Get ready to see the jungle prison where Robin Williams’ Alan Parrish spent the entirety of his adult life! That’s where we’re headed with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the sequel that adds video game and another convoluted level of magic to the Jumanji mythos.
The film follows the Power Rangers format of swiping the Breakfast Club setup and adding little glowing gems. Four conspicuously-archetypical, diverse teens are thrown together in detention and given the task of cleaning the school’s basement. Inexplicably, there they find a late-’70s gaming console with a couple peculiarities. Its graphics are unexpectedly crisp, and more integral to the plot, it’s got a luminous green rock on it that sucks players into the trademarked world of Jumanji.
Once the concept of selecting a character in a video game is needlessly spelled out, the kids are transported to the jungle, where they find that the characters they chose have become their mismatched physical bodies. The skinny nerd becomes The Rock; the pretty, popular girl becomes Jack Black (“I’m an overweight, middle-aged man,” she explains after gazing upon her unspeakably-poor CGI reflection); the burly jock becomes shorter as Kevin Hart; and the bookish, overlooked girl becomes a scantily-clad Karen Gillan. Aided by special video game powers, the group must face Jumanji’s many jungle dangers—like its jungle cats, and its jungle gangs of violent bikers. In other words, it’s not really all that much like Jumanji at all. It’s more like one of Dwayne Johnson’s Journey films meets a body-swapping comedy.
Sex Tape‘s Jake Kasdan directed the film. Bobby Cannavale, Rhys Darby, Nick Jonas, and the killer from Too Many Cooks co-star. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hits theaters December 20.