Jungle all the way

A scene from Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle. Credit: Sony Pictures

Finding a film the whole family can enjoy can be a challenge during the Christmas holidays. We asked budding film critic Rebecca Nel, age 16, to give her verdict on one that might just fit the bill.

Jumanji-Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the original and well-known 1995 Jumanji film.

This action-comedy stars famous actors including Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas. The film is impressive in many aspects including scenery, great casting and the overall enjoyment factor.

The viewer is taken on an exciting journey through an obstacle-filled video game-scape of life-threatening sequences in a fight of the inadvertent heroes against the evil overlord to save the world of Jumanji. With a vague Indiana Jones feel, the sequence is a creative reimagining of the original Jumanji board game storyline.

An unlikely group of teenagers are thrown together in school detention and stumble into the Jumanji video game world. As their game avatars (which may be very different from their real selves, for example one teenage girl plays the game as a middle aged male), the incongruous team must discover their individual strengths and work as a team to pass through a series of levels to win the game, save Jumanji, and return home safely to their teenage selves.

Obstacles include man-eating hippos, poisonous cobras, sneaking past armed guards, and escaping the clutches of Van Pelt, the evil villain of the piece who is under the spell of the precious jewel which must be returned to its rightful resting place.

The film is rated PG, with one mild anatomical reference, but will be enjoyed by families of all ages. The cast do an excellent job of filling out their avatar persona and playing off of each other’s real life personalities and idiosyncrasies, with many laugh-out-loud moments enjoyed by the young viewer in particular.

The storyline includes several moral dilemmas and lessons learned about being yourself, believing in yourself, and living the life you’ve been given before you lose it!

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