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"Jumanji" Returns

By Caitlin Andreasen; For the Clock
On February 11, 2018

Movies are remade for a variety of reasons: to reintroduce the story to a new generation of fans, to update the visual effects using new technology and to make more relevant references to current pop culture. But do all these contributions make the new movie better than the original?

I normally say “no.” I was especially skeptical when I heard about “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.” I went to school in Keene, NH, where the 1995 version was filmed. I passed by the Parrish Shoes (from the fictional Parrish Shoes company in the film) mural almost every day, which served as a shrine to Robin Williams for weeks after his death. You could say that my reluctance to see the remake was sentimental.

But when I did see it, I was pleasantly surprised. Released in December 2017, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” continues the story where Adam Parrish left off.

Jumanji has evolved. Rather than sending challenges into the real world, the game throws players into the jungle. While this virtual world is subject to video game logic, its dangers are very real. And the only way out is by completing the quest and finishing the game.

The movie starts out with a very “Breakfast Club” vibe--an athlete, a popular girl, a nerd and a timid bookworm are forced to spend detention together. When they find the video game, the avatar they each are stuck with contradicts their apparent personalities and breaks down the associated stereotypes.

Karen Gillian, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black deliver great performances as Ruby Roundhouse, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, Moose Finbar and Professor Shelley Oberon.

If you are looking for comedy and adventure, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is worth watching. If you are a fan of the 1995 version, don’t worry, there are plenty of nods to Robin Williams.

But the question remains, is the remake better than the original? It’s a tough competition, but I don’t think a new movie can ever truly compete with a childhood favorite.


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