|Directed by||:||Jake Kasdan||Produced by||:||Matt Tolmach, William Teitler||Story by||:||Chris McKenna||Starring||:||Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale||Production company||:||Gyula Pados.||Distributed by||:||Sony Pictures, Entertainment|
From its inception, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle seemed like a really bad idea. A sequel to a mediocre Robin Williams movie from the 90s, which can’t even benefit from a Harrison Ford-like cameo from the beloved late comedian? The whole project reeks of cynicism, every ‘Hollywood has run out of ideas’ thinkpiece’s greatest confirmation that studio executives care more about empty nostalgia and celebrity casting than the crafting of quality entertainment. (Its biggest mistake is confusing a cheeky Guns ‘N Roses poster tagline for a legitimate, workable subtitle.) That being said, if you’re willing to lean into the movie’s complete and utter stupidity, Jumanji might just stumble through its languorous two-hour runtime on sheer charm.
Jumanji: Sweet Child O’ Mine picks up immediately where the first left off, with a plucky teen (Nick Jonas) in 1996 finding the titular board game on a beach and bringing it home. “Who plays board games anymore?” complains Jonas; as if on cue, the game magically transforms itself into an old Atari cartridge (Why Atari? He was literally just playing a Playstation a minute ago), which sucks him into the game immediately upon starting. Cut to twenty years later, when a group of mismatched teens – nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff), football jock “Fridge” (Ser’Darius Blain), bookish Martha (Morgan Turner) and selfie-obsessed Bethany (Madison Iseman) – find the game in a donation box at school during detention. They turn on the game, pick their characters, and are sucked in likewise.