Movie review: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Movie reviews

Hello!

Another reboot/sequel of a beloved childhood classic has hit theatres, but, this time around, it’s surprisingly good?! This is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle! (That title is awful, though.)

IMDb summary: Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they chose.

Only last year, a 1980s classic, Which was near and dear to a lot of people during their childhood, was remade and the Internet went nuts. However, that Ghostbusters debacle did not stop Hollywood from remaking/attempting to continue another classic property, this time around, from the 1990s. And it looks like the LA suits were right to try: I haven’t seen much hate (barely any) towards the 2017’s a Jumanji. Why is this reboot more acceptable than the Ghostbusters one? Is it the Rock? The Rock and Hart proven combo? The ‘correct’ genders of the characters (mixed cast rather than an all-something reboot)? Or maybe nobody liked Jumanji in the first place as much as I thought they did? I certainly remember the film quite fondly from my childhood.

Writing

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (the duo behind Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Lego Batman), the director Jake Kasdan, and Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner (the writers of the upcoming Venom movie which is currently being filmed). In general, I enjoyed quite a lot of elements of the writing of this film.

To begin with, I thought that the idea to update Jumanji from a board game to a video game was a clever one. However, the way the script went about doing that – just sort of allowing the game to morph by itself – was a bit weird. Also, if they were giving the game an update, why not do a completely contemporary take on it? Make it into a Nintendo Switch type of a thing rather than a very 90s cassette game. What I did like about the video game concept in relation to this film was the fact that the movie overtly and unapologetically used the video game tropes, like the cutscenes, the numbered lives, the strengths/weakness idea, and the different levels. Jumanji might actually be the best video game movie without technically being one

The new characters of Jumanji weren’t bad either. The teenagers/real-life characters got some brief but neat development during the setup, which was nicely built upon during the following adventure. The relationship moments that the characters shared actually provided the picture with some opportunities to explore the ideas of friendship and teamwork. Some nice messages about bravery, self-confidence as well as one’s ability to change were also expressed. The interactions between the characters also resulted in some great humorous moments. The flirting school and the peeing scene were stupid but also hilarious. The switch-ups with the bodies (the nerds becoming athletic and cool; the popular kids being degraded to sidekicks and the comic relief) was another source of jokes for the film.

My main and the only actual critique of the movie was its plot or the set up of it. The game narrative itself was fine and it worked well as an adventure story. However, the way it just came out of nowhere seemed a bit odd. That whole explanation about the stone, the villain, and the curse seemed a bit heavy-handed and too highly fabricated. At least the format of that explanation/set-up (the cutscene) was somewhat meta (explicit in its usage of a trope) and, thus, a bit more interesting.

Lastly, while this film appeared to have been a direct continuation of the original Jumanji with the game itself being found on the beach, where it was last seen, I question whether the people behind-the-scenes are planning to make any further sequels, in case this one is successful. The last scene, which showed the characters breaking the game, suggests that we won’t see any sequels, which is, quite frankly, a shocking thing in today’s mainstream filmmaking business.

Directing

2017’s Jumanji was directed by Jake Kasdan (his last two films were both mediocre Cameron Diaz comedies) and I thought that he crafted quite an entertaining action adventure flick that was so much better constructed that I thought it’d be. The action was inventive enough and energetic. The CGI of the animals could have been a bit better. The pacing was fine for the most part, though the film did slow down a bit towards the end of the second half. Lastly, I’ve noticed (or imagined) some callbacks to other movies in this feature, which seemed like quite neat additions to me: the creepy house and the yellow raincoat reminded me of It, while the biker gang inside the game seemed Mad Max-esque.

Acting

Jumanji’s two casts were both really good. The teenagers/young adult actors – Alex Wolf (Patriot’s Day), Ser’Darius BlainMorgan Turner, and Madison Iseman – were believable and relatable. However, the majority of the film was carried by the video game versions of these characters, played by Dwayne Johnson (Baywatch, FF8, Moana, San Andreas), Kevin Hart (The Secret Life of Pets), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, The Circle), and Jack Black, respectively. Johnson’s and Hart’s chemistry, which blossomed in Central Intelligence, was back in full force in this movie. All of the scenes with the Rock discovering his muscles were incredible and I also appreciated the fact that the film poked fun at his inherent charisma with that ‘smoldering look’ skill. Kevin Hart was amazing and funny too, while Karen Gillan was a complete badass (both as a character and as an actress). Jack Black also surprised me. I have never been much of a fan of his but I highly enjoy seeing him acting as the ‘it’ girl in this film.

A few other characters, worth the mention, were played by Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man). Jonas was okay in the picture but his character was intended to be somewhat of a replacement for Robin Williams character of the original (a person who gets stuck in the game) and, no offense to Nick Jonas, but he could never replace Williams. Cannavale played the villain and he was the worst of the cast, in my mind. I think he went a bit too cartoonish with his performance – yes, there is such a thing as too cartoonish even in a live-action cartoon.

In short, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a surprisingly entertaining adventure movie. It would be the perfect holiday film for the whole family if it wasn’t competing with Star Wars 8.

Rate: 4/5

Trailer: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle trailer

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Swimming marathon: Šveicarija (Switzerland) 2014

Sports

Hello everybody!!

As I have previously mentioned, I am a swimmer. And summer for swimmers means only one thing – open-water swims/championships/competitions. Yesterday (June 22nd) was first of them this year.

To begin with, I would like to clear some things out. In the the title of the post you can see that this swimming marathon is called Switzerland 2014. Switzerland is a name of the country in Europe, but it is also the name of a little village in my country – Lithuania. Near this village there are other villages called London and Paris. This is the map of my country and the red dot is that village with a name of a famous country.

Some facts about the marathon:
Distance: 1.5 km
Water temperature: 17C or 62.6F
Outside temperature: 13C or 55.4F
This was a 5th annual marathon (I have swam in all of them).

So, as you can see the water was warmer than the air. The conditions for swimming were terrible, I have got super cold after first 500 meters, my muscles became tense and it even seemed like my heart stopped beating or slowed down. However, after I finished the distance I felt amazingly, like I have accomplished something great. I live for the feelings like that. This marathon was not as cold as the one 5 years ago. In 2010 the temperature of the water was 14C or 57.2F.

The next marathon will be held on July 6th in my city – Kaunas.

Bellow you will find the photo of the lake we were swimming in and a picture of the medal I won. (I was second in my age group).

Bicycle marathon

Sports

Hello my dear readers!

Sorry for not writing for so log. I was quite busy with school and preparations for prom/senior formal.

Today I am going to tell you about a bicycle marathon which I participated in last weekend. It was my second time competing in this type of competition. I chose the distance of 15.8 km. Other options there 47 km or 103 km.I was definitely not prepared for that much of cycling. In the end, I was very pleased with my result because I haven’t trained much. I’ve got 4th place and did my best time (last year I’ve got 2nd). My friend also participated with me and she got a 3rd place. (I will beat her next year 🙂

The weather was perfect for outdoor competition – chilly but not too cold. However, the wind was really strong and you had to cycle up the mountain against the blowing wind – so that was pretty hard .

Bellow you will find some photos from the event. Next sport post will be either about my swimming competition in Berlin at the begging of June or running marathon on June 15th.

Have a nice weekend and bye:)

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Sunday: Marathon

Sports

Hello!
Today, I am going to tell you about a very special event I participated in – Kauna’s Half-marathon. This marathon was organised for a 2nd time. Last year, I also attended the event and ran 5 km distance,but this year a great bunch of my friend s joined me and we all ran together and had some friendly competition. There were 3 distance to choose from – 5 km, 10 km or 21 km – half marathon distance.
I was quit happy with my result, it is not my best one but still pretty good. All of runners got a commemorative medal, which we can add to our ever growing collections. One of my friends also won a 3rd place, so we were all really happy for her. Bellow you will find couple of photos from the event that I made myself and some links to more professional photos and articles.
I hope all you had great weekend, had plenty of rest and are ready to start a new, productive week Bye 🙂

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