The much hyped Jumanji reboot, starring ubiquitous action hero/social media god/modern-day Bruce Willis imposter The Rock, has been tossed to the critics this week. While some cold-hearted sceptics might have expected the movie to get a savaging, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has been greeted by almost unanimous hearty hoots of approval.
So, what is it about this family friendly romp that has charmed the pants off the often difficult to please hardened film buffs? Below we analyze just what makes #Jumanji a true rumble in the jungle.
Killer Cast Chemistry
With charismatic megastars like The Rock and Jack Black on the team, it makes perfect sense that there was killer chemistry that really shines on screen.
According to Rob Keyes of Screenrant.com the cast has "some pretty special chemistry" that lends itself to the "laughs and heart" that make the new Jumanji movie special.
Erik Davis of Fandango praised Jumanji as "biggest surprise of the holiday season" which is "super entertaining and very funny with terrific cast chemistry (especially between The Rock and Kevin Hart)."
Jack Black's Body Swap Banter
Possibly the most praised aspect of the movie is Jack Black's ability to channel a teenage girl with hilarious results.
Mike Rougeau of IGN Movies highlighted the body swap aspect as the standout feature of the movie and wrote that he could "watch Jack Black play a teenage girl stuck in Jack Black's body, or The Rock newly discover his muscles, forever."
Displaying similar rabid enthusiasm, Rebecca Pahle of Film Journal International wrote that "Jack Black’s performance is perfection personified and deserves 12 Oscars."
A Horse Of A Different Color
Surprisingly, the fact that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is totally different to its predecessor has been praised as a big positive by multiple sources.
Corey Chichizola of CinemaBlend wrote that "The new Jumanji is a ton of fun and succeeds by not trying to make a film even remotely similar to the original. It’s vindicated of comparisons, while also giving a nice nod or two to Robin Williams."
IGN movies also noted how the movie was "light on nostalgia (besides a handful of Easter eggs)" but that this helped the movie develop a character all of its own.
"The Audience Ate It Up"
Back at CinemaCon in April, Jumanji also garnered positive audience reactions. As per the description from Gizmodo, the footage began with four high school kids being ordered to clean the school's basement, where they discovered a mysterious, ancient video game called Jumanji. Their avatars in-game are The Rock, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart, and the series of trials they need to complete to get out become increasingly wilder and more dangerous. As in a video game, each player has three lives. A third death in-game means death for real.
Gizmodo describes the vibe of the movie in more detail:
"The whole thing has a kind of Indiana Jones for kids vibe. Lots of jungle settings, lots of action, running and jumping. Slow motion fights, flame throwers, machine guns. Basically, 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' looks like dumb fun, a good mix of action and laughs with a really great cast. The audience ate it up and it was the main topic of conversation after the presentation, and that’s over Spider-Man: Homecoming."
The Hollywood Reporter was amused by the fact that the pretty girl's avatar in-game is neither pretty nor female, but in fact Jack Black. Karen Gillan's character is dressed like a super-skimpy Lara Croft to parody the fact that that's what female characters looked like in video games in the '90s. Jumanji actually sounds pretty smart.
If Welcome To The Jungle sounds fairly insane, so is its release date — it's going up against Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 22, 2017. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.
Will you be trekking to the jungle for a taste of Jumanji this Christmas?