. Nice outgoing track too.
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner Director: Jake Kasdan Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner Released By: Sony Pictures Certificate: 12A Duration: 119 mins Release Date: 20th December 2017