Film Review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle


Photo source: Columbia Pictures, Radar Pictures

Riddhi Andurkar, Managing Editor

I recently had the opportunity to watch “Jumanji: Welcome to the Forest” in theatres and I will say that it was a great film.

There are four protagonists in this film: Spencer (Alex Wolff), who is a nerd, Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), who is Spencer’s former best friend, Bethany (Madison Iseman), a girl who is addicted to her phone and taking selfies and Martha (Morgan Turner), the socially awkward girl who loves books.

These four high school students, Bethany, Martha, Fridge and Spencer, find themselves in detention after they get in trouble for various reasons. They are left in a room to remove staples from magazines to complete their detention. They find an old discarded video game on a shelf and turn it on. When they choose their avatars and start the game, they are immediately sucked into the game’s jungle setting, becoming the adult avatars they chose. To get back to the real world, they must beat the game, going through the most dangerous adventure of their lives. Otherwise, they will be stuck in the game forever.

In the real world, these teenagers have their own insecurities. However, once transported into the video game world, they adopt the bodies and qualities of the avatars they chose. These avatars are played by four different actors: Dwayne Johnson as Spencer (Dr. Smolder Bravestone), Kevin Hart as Fridge (Moose Finbar), Karen Gillan as Martha (Ruby Roundhouse) and yes, Jack Black as Bethany (Professor Shelly Oberon).

Before entering the game, neither one of the students interacted with each other and they didn’t intend to do so when they became trapped the game. However, they soon discover that they must trust each other and use their talents to beat the game.

There are supposed to be five avatars in the game and they meet the fifth one, Alex Vreeke (Nick Jonas), who happens to be the ‘Missing Boy’ from the neighborhood. He was initially introduced in the prologue which took place in 1996.

The comedy element in this film comes from the minds of the original high school students, who are amazed at the qualities their avatars possess. Fridge’s avatar is a zoologist and the sudden gain of knowledge is amusing to both him and the viewers.

Bethany’s avatar is Professor Sheldon (Shelly) Oberon, meaning that she has taken on the body of a male. This is also another comedy element.

The combination of the teenagers’ thoughts and the avatars’ personalities is what creates the humor in the film.

I have not seen the first film, which was released in 1995, but I have heard that it doesn’t contain as much humor as the recently-released film. It was a great film and I would definitely watch it again.