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REVIEW: Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

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Philippine Release Date: January 8, 2018
Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale
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The frantic beating of the drums grows louder. Hoofbeats thundering from a distance warn of an oncoming stampede. An incessant buzzing drones as a swarm of insects approach. Welcome to the jungles of Jumanji as this thrilling sequel to the 1995 hit movie transports us to the mythical land within a game where the only way out is to win – or die trying. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle brings back the magic of the original film with an all new cast, all coming together to bring a whole new world of adventure.

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The film picks up close to where the original drops off as Jumanji, now evolved from a board game to a video game claims yet another unsuspecting youngster. Fast forward two decades later as four teenagers separately find their way to detention in their school basement, where they unearth an old video game that they decide to play to pass time. With each of them choosing a character to play, they find themselves trapped inside the game as soon as they press start, inhabiting the bodies of the characters they chose. As soon as they explore their surroundings, they find themselves in a fantastic world filled with mystery and adventure which each thrilling level they complete, meeting non-player characters along the way who want to help them – or bring them to harm’s way. Soon, they discover that the only way to save themselves from the game is to save Jumanji itself from the forces that threaten to destroy it.

The movie is quite literally a video game come to life, as real life, ordinary teenagers get to experience an adventure as someone else, a character with its own strengths, weaknesses and quirks. We see our protagonists come to terms with their new “bodies”, learning how to use the tricks up their sleeves and to complement each other with their skills and abilities. The four teenagers and their avatars have good chemistry with each other, and we see each relationship unfolding and developing as it would have not otherwise in the real world. The villains and the “big bad” were so-so, but the movie focused more on how the characters interacted and worked together to achieve their goal to make it back home.

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The storyline was a bit predictable, from the characters they each chose down to how they eventually achieved their mission. However, the cast was able to make everything work especially during the little funny moments scattered throughout the film. The avatars in particular were very engaging, playing off each other as they discover their inherent abilities and struggle to reconcile them with their real-life selves. Dr. Bravestone, Ruby Roundhouse, Professor Shelly and Moose Finbar were a team of misfits stuck in the bodies of adventurers, bumbling their way through the jungle and finding unexpected help in the direst of circumstances. It was a generic plot patched together by compelling characterization, making a film that was overall a fun watch from start to end.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle builds from its predecessor’s legacy of adventure while delving deeper into the world stuck inside a seemingly mundane game. It pays tribute to the original film’s star, the late Robin Williams, with an offering of laughter, thrills and excitement. It gives us a timely reminder to seize the day and to take risks, because you never know what exciting adventure awaits you next.

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[CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 7.5/10


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Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle hits theatres nationwide starting January 8.



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