Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Some casting decisions produce legendary results. Sean Connery as Bond! Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster! The minute I saw Dwayne Johnson in the unbuttoned work shirt, head glistening as an adventurer without weakness, handling a Black Mamba, fighting off jaguars and hoisting himself into a helicopter, it resonated that if tinted golden, he’d be the perfect embodiment of James Bama’s Doc Savage! In fact, this juvenile jungle journey would’ve made for a stellar introduction for that character. Instead, it’s an unrelated reboot of a twenty-year-old franchise when four kids find themselves in detention on the same day and discover a Nintendo version of the old board game Jumanji, where their adult avatars must maneuver various levels to escape. Bringing along their adolescent personalities, Dr. Bravestone (Johnson), their leader, remains true to his nerdy roots, accompanied by his jock/friend Fridge (Kevin Hart), the team zoologist; a self-centered girl obsessed with her social media presence who finds herself trapped in the body of Jack Black as a middle-aged professor; and an awkward, socially inept loner (Karen Gillan from Doctor Who) who is now the scantily-clad “man killer” kung fu expert! Along their way various artifacts lead them on a quest full of penis jokes, hungry hungry hippos and ruminations on their high school status before they learn that their tenure in the game has dire consequences.