Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle released in the United States on 20 December and is garnering praise for being a stunning production, complete with a stellar cast. Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale, the standalone sequel to Joe Johnston’s 1995 film. The film has opened to positive reviews, with some critics choosing it over the original.
In Welcome to the Jungle, four teenagers find themselves in detention together and end up discovering the board game in the school basement. They are sucked into it and a hilarious, mishap ensues where four teenagers are basically stuck in adult bodies and are trying to finish what they started.
Showering praise on this Jake Kasdan directorial, Mark Kermode of The Guardian writes, “This “continuation of the story” smartly inverts the premise of the original, welcoming us to the jungle as we follow four young players into the game, where they must meet various next-level challenges to secure their safe passage home. Wholly superior to Joe Johnston’s wildly uneven big-screen predecessor, this crowd-pleasing romp combines boisterous action with coming-of-age comedy, all delivered in a shiny FX-laden package tailor-made for holiday audiences.”
The new film, directed by Jake Kasdan, is a genuine hoot and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is smarter and more humorous than the first movie, and its digital effects — which include stampeding albino rhinos and mountain-scraping aerobatics — are far snazzier, as one would expect. But it’s the characters, not the convoluted plot or digital magic, that make “Welcome to the Jungle” such fun. For a high-concept Hollywood special-effects movie, that’s quite a concept indeed,” writes Jane Horwitz for The Washington Post.
However, some critics felt the nostalgia wore off too quickly, like Bryan Bishop writes in his review, for The Verge: “In fairness, the central conceit is that the Jumanji game is an old-school console, so the movie’s tropes do align with the gear’s apparent age. But that may not have been the smartest choice. The nostalgia factor quickly wears off, and then the gaming humor just becomes a generic framework for typical action-adventure sequences.”