Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, review: ‘I’m Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, with people who you have heard of’

PUBLISHED: 12:30 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:32 18 December 2017

Jumanji with Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black. Picture: Frank Masi/Sony

Jumanji with Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan and Jack Black. Picture: Frank Masi/Sony

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This has four teenagers sucked into an old video game, in avatar form. Having them go to the jungle, rather than the jungle come to them, is an inherently duller proposition.

This sorta-sequel to the 90s Robin Williams film about a board game that comes to life, flips the original’s concept on its head; and comes up with something much less interesting.

The original had a board game where the jungle creatures in it escaped and ran wild in the real world; this has four teenagers sucked into an old video game, in avatar form. Having them go to the jungle, rather than the jungle come to them, is an inherently duller proposition.

All it offers you, basically, is a series of I’m Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, with people who you have heard of. It’s all about four celebrities performing pointless tasks in a very tame jungle to win rewards so that they can go back home.

Now there’s some fun to be had in all this. The vain selfie queen gets stuck inside a Jack Black avatar, the nerdy boy inside musclebound Johnson, etc. The problem is that this is a very dull jungle, with a dull villain (Cannavale), and dull CGI panthers and rhinos. Basically, it’s like Jurassic Park without dinosaurs; or Skull Island without King Kong.

It has one big plus point: it’s a teen comedy where the teenagers are completely marginalised. We open in a Breakfast Club situation with four kids, all of different types – the weakling swot, Ms social media, the outsider, the football player - being brought together in detention. And then no sooner have we met them, then the grown-ups swan in and take their places.

Usually, when Hollywood goes back to the past and does up an old property they tend to make it bigger and overblown. New Jumanji seems remarkably small scale. There doesn’t look like there are 22 years between this and the original. Which may work for it; there’s a raging nostalgia for 80s naffness right now. It may be a redoing of a 90s film but it has so much 80s naffness that even modern day visual effects can’t put a shine to it.

Go to www.halfmanhalfcritic.com for a review of the Arrow Films Blu-ray release of the original Carrie.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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