Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson … Dr. Smolder Bravestone
Kevin Hart … Moose Finbar
Jack Black … Professor Shelly Oberon
Karen Gillan … Ruby Roundhouse
Missi Pyle … Coach Webb
Bobby Cannavale … Van Pelt
Rhys Darby … Nigel
Tim Matheson … Old Man Vreeke
Madison Iseman … Bethany
Nick Jonas … Alex
See all »
|Director:||Jake Kasdan—“Sex Tape” (2014), “Bad Teacher” (2011), “Funny People” (2009), “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” (2007)|
See all »
Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures
High school! It’s such a jungle. No, really! Everyone’s trying to figure out who they are and who they want to become. Take Spencer for example. He’s always been known as the “nerd,” and he’s been working so hard to rekindle an old friendship with Fridge, who has his own set of problems, that he’s tried to restore by writing Fridge’s papers and helping him with his homework, so that Fridge doesn’t get kicked off the team.
Or perhaps take Martha. Martha’s one of those girls who doesn’t speak unless spoken to, keeping herself hidden, but, also, as we see in one instance, not hesitant to question something she doesn’t see purpose in. And, of course, there’s Bethany, the popular girl that everyone looks up to but somewhere in the midst of all that, she’s forgotten about the rest of the world and the true potential she can play in it.
So what brings these four, let’s say, misfits together? Detention. Spencer and Fridge for Spencer writing Fridge’s papers, Martha for insulting the gym teacher and Bethany for video chatting during a class. As the students are cleaning up the school basement as part of their detention, they come across a mysterious video game (once an old board game that mysteriously, in a revealed flashback, turned into a video game) called “Jumanji.” The kids decide to plug it in and select their characters for the game. Then things start to happen…
Soon the kids are digitized and sucked into the game console. When they arrive, they realize they are not themselves. Spencer has become Dr. Smolder Bradstone, Fridge has become Moose Finbar, Martha has become Ruby Roundhouse, and Bethany has become Professor Shelly Oberon. What’s worse, they find that they are trapped in the game “Jumanji,” and, as they learn, the only way to win and return to the real world is to return the Jaguar Diamond to Jaguar Mountain, while avoiding man-eating rhinos and hippos, jaguars, snakes and pretty much every other element a jungle can throw at you.
Welcome to the jungle.
I remember the first time I watched the original “Jumanji.” At the time, I was too young to really appreciate all the subtle nuances and comedic moments the original film had to offer. It would be a long time before I watched it again and when I finally did I picked up on those subtle nuances comedic moments, morals and messages that I hadn’t gotten the first time around. Only then was I able to understand the filmmaking value a movie like “Jumanji” had and that only a legend such as Robin Williams, could make a film like “Jumanji” everything it was meant to be.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the first film, “Jumanji,” was released and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” reminds us of this, but in a reserved and respectable manner. As the producers intended, and is clear through the overall direction and delivery of the film, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” tries to separate itself from the original, serving as a fine sequel to the original, but standing its ground and declaring itself as its own film. This is accomplished through the wonderful performances of the leads (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, etc.) who, quite honestly, have excellent comedic chemistry on screen, as well as a fairly strong plot with relatively even pacing, with the exception of the inclusion of a villain who doesn’t have much of a role.
Foul Language: There’s a lot of it and some of it is downright vulgar. Profanity is very heavy. God’s name is misused 18 times, Jesus’ name is misused once, plus “H*ll” 18 times, and “d*mn” (2). Vulgarity includes “a**” (13), “sh*t” (4), “boob,”, “fr*ckin,”, “b*tch,” and “scr*wed.” Phrases included characters mentioning that someone should “hook up with anyone you want” or “hit that” (aka have sex), the phrase “tool kit,” “sucks” (2), “d**chebag” (1), and p*nis (2)—“There’s a p*nis attached to my body” and “Martha, come look at my p*nis,” “Its like having a handle,” “It’s huge” and “Oh my G*d, these things are crazy,” “Gotta take a leak.” The lyrics of a song played during the end credits includes the words, “you're a very sexy girl very hard to please. …Feel my, my, my, my serpentine…I, I wanna hear you scream… And when you're high you never ever want to come down…”
Sensuality/Sexual Content/Nudity: Very Heavy. Bethany is seen in small shorts and a revealing shirt while taking flirtatious “selfies” for her ex-boyfriend. Martha’s character in the game, Susan, wears a short midriff and short-shorts for the entire movie. Bethany/Professor Oberon makes multiple comments throughout the movie about her fascination over male body parts and the body she now has (male). There is an extensive scene where Fridge/Moose is providing Bethany/Professor Oberon a tutorial about how to urinate for the first time (Dr. Bradstone even chimes in) with some of the conversation becoming quite inappropriate. Martha/Susan presses her breasts to find out her character’s skills. There is an inappropriate male arousal moment in the film (implied but never shown). Two characters attempt to kiss each other at first, and eventually do kiss each other for real at the end of the film.
Violence: A couple characters are seen being eaten by animals (one is eaten by a jaguar, one by a hippo, and another by a rhino), but, since they are game characters, they come back to life after they die (in fact, any time they are killed they reappear quickly). The deaths are not graphic and are quick. Characters engage in combat with enemies and are shot at and chased several times. There are a couple scenes with explosions. A scorpion kills one of the henchmen (again, nothing graphic).
At one point, Spencer/Dr. Bradstone contemplates returning to the real world, stating that in the game he’s this whole other person that he doesn’t have to hide. Martha/Susan reassures him that his life in the real world is what really matters and that he should embrace who he is and not be afraid.
Likewise, our Creator created us in His image, in his likeness, and we are not to be ashamed of this, including the skills he has given us. Since we are created in His image, we are precious in his eyes, and He only wants us to use the gifts and talents he has given us to His glory and to not be ashamed to be whom he has called us to be.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. –Psalm 139:13-14
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. —2 Peter 1:3-4
“…Welcome to the Jungle,” in my opinion, serves as strong sequel to the original “Jumanji” and would be worth recommending if it weren’t for the over abounding and unnecessary amount of profanity and sexual dialog and suggestive content presented throughout the film. It is sad, honestly, because there is a lot going for the film, such as a fairly strong plot and some strong performances. As the film stands, however, “…Welcome to the Jungle” is not warranted for Christian viewing or by children. This sequel, should you choose to view it, is for young adults and adults ONLY.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.