JUMANJI Upgrades Itself to the 21st Century (Critical Review)

The laughs are still there in this 20 years-in-the-making sequel

The sequel to the 1996 movie, Jumanji, which told the story of a family’s misfortune after discovering a magical board game, involves a more updated video game inspired plot that has a lot more to offer than the original. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle tells the story of how four teens:  a nerd, a jock, a rebel, and a pretty blonde, all got sucked into a video game in which they have to work together to win the game in order to return to their normal lives.


The overall plot of the story is somewhat predictable, but that’s what made it fun. Kind of knowing what to expect but still being a little surprised and humored was the best part of the movie. Because it’s a video game, you expect everything to be dramatic and unrealistic. No one expects the battle scenes with  men on dirtbikes and a herd of rhinos to actually happen in real life. The fantasy aspect of the movie mixed with the real reality of the lives of high school students makes the movie all the more realistic.

Trapped inside the game, the group of four finds themselves stuck in the bodies of the avatars. The cast consists of Jack Black, who is outrageously hilarious playing the role of a teenage girl stuck in the body of an “overweight middle aged man.” The nerdy teenage boy who lacks confidence gets trapped in the body of Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) is taken over by the rebellious outcast, and the arrogant Jock gets stuck in Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart). Unlike the original, this movie has some fun additional elements that the original doesn’t have. Each of the four video game characters dies brutal deaths. From getting eaten by a giant killer hippo or eating an explosive cake, all the characters die at least once. The bright side is that they are all given three lives to begin with, which gave them a chance to try risky things without the fear of dying for good. No one would have ever expected Johnson to play the role of a nerdy geek who lacks self confidence or for Black to play the role of a  selfish teenage girl. Because these actors don’t normally play roles that are completely opposite of their personality, it was exciting as a viewer to watch.


The fact that the sequel had almost nothing to do with the original movie, yet it still includes the jungle hunting aspect of the original, is genius. If there’s ever a sequel to the sequel, let’s hope that it’s completely different. It should include a different cast, even though the cast for the sequel was more than amazing, and a completely different plot line. This way, they’re not recreating some predictable unexciting movie that no one would want to pay $11 to see.