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December 10, 2017 1 min read
Before we begin, let’s bring all parties to the table, peacefully. When discussing Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the soft-sequel, hard-reboot to 1995’s Jumanji, there are clearly two camps of thought. One camp will profess a love and nostalgia for the original, Robin Williams vehicle, and not really understand how you can take a movie about a board game come to life and replace it with a story about a people being put in a video game. The other camp will gape at the assembled comedy all-star team (adorned with some ample eye candy) and the accompanying overuse of Guns N’ Roses in the marketing campaign, and declare that this reboot-sequel-hybrid looks like a lot of fun.
Or, doing so imagines a divisiveness in an audience that’s just whelmed, not over or under, and no one cares that much. In either case, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle attempts to appease both camps, imagined or not, through careful allusions placed throughout the film, acknowledging the existence of its predecessor and paying homage to it, while also attempting to take advantage of the talent of its current stars.
In doing so, it half-succeeds in both regards; I can believe that Jumanji, the fictional game-come-tormentor-come-life-instructor, evolves to find a way to tempt people to play it, however, many of the other allusions seemed forced, and hardly tie the two films together. Additionally, while the talent of the cast is palpable, they’re really the only thing keeping this story afloat, as the narrative itself is weak.
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