Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.
Cue the catchy drum beat because the classic game is back, but this time with a modern twist. With a nod to the original, the movie opens with Jumanji being unearthed from its forgotten place, buried in the sand. In order to ensnare the teenage mind of 1996, the board game, Jumanji, transforms itself into a video game cartridge, then is lost from memory until modern day.The story picks up following the very different lives of four different teenagers who have all found themselves in detention. In a scene which makes anyone born before the year 2000 feel very old, they agree to play the game and are immediately sucked into the virtual world of Jumanji. There they discover that their bodies have been traded in for the game’s avatars and cannot escape Jumanji’s jungle unless they beat the game. From beginning to end, the movie seeks to achieve one goal: make you laugh. Whether it’s a nerd discovering himself assuming the monstrous body of Dwayne Johnson, the teenage beauty lamenting the fact that she’s been given the body of Jack Black, or Kevin Hart’s dramatic and self-deprecating humor, the movie is loaded with moments to widen your eyes, drop your jaws, and keep you laughing the whole way through. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does itself a favor by remaking the original in its title only. Director Jake Kasdan made the right decision when he decided to tell an entirely different story. Unlike the original, this film comedically critiques video game culture which is sure to make anyone who has played a game or two laugh out loud while also exploiting the humorous gold mine that is the angst of the modern teenager when placed in dangerous and adventurous situations. Like I said, from beginning to end, this movie will keep you laughing. However, the laughs might feel like a moral compromise for some because of where the humor is sourced. Here’s where Dove comes in. Though we can attest to an all-around playful vibe of the movie, it’s important to our audience that we are clear to note that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle does not get Dove’s Seal of Approval, and if you’re concerned about content at all for your family, it’s best to stay home on this one. If, however, you’re wanting to risk it, here’s what you can expect. Language plays a significant role in the comedic delivery of this film. This is Kevin Hart’s specialty, and though the film only earns a PG-13 rating, it does exceed Dove’s limit for language. The other strikes against Jumanji come from their usage of sexual humor. Though the sexualization of the primary female character in the film is itself a comedic critique of the sexualization of female characters in video games, she is nevertheless the subject of several moments of crass joking. Furthermore, since the film is about teenagers taking the forms of new bodies (some of the opposite sex), one can guess the sort of humor that would ensue as they explore their new bodies.