FILM REVIEW: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (12A) SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOWCAST: DWAYNE JOHNSON, JACK BLACK, KEVIN HART, KAREN GILLAN, NICK JONAS, BOBBY CANNAVALE, ALEX WOLFF, SER’DARIUS BLAIN, MADISON ISEMAN, MORGAN TURNER, RHYS DARBY & COLIN HANKSRUNNING TIME: 1 HR 59 MINSDIRECTOR: JAKE KASDAN
This sequel to the classic Robin Williams adventure is family entertainment at its finest.
Spot-on casting, the right mix of action and comedy, simple straight-to-the-point storytelling – and most importantly something for all ages.
Set 20 years after the events of the first film, the infamous board game that turned the life of Williams’ Alan Parrish upside-down in the original, has re-emerged as a video game.
And when four teenagers in detention tasked with cleaning out an old disused school room stumble across it, they get sucked into the game like Parrish did before – becoming the adult avatars they have chosen.
Alex Wolff’s Spencer changes into Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s muscle-bound archaeologist Dr Smolder Bravestone, Ser’Darius Blain’s Anthony turns into Kevin Hart’s short zoologist Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar, Morgan Turner’s Martha evolves into Karen Gillan’s (Guardians of the Galaxy) commando Ruby Roundhouse, and Madison Iseman’s Bethany, erm, ends up inside the body of a portly middle-aged man, in the form of Jack Black’s Professor Sheldon Oberon.
And in this virtual jungle expanse, they must join forces – with Bobby Cannavale’s corrupt explorer Van Pelt in pursuit – to complete the game without losing all of their three lives, or risk being stuck in there forever.
And that includes getting past hippos, crocodiles, jaguars, and other critters that makes this one unenviable task.
Fortunately the four actors involved couldn’t be more suitably matched as they seamlessly spin off each other with a blend that oozes family movie perfection out of almost every pore – led by the always dependable presence of Johnson – with all of the cast getting time to shine.
Cannavale’s main villain is a little on the weak side – almost being used as a token plot device than anything else – and there’s the obvious clichés of four teenagers bonding after putting their real-life woes to one side, but this really is a delightful follow-up to the first film.
In fact, it’s actually even better – and a new favourite guilty pleasure to boot.
You’ll definitely be able to smell what Johnson and Co are cookin’.
4/5 Gavin Miller
Grace Millican 4.5/5
AJ Millican (11) 5/5
Zac Lowe (10) 4.5/5