Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was a massive risk
Four high school students are sent to detention, set with a task of clearing out an old storeroom. Instead, they choose to load up an old games console found under a pile of junk, but to their surprise, they are transported inside the console into a mysterious jungle. Now, as characters with specific roles, the quad must discover how to escape the world of Jumanji and return home.
More than anything, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was a massive risk. However impressive the cast or immaculate the story, opening up a second chapter in the Jumanji series poses alienating a huge number of the potential cinema-goers. Granted a lot of the original Jumanji fans will have aged in the gap, with a new generation fairly fresh to the themes of the now, series, yet there is often a feeling that Jumanji is a classic and should be left untouched.
Yet what Welcome To The Jungle does so well, is to incorporate new ideas and characters along the same themes as the original. There’s a sense that it is a Jumanji film, for at least most of the runtime, respecting the original for what it is. It isn’t the same quality as the original, but it’s good enough to act as a follow-up film.
The film’s peak is certainly Jack Black. His performance is sheer brilliance, especially within an adventure movie, as he plays Professor Shelly Oberon, a young teenage insta-famous girl, stuck in the body of a middle-aged cartographer. He lights up every scene with his hilarious turn shining brighter than the multiple stars the film possesses otherwise.
It’s a very brave attempt at a sequel, proving realistically that modern day follow-ups can be done to a fairly high standard. It isn’t mind-blowing or game changing but it is actually a good laugh, and Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle deserves praise for that. Sequels aren’t, and never will be, easy.