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24 Dec

Haute Review: Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji

Something Haute Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

For anyone who truly calls themselves a 90s kid, the term Jumanji means a world and a half to them.  It was like magic in 1995 when one was made to believe that a boy could get sucked into a jungle-habitat board game, thanks to the pioneering computer-generated images of that time! Now, about 22 years after the original, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is trying to recreate that same magic for the young – and the young at heart – once again.

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale, the 2017 version of the film is far from the original. Where Jumanji focused one making one believe the world could harbour such dark powers and creepy-crawlies, the latest rehash wants one to make it more about laughs and less about the scares.

Narrating the tale of four high school kids, who discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting – literally becoming the adult avatars they chose, they soon learn the signature point that ‘you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it’. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever.

 

Jumanji

 

Brilliantly amalgamating comedic moments with some lessons of believing in oneself and changing being judgemental, Jumanji: WTTJ is both politically-correct – to cater to the modern audience – as well as attached from its heart to the original one.

The set-up proceeds quite briskly – given that it’s a film just at about two hours, it’s not such a bad thing. However, some scenes feel rushed, while others take their sweet time. The ending especially, makes one want it to finish already. However, the pacing is least of the worries in the film. One can’t expect much of a feel-good film tugging at the nostalgic heart, so even when the time is the present, and there is an absence of iPhones and Apple computers, one let’s that go, since it’s a Sony film, and we all know why such technology ‘doesn’t exist’ in that reality.

However, with little shortcomings and major success in creating an amusing narrative, Jumanji: WTTJ is surely made keeping the 90s kids in mind. It has all the classic points of references which one would be able to relate to. Plus, if nothing else, the great music in the film is already enough to sell tickets like hot cake!

Overall, Jumanji turns out to be a comedy of manners, of all things, but an agreeable one. Truly, it’s a film which will entertain you thoroughly, evoke nostalgia and make you want to watch the original one as an homage.

Shahjehan Saleem

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute as well as a professor in the Media Sciences department at SZABIST, Karachi. Socio-cultural theories and geography fill up the rest of his time.