It has been more than 20 years since Jumanji’s first film debuted with a resounding success. Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 play, the fun story gave life to video game games and inspired longs with a similar style, such as Van Allsburg’s Zathura. However, these never reached the plateau of the original.
Jumanji tells the story of Alan Parrish, a shy boy who, in 1969, finds a board game that names the film. When she decides to play with her friend Sarah Whittle, he is sucked into the game and is never seen again. Decades later, brothers Judy and Peter Shepherd move into Alan’s old house and find the game. Unaware of the magical power of the board, they begin to play and with each release of the dice, jungle animals appear to frighten them. Jumanji then becomes a kind of gateway to a unique jungle. In one of the plays, they are not animals that appear, but the adult version of Alan, played by the unparalleled Robin Williams, who was in this deadly jungle until then.
Believing that they will be grounded, and that winning Jumanji will return their lives to normal, the children continue to play to the end, relying not only on Alan’s help but also with his old friend Sarah, played by Bonnie Hunt. In the end, the bet worked, everything returns to normal and Alan returns to being a child in 1969, as if he had never left the place.
In this time-traveling adventure mix, Jumanji was able to give us that kind of fantastic movie from the 1980s, which in 1990 began to become rarer or less effective. Zathura, who debuted ten years later, did not achieve the same feat and from there it seemed that works inspired by Jumanji would come to an end.
With Dwayne Johnson in the lead role in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the franchise can be refreshed for the present. Although the trailer seems beaten, the new production is hilarious. The plot begins in 1996 with teenager Alex Vreeke ignoring the board game his father found and preferring his video game. However, Jumanji’s magical power turns him into a video game, which fuels the young man’s curiosity. So, Alex is sucked into the jungle in the same way as Alan. Decades later, in these days, four teenagers meet the new Jumanji and start playing. Everyone is then sucked in and for the first time we see the famous jungle.
The comedy appears when we realize that Jumanji not only created avatars for each of these children, but their characters are completely opposite of their personalities. So Spencer Gilpin, a nerd with no confidence in himself, incorporates the strong Dwayne Johnson, Martha, a girl too ashamed, materializes in the beautiful Karen Gillan, Fridge, a strong athlete, becomes the fun Kevin Hart, and finally Bethany , an extremely popular and narcissistic girl, turns into the funny Jack Black. As everyone maintains the same personality in their new bodies, the film becomes hilarious. But it is this crisis in self-perception that makes young people grow.
Even playing with time travel and paying a tribute to the character of Robin Williams (in the jungle there is a tree house with the text “Alan Parrish was here”), the new Jumanji can not and does not try to capture the same fantastic style of the years 80. But focusing on comedy and more modern elements such as video games and social media, the film succeeds in renewing itself successfully.
(This article original language is portuguese. This translation was made with Google Translate)