Thursday, January 25, 2018

Jumanji - Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

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I am writing this more for introspection than for the uninitiated to help choose. So there may be spoilers.

Very good pluses of the movie:
  • Unpretentious plot. It is as simple as it gets. As a result, they can repeat the same plot next time by changing the target of the game. It can do 2-3 rounds before it gets boring
  • Not setting up for a sequel. Needs guts as movies like this are money making machines. Of course, if the studio decides, they can always make a convoluted entry back. But the movie ending is unequivocal.
  •  Excellent humor. Non stop, simple and relies on delivery and situational comedy instead of wise-ass quirks. A little like Friends.
  • Great screenplay. With the plot being trivial, its the screenplay that would make or break a movie like this. So it delivers big time. 
One big minus is that the characters figure out what happens to them as they go along. That being the case, when one character dies (loses one of her three lives), she is in essence reborn. When you play a video game, the interpretation is trivial. Here the character experiences this. So dying and being reborn should feel real. It is kind of a big deal. But we audience see this like how we see a character die and come to life when we hold the controls. At least one instance of how the character feels should have been done. I am sure a real experience like this would transform the character totally. The movie takes the easy way out.

The other thing is that one of the characters get sucked into the game at a different year. Others get sucked into the game at a different year. When they are released they go back to their respective years. Now, the "current" of the earliest character and related events automagically change in the present. This is a huge deal and a time-warp of Interstellar or Stephen Hawking proportions. The movie wins because it doesn't try to make sense of these things and takes a trivial approach.

Finally, are there other characters who got sucked into the game at different times? Are they alive in the game? The game is essentially an alternate universe of its own. What happens if they die in the game? How is the bridge between the Jumanji universe and the earth universe maintained? The movie says: I am happy to ignore all these implications. Great, thank you for the honesty and I will take that!

Overall, I loved the humor. And the movie was entertaining throughout. 7/10

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