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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13)
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This 2017 movie is a sequel to the 1995 movie Jumanji. It's both more of an action-adventure movie and more of a comedy than the original, which was more of a family film than this. Another major difference is that while the original had characters who had been in the world of the game "Jumanji," but was entirely set in our world, this movie is mostly set in the fantasy world.

It begins with a man finding the Jumanji board game buried at the beach in 1996, and giving the game to his son, Alex Vreeke. Alex isn't interested in board games, but that night, the contents of the game's box transform into a video game cartridge. The story then jumps forward twenty years or so. We meet four high school students who all end up in detention. A boy named Spencer Gilpin has been doing homework assignments for a football player named Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, with whom he used to be friends, when they were younger. Meanwhile, a popular girl named Bethany Walker gets detention for refusing to put away her cell phone while in class. And a shy, unathletic girl named Martha Kaply gets detention for insulting her gym teacher (Missi Pyle). Spencer is impressed by Martha, and apparently has a crush on her. The principal (played by Marc Evan Jackson), makes the four of them clean up the school's basement for their punishment. While doing so, they find an old game console, the very one Alex had been using twenty years earlier. (How it got in the school basement, I have no idea.)

They begin playing the game, which has five characters, one of which is already taken. That, of course, is Alex; he's been stuck in Jumanji as one of the game's avatars, Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough (Nick Jonas), ever since 1996. Spencer's avatar is Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). Fridge's avatar is Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart). Bethany's is Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon (Jack Black). And Martha's is a badass named Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). When they find themselves transported into the game, Bethany is upset to find herself in the body of an overweight, middle-aged man. And Fridge is upset to find himself in the body of a short man. But Spencer and Martha don't have much to complain about, in that department. Anyway, the Jumanji world of the video game seems to be the same as the world of the board game, but apparently because of the different format, the rules are somewhat different. Whereas in the first movie, Alan Parrish had no way to finish playing the game once he got trapped in it, because the game itself was still in the real world, this time around the characters can finish the game themselves. But it's not going to be easy.

Well, I don't want to reveal too much about the plot from this point on. But they do eventually find Seaplane, who has been staying in a shelter that was previously built by Parrish during his own time there. Seaplane/Alex has no idea so much time has passed, however; it just seems like a few weeks or so. (Which is odd, considering Parrish was certainly aware of the passage of time. But maybe that's because he was experiencing it in his own body.) Of course, it's totally predictable that the five of them do finally win the game and return to the real world, though it should also come as no surprise to anyone who's seen the first movie that Alex returned to 1996. And the four teenagers then meet adult Alex (Colin Hanks) in their own time.

Anyway... I thought it was a pretty fun and amusing movie, with a great cast, and some actual character development. And I dunno what else to tell you.


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