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Jumanji sequel shines on its own

January 23, 2018

 

Roderic Lloyd

Staff Reporter | rsl010@latech.edu

 

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – Four out of Five Stars

 

On Dec. 20, the second installment in the Jumanji franchise premiered 22 years after the original. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” builds on the storyline of the original but shines on its own, featuring a setting based in a virtual reality video game and actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black.

 

The original “Jumanji” that premiered in 1995 setting was engulfed in a town where a life-altering board took over reality in the characters’ living room and beyond. The ending of the original cut out at the beach with two teenage girls hearing the theme song that alerts the presence of the board game.

 

The setting in the beginning of the sequel remains in line with the ending of the original “Jumanji,” beginning at the beach and eventually setting the film 20 years in the future entrapped in a virtual reality jungle. The major diversion from the original in the sequel is the video game upgrade of Jumanji and characters being within other characters.

 

Alex Wolff (Spencer), Ser’Darius Blain (Fridge), Morgan Turner (Martha) and Madison Iseman (Bethany) play the younger versions of the main characters outside the confinement of the video game. Dwayne Johnson (Spencer), Kevin Hart (Fridge), Karen Gillan (Martha) and Jack Black (Bethany) portray the roles of the main characters within the video game.

 

The sequel does not present any new subplots or themes that divert from the original, other than a heightened focus on the comedic attributes on display by naturally charming actors Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart. The actors create the feeling of a more enthusiastic and sensationalized environment that tugs at your emotions throughout the entirety of the film.

 

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” focuses a lot more on the characteristics of the characters within the character than its predecessor. The underlying differences between the characters outside the game and the ones within creates an interesting development in the plot.

 

There is not much character development beyond the main characters, in my opinion, which creates a lot of gray area for viewers to create their own interpretation of the role supporting acts play in the overall plot of the film.

 

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” works well as a sequel to the original because it does not stray too far from the original themes, but instead builds on the qualities previously showcased. It also enhances the focus on the personalities of the main characters and their development throughout the film, which makes it more relatable and appealing to families, younger crowds and those who enjoyed the original.

 

The free-flowing energy on display makes the film easy to watch and enjoy. It is a safe sequel that is not great, but extremely entertaining and charismatic throughout.

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