Everyone who grew up during the 90s is well acquainted with Jumanji’s story, about the boy who was dragged into the board game of the same name. The movie was a huge success and guaranteed its place in pop culture. The storyline didn’t really call for a sequel, so how was The Rock’s sequel so successful?
Welcome to the Jungle
Millennials are more prone to nostalgia than other generations. Surely, the entertainment industry is well-aware of it. It’s not a coincidence that so many titles from the 90s are making their way back to the big screens. Star Wars and Jurassic World are a few examples.
Still, there are other ways to cater to this sentiment. The gaming industry has turned nostalgia into a profitable business. The “wild” adventure has also gained versions for PS4, and even slots games, which can be found at the best WV online casinos. The haunted game board used in the original movie was sold for $87,500.
So, even if uncalled for, Jumanji’s sequel, “Welcome to the Jungle,” was a pleasant and welcomed surprise. Yet, nostalgia isn’t the movie’s only attractive feature. The story was finely updated to our days. A character from the 1996 movie was dragged into the game. This character comes back to our days, using slang and pop culture references from that time. Other updates about technology and video games are also sure to score some laughs.
Nostalgia in Hollywood
Millennials are indeed easy prey for nostalgia baits, but the trick isn’t new in Hollywood. We can go back to 1939, when the first Wizard of Oz hit the big screens, based on a book from 1900. The same goes for Tom Sawyer: a movie released in 1930, based on a book from 1876. Nowadays, the sentiment can be summoned by the industry in different ways, not only referencing books.
The director, Jake Kasdan, invested in a very charismatic cast, as did the original movie. Dwayne Johnson comes in place of the sorely missed Robin Williams, followed by Jack Black, Karen Gillian, and Kevin Hart. It looks like a comedy cast, and indeed there are some hilarious moments, but it’s still an adventure movie. Does it follow a direct line from the original, then? Not quite.
The movie begins one year after the story has ended, in 1996. A teenager Alex Vreeke plays Jumanji on a Playstation-like video game. Then the storyline jumps 20 years, straight into 2016. The board’s magical powers were somehow transported to a video game, where the main actors are avatars. Dwayne Johnson is Spencer’s avatar, while Jack Black plays Bethany. Kevin Hart represents Fridge in the game, while Karen Gillian plays Martha.
Although he looks completely different now, Bobby Cannavale, a veteran from the 1996 cast, still plays the villain John Hardin Van Pelt. Jack Black is the avatar of Professor Sheldon Oberon. However, his avatar is played by a teenage girl, who Black recreated to perfection, with voice, facial expressions, etc.
Those expecting to be kicked back to their childhood days won’t be disappointed. Nor will those looking for something more original than a simple reboot. It keeps more than enough references to transport the audience back to the 90s but never lifting a foot from the present. The substitution of a board game by a video game was obvious but added a completely different dynamic to the movie.
Less obvious and quite entertaining, though, is the personality clash between the avatars and their players. Dwayne Johnson plays a shy and nervous teenage boy. Jack Black really looks like the most popular girl at school trapped in an oversized middle-aged man. Kevin Hart plays an over-excited boy, while the nerdy and not-sportive Martha gives life to a Lara Croft-like Ruby Roundhouse. “Welcome to the Jungle” is notalgia bait done right.