I wasn't looking forward to this as soon as I saw the trailer. Jumanji is a classic movie, and this seemed like a shameless cash in. Still, I had some hope that it would surprise me, everything deserves a chance, right? This is Jumanji, but not as you know it. It starts in 1996, where the titular board game is found washed ashore, and given to a teenage boy who says that nobody plays board games anymore, despite the fact that the board games industry has soared in recent years. Anyway, apparently the game takes note, as overnight it transforms itself into a video game cartridge instead. Because this movie is down with the kids.
Fast forward to present day, and four unsuspecting kids find themselves sucked into the game when they try to play it, and transformed into characters that are not like them in real life. The awkward nerd is now The Rock! The burly guy is now Kevin Hart! The self absorbed teenager is Jack Black! Get used to those hilarious switcheroos, because that's the basis of most of the jokes in this movie, and the foundation for what little story line there is. I wanted to like this movie, I wanted to be proven wrong, and see that Hollywood might have some integrity left, but this is just a bad movie. The characterisation is terrible. You can pretty much guess everyone's progression from the moment you see them. The anxious nerd learns to be brave, the self-absorbed girl learns to be... not so self-absorbed. It's cookie cutter stuff, and I will say that the actors do a pretty good job with working with the crappy material they have. Kudos especially to Jack Black, who plays a teenage girl surprisingly well.
The story is terrible, with plot points and set pieces only laid out to set up a joke or carry on the meaningless character development. Our heroes have to save the jungle, but all the villain does is show up every now and then and tell them to surrender, he's far from menacing and has no impact on the story whatsoever. Action scenes are drawn out and unimpressive, it's just a bit of a mess really. There are a lot of jokes packed in there, and a few did draw a chuckle out of me, but it wasn't nearly enough to make this even an average movie in my eyes. My suspicions were correct, this is a poor movie with the Jumanji name needlessly slapped onto it, they could have just made a movie about people being sucked into a video game under a different name, but clearly they want that nostalgia money. I'd say don't give them the satisfaction.
My rating: 2/5