‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’: a thrilling follow-up to a classic

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

The year 2017 was filled with many award-winning and extravagant films. At the end of 2017, however, another hit was released that had a special touch to it that can’t be denied. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” is a follow-up to the 1995 classic film “Jumanji” that is based on a story of four teenagers who get sucked into a video game that they’ve never heard of or seen before. The teenagers, Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany have to live the life of the avatars that they’ve chosen and beat the game with their hilarious new attributes in order to return home.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” adds an uproarious twist when the actors in the film get transformed into the avatars that they’ve chosen, many of whom are completely opposite to their real life personalities. Spencer, a nerdy student played by Alex Wolff and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is Dr. Smolder Bravestone. Fridge, the athletic football star played by Ser’Darius Blain and Kevin Hart, is Franklin “Mouse” Finbar. Bethany, the dramatic beauty queen played by Madison Iseman and ironically Jack Black, is Professor Shelly Oberon. Finally, Martha, the self-conscious loner played by Morgan Turner and Karen Gillan, is Ruby Roundhouse.

The four characters can exit the game, but they have to defeat all of the levels with the three lives they received when they first entered Jumanji. Characters who lose all their lives will die in the game and never go back to their real-life home. Therefore, the four teenagers who have transformed into adults in the game have to “find the missing piece, return the jewel back to the Jaguar, lift the curse and save Jumanji,” as said from the tour guide in the film, Nigel.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is a success with a rating of 76 percent, beating the original 1995 “Jumanji” film by over twenty percent.  Rotten Tomatoes notes: “‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material.” iMBd (Internet Movie Database) rated the movie a 7/10, narrowly beating the original film, which was rated a 6.9/10. The movie is currently ranked forty-second on the all time worldwide box office gross list, crushing its predecessor, as the original “Jumanji” film is currently sitting in the 509th slot on the very same list.

The first time I watched the trailer for “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” I was in love from the start. When I watched it in theaters; the movie was unlike any other I’ve ever seen before because of the thrilling action, mystery, and hilarious comedy that it offered. It was statistically one of the best films of 2017, being the fifth best worldwide box office film of the year behind “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Fate and the Furious”, and “Despicable Me 3.”

Veteran Panther Press movie reviewer Dustin Steiger said, “‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ was a comedic masterpiece, and I would definitely recommend watching it!” “It was enjoyable from the get-go and it kept the audience laughing, myself included.”