Movie Review: Jumanji – Welcome to The Jungle (English)

Movie Review: Jumanji – Welcome to The Jungle (English)

Jumanji Welcome to The Jungle (English) review images

Back in 1995, we saw the release of the Robin Williams film JUMANJI. The film which was an adaptation of the 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg went on to become somewhat of a classic with fans across the world. Now decades later, we see the release of a standalone sequel of the film that features Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale. But will the new age film live up to expectations or will it, like so many other recreations, be a washout is the question.

Titled JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, the film follows four high school kids who after being sent to detention, discover an old video game console and are drawn into the game’s jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. Once in the game, the four discover that you don’t just play Jumanji – you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves – or they’ll be stuck in the game forever, to be played by others without break.

First off, being a standalone sequel to the 1995 film JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE sees a paradigm shift in how the game is played. Unlike the previous film that featured a board game, the new version of the film sees the game being adapted to suit gaming sensibilities of 1996 with Jumanji now featuring as a console based game. But it isn’t just the mode of playing that has changed. In fact, along with it, so have the visuals and story line evolved incorporating new age filmmaking and storytelling abilities. This massive change from the previous film gives JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE plenty of space to work within to provide viewers with a celluloid adventure in the heart of the jungle. Though at first, audiences who have watched the Robin Williams film will be sceptical, the makers of the new film have done a great job in developing a sequel of sorts, while at the same time not affecting the original.

However, given the fact that the film resides firmly within the genre of action, adventure and comedy a sore thought that pops to mind is that most of the gags and comic elements might be disclosed in the trailers, leaving next to nothing new in the final film. But in the case of JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, it comes as a surprise to see that while the trailers of the film have been quite entertaining, the makers of the film have retained enough meat and comic element in the film that will keep the viewer engrossed. Screenplay writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers with assistance from Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner have done a good job of interweaving the thrill of a jungle adventure with well-timed humour and ample doses of slapstick comedy. Similarly, director Jake Kasdan has done a tremendous job of developing the new version of JUMANJI into something that is light and entertaining. Unlike the previous film that featured a rather dark time travelling angle, the new one is much lighter making for an easy viewing experience for kids. Another high point for Kasdan is the way he has managed to tell the story of JUMANJI while simultaneously adapting it to resemble the format that a level based video game follows. This not only makes the film compartmentalized with each section featuring its own high points, but it also gives the audience a new adventure to witness as the segments progress.


Coming to the acting, with a cast comprising of Dwayne Johnson as the nerdy hunk Dr Bravestone, Jack Black as Professor Shelly Oberon, Kevin Hart as Moose Finbar, and Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse, one does not realty expect performances that are worthy of being nominated for awards. However, given the storyline and the humour element in the film, there is plenty of space for ham-acting that makes for an entertaining watch. In fact, in more instances than one, the kind of over the top hamming is a mandate that adds to the overall humour element. With that said, another point that needs to be mentioned is, though humourous, most of the comic element in the film surrounds Jack Black’s character that has undergone a sex change from being a self-centred bimbet in real life to a fat middle aged man in the game. However, despite this, the cast has performed well in their given roles managing to entertain while keeping the audiences in their seat.

Another major advantage for the new JUMANJI film is the advancement in technology and filmmaking capabilities that have greatly enhanced the viewing experience. Thanks to this, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE features some top grade visual effects and CGI that are seamlessly merged with the live action sequences. From the rolling jungle tree tops to the high octane chase sequences and of course the massive animal stampede, the CGI sequences are well developed.

On the whole, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE features a well-adapted storyline and screenplay that has been more than decently directed thus making for a fun watch. With well-timed humour combined with slapstick comedy, the film is certainly worth a watch.

However, at the Indian box office, JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE will grow with word of mouth, as the latest Salman Khan flick TIGER ZINDA HAI continues to enjoy massive support from the audience.

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Movie Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi (English)

Movie Review: Star Wars – The Last Jedi (English)

Star Wars The Last Jed review image

Making a sci-fi film of late has become considerably easier with the advancements in technology. However developing a script and story that truly redefines the genre and holds the viewer in rapture is something that only a few have perfected. This week’s release STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI that comes as the eighth instalment in the epic Star Wars franchise boasts of both these aspects, good visuals coupled with a good script and story. But will the film that already enjoys a massive cult like fan following set new benchmarks at the Indian box office is the question we analyze.

Before we start, since STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is a continuation in a long line of films, there will definitely be throwback references to the previous films, so just in case you think of taking the time to watch this part without an inkling of the previous, you will be left with unanswered questions. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI starts off with the Resistance led by Princess Leia on the run from the First Order that have taken over the galaxy. In a bit to expand their reach across the galaxy, The First Order under the leadership of Supreme Leader Snoke and his lieutenants Kylo Ren and General Hux, have all but obliterated the existence of the Resistance. In the meantime, Rey who had set out on a quest to find Luke Skywalker and being him back to lead the resistance finds the Jedi master who has long since cut himself from the force. Will Rey manage to convince Luke Skywalker to return to the Resistance and fight against the first order? Will Kylo Ren surmount his inner turmoil and become a worthy heir to the Darth Vader mantle? Will the Resistance be vanquished leaving the tyrannical First Order to rule unopposed are some of the questions the film answers.

Much like the previous films in the series, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI boasts of some of the best cinematography that leaves viewers agape. Coupled with this, the seamless visual effects (VFX) and well developed characters, tight script and good screenplay work magic on the big screen. Right from the start, the viewer is transported to the galaxy the previous films have developed, the expanse of the void where the intergalactic battle plays out is awe inspiring, just like the foliage and real world locations that have been used in the film. Though the first half of the film does come across as a bit slow in pace, the happenings on screen do keep you hooked. However, post the interval the pace of the film picks up greatly with light saber battles and of course a grand revelation that Rey happens across. It is here, in the second half of the film where characters that have been laid out in the first come into play. Adding another layer to the film is the lineage it comes from, with the multitude of characters who in this final hour assemble to restore the balance.

Talking about performances, the cast is impeccable right from Daisy Ridley as Rey to Benicio del Toro who is there in a rather limited role as the Master Code Breaker. While Ridley has evolved quite a bit since her last outing as Rey in the franchise, her evolution is plainly visible in the way she handles her mantle and deals with the situations. Adam Driver as Kylo Ren wasn’t quite appreciated in the previous film, however in The Last Jedi, Driver has more than managed to fill the void left behind by Darth Vader, and emerges as a worthy successor.  Mark Hammil, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fischer as Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron and Princess Leia do a perfect job with their characters. Similarly, John Boyega as Finn, the deserting Stormtrooper, does a stellar job of being the accidental hero who wears his heart on his sleeve.

With the cast putting up stellar performances all around, the scripting and story of the film are left with a major onus of being able to keep up. Rian Johnson and George Lucas who have written and developed the characters of the film prove to be more than capable of interweaving each character’s story line with the main subject. In fact, the flawless progression of the story despite the slow moments and the interspersed comic element (which could have been better) make for a wholesome watch. Director Rian Johnson has done a marvellous job of capturing the galactic adventure on a large scale and assisting him with an impeccable background score is John Williams. Interestingly, the background score of the film merges well with the onscreen progressions transporting the viewer into the Star Wars world, while at the same time building up the tempo for a hair-raising climax.

On the whole, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI that aims to please sci-fi fans and of course Star Wars fans across the world could well be termed as one of the new age classics or at least one of the best sequels ever made. However, the lengthy run time of 2 hours 32 minutes might act as a spoiler, but the feeling of grandeur and thrill that one witnesses more than makes up for it.

In the end, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is an intergalactic saga that is definitely a must watch. Being the only major release of the week and given the huge popularity of the franchise, the film should well at the Indian box office.

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