You’ll struggle to find someone who isn’t familiar with the original Jumanji’s overall concept. A board game, discovered by some kids, is brought to life, with the jungle-themed adventure exploding out into the real world. Except now it’s 2017, and board games aren’t cool. Obviously. The game has changed. It’s evolved into a video game, the justification of which is a fun addition, but the basic premise remains the same, with one neat twist. When you play the game, it’s no longer set free, but instead, you’re sucked in, making this the best video game adaptation in a very long time.
Together, these four characters must learn to adapt to their complete 180 turn-around from who they once were and work together to put a stop to the villainous Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) before he destroys Jumanji altogether. It’s a big, loud adventure that’s the perfect amount of ridiculous, embracing each of these lead actor’s comedic talents in the most fitting of ways. Everything is over the top and unbelievable, but done in a way that perfectly reflects and parodies the modern adventure video game. Gamers will rejoice at its match-made-in-heaven humour, but there’s even enough here for those who haven’t picked up a video game in their life.
Bobby Cannavale is severely underdeveloped, more of a walking cliché than an actual character, but it also adds into the whole self-aware factor this film embodies. It’s a parody of what this movie is, so some of its flaws can be forgiven, especially its many narrative shortcomings. What doesn’t get shrugged off as self aware and deliberate is its lackluster visual effects. It feels weird to describe them as something straight out of a video game, as this is technically an embodiment of a video game, but that’s exactly what it looks like, and not in a good way. Plus, any character development present is very predictable, but the outcome of getting there is far from it.
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