Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Movie


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

In a brand-new Jumanji adventure, four high-school kids discover an old video-game console and are drawn into the game's jungle setting, literally becoming the adult avatars they chose. What they discover is that you don't just play Jumanji--you must survive it. To beat the game and return to the real world, they must go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, discover what Alan Parrish left 20 years ago, and change the way they think about themselves --or they'll be stuck in the game forever, to be played by others without break.
USA
India
Canada
IMDb   6.9 /10
Metacritic   58 %
TheMovieDb    6.8 /10
RottenTomatoes
FilmAffinity   5.3 /10
Creators
Director Jake Kasdan
Writer Chris McKenna
Writer Erik Sommers
Writer Scott Rosenberg
Writer Jeff Pinkner
Writer Chris Van Allsburg
Writer Greg Taylor
Writer Jonathan Hensleigh
Information
Release Date2017-12-20
Runtime1h 59mins
GenreAction, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
Content RatingPG-13 (PG-13)
Awards6 wins & 19 nominations.
CompanyColumbia Pictures, Matt Tolmach Productions, Radar Pictures
CountryUSA, India, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany
LanguageEnglish

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a 2017 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan, co-written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, and Jeff Pinkner, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, and Bobby Cannavale. It is the third installment of the Jumanji franchise, after Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and it is a direct sequel to Jumanji (1995), which was based on the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The story focuses on a group of teenagers who come across Jumanji—now transformed into a video game—twenty-one years after the events of the 1995 film. They find themselves trapped in the game as a set of adult avatars, seeking to complete a quest alongside another player who has been trapped since 1996.

Principal photography began in Honolulu in September 2016 and ended in Atlanta in December, with the film containing notable references to the first film as a tribute to its lead actor Robin Williams. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle premiered at the Grand Rex in Paris on December 5, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on December 20, in RealD 3D, IMAX 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, and 4DX formats by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for its humor and performances. The movie grossed over $962 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2017. The sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, was released in December 2019.


Plot

In 1996, Brantford teenager Alex Vreeke receives Jumanji, which was previously disposed of by Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle, from his father, who discovered it buried at a beach while on a jog. Unimpressed, Alex sets it aside, only to find it transformed into a video game cartridge later that night. Opting to play the game, he is suddenly sucked inside of it upon choosing a character. His disappearance results in his father becoming despondent and their home falling into disrepair.

In the present day, four high school students – awkward Spencer Gilpin, athlete Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, cynical Martha Kaply and self absorbed Bethany Walker – are sent by Principal Bentley to clean the school's basement for detention – Bethany for talking on her phone during class, Martha for refusing to participate in physical education, and Spencer and Fridge for the former writing the latter's essay assignment for him as it was considered cheating. Fridge discovers Alex's discarded video game system, which he and Spencer decide to play and encourage the girls to join them. Upon starting the game, they are sucked into Jumanji, appearing as their chosen characters – Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Spencer), Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Fridge), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Bethany), and Ruby Roundhouse (Martha). While coming to terms with their situation, the group finds three marks on their arms denoting lives. Spencer theorizes that if they lose all three, they will die in real life. The group encounters the game's non-player character guide Nigel Billingsley who provides them with the game's narrative and their characters' backstories. The group learns that their goal is to end a curse on Jumanji, brought about by treacherous archaeologist Professor Russell Van Pelt after he stole a magical jewel called the "Jaguar's Eye" from its shrine and gained control of all the jungle's animals, casting a terrible curse upon Jumanji. Nigel hands Spencer the jewel, having stolen it from Van Pelt, and instructs the group to return it to a statue at the shrine and call out "Jumanji" to lift the curse and leave the game before driving off.

Coping with their avatars, their "weaknesses", Van Pelt's men, and Spencer and Fridge's animosity towards each other, the group encounter Alex operating the fifth avatar – pilot Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough – who takes them to a treehouse that Alan Parrish built during his tenure in Jumanji after saving them from Van Pelt's men. Upon realizing his identity, the group is collectively shocked upon learning how long he has been trapped in the game, although Alex thought he'd only been there a few months. Now with a common goal, the group vows to help Alex return home with them.

Dealing with further problems while heading for the shrine, the group coordinates to overcome them. They eventually reach the shrine, but Van Pelt corners them. Working together, Fridge, Bethany, and Alex distract him while Spencer and Martha outmaneuver him with the game's mechanics, returning the jewel to the statue. Upon calling out Jumanji, the group destroys Van Pelt and, after sharing a handshake with Nigel, returns to the real world.

Returning to the school basement, the group finds Alex is not with them. While walking home, they unexpectedly find the Vreeke home restored and decorated for a Christmas family gathering. The group is greeted by the now-adult Alex, who explains that he managed to miraculously return to 1996, which allowed him to alter the timeline and lead a married life with children. His daughter is named after Bethany in honour of her previous selfless decision to sacrifice one of her lives for Alex.

The group becomes friends after their experiences in the game, with Bethany becoming a better person, Spencer and Fridge patching things up, and Spencer starting a relationship with Martha. Later, when Jumanji begins to emit its drumbeats, Fridge destroys the game with a bowling ball to prevent it from endangering anyone else.


Cast

  • Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Gilpin: An intelligent, but unconfident and neurotic high school student. In Jumanji, he is transformed into Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone, a strong, confident archaeologist and explorer. Alex Wolff as Spencer in the real world.
  • Alex Wolff as Spencer in the real world.
  • Kevin Hart as Anthony "Fridge" Johnson: A high school football player whose friendship with Spencer has deteriorated due to their different social statuses. In Jumanji, he is transformed into Franklin "Mouse" Finbar, a diminutive zoologist and weapons carrier. Ser'Darius Blain as Fridge in the real world.
  • Ser'Darius Blain as Fridge in the real world.
  • Jack Black as Bethany Walker: A popular and vain high school student. In Jumanji, she is transformed into Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon, an overweight, male expert in many scientific fields including cartography. Madison Iseman as Bethany in the real world.
  • Madison Iseman as Bethany in the real world.
  • Karen Gillan as Martha Kaply: A quiet and shy high school student with a cynical intellect. In Jumanji, she is transformed into Ruby Roundhouse, a scantily-clad commando. Morgan Turner as Martha in the real world.
  • Morgan Turner as Martha in the real world.
  • Nick Jonas as Alex Vreeke: A teenager who has been trapped in Jumanji since 1996. In the game, he is transformed into Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough, an aircraft pilot.Mason Guccione as teenage Alex and Colin Hanks as adult Alex in the real world.
  • Mason Guccione as teenage Alex and Colin Hanks as adult Alex in the real world.
  • Bobby Cannavale as Professor Russell Van Pelt: An NPC presented as a corrupt archaeologist and former partner of Bravestone's. The character is a reimagined version of the Van Pelt from the original film.
  • Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley: An NPC in Jumanji who serves as the primary guide for its players.

Additionally, Marin Hinkle, Tracey Bonner, and Natasha Charles Packer play Janice Gilpin, the mothers of Spencer, Fridge, and Bethany respectively. Appearing as staff members of Brantford High School are Marc Evan Jackson as Principal Bentley, Carlease Burke as history teacher Miss Mathers, Missi Pyle as gym teacher Coach Webb, and Maribeth Monroe as Bethany's English teacher. Kat Altman portrays Bethany's friend Lucinda and Michael Shacket portrays Spencer's friend Fussfeld. William Tokarsky and Rohan Chand appear as a food vendor and a boy, respectively, in the video game's marketplace. Alex's father is played by Sean Buxton in 1996 and an uncredited Tim Matheson in the present day.


Production

Development

Plans for a Jumanji sequel were put ahead by Sony Pictures Entertainment in the late 1990s. As reported by Ain't It Cool News, a stand-alone sequel entitled Jumanji 2 was in development in 1999. The plot of the story involved John Cooper, the President of the United States, buying Jumanji from an old antique store in Europe and bringing it to the White House to play it with his children (one of whom, Butch, just wants a dad not a President for a father). Cooper then gets sucked into the world of Jumanji, paving the way for his evil Vice President, who was supposed to be played by Steve Buscemi, to rise to power as Cooper's replacement. Inside the game, Cooper would have teamed up with hybrid animals, which were going to be animated with CGI; Sony Pictures Consumer Products executive VP of worldwide consumer products Peter Dang revealed prototype drawings of animals that may have appeared in the film, all designed by Ken Ralston, who served as visual effects supervisor in the original film and was planned to make his directorial debut with Jumanji 2, slated for a Christmas 2000 release date. Ralston eventually stepped down and the project stalled, albeit the DVD commentary of the first film still references a sequel directed by Ralston.

In July 2012, rumors circulated that a remake of Jumanji was in development. Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad said: "We're going to try and reimagine Jumanji and update it for the present." On August 1, 2012, it was confirmed that Matthew Tolmach would produce the new version with William Teitler (who produced the original film). In August 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the film was scheduled for release on December 25, 2016. Online reception to the news was negative, with some saying that the announcement came too soon after the death of Robin Williams in August 2014 (who played Alan Parrish in the original film). The announcement was criticized by Bradley Pierce (who played Peter Shepherd in Jumanji) and by E! News, which called the remake "unnecessary and kind of insulting". On October 23, 2015, Scott Rosenberg was hired to rewrite the script for the film, whose production was a high priority for the studio. On January 14, 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Jake Kasdan had been hired to direct the film from a script by Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner based on a draft by original writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

In March 2017, during CinemaCon, it was announced that the film's complete title was Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Its plot involved teenagers cleaning out a school's basement who find a vintage video-game version of Jumanji and are sucked into the first film's jungle setting. Although fans debated whether the film was a sequel or a reboot, the second trailer (released on September 20, 2017) indicated that the sequel is set 21 years after the first. Dwayne Johnson noted that the film was inspired by classic video games of the 1990s. The film had used the working title "Jumanji" and the final title and the use of the song "Welcome to the Jungle" was suggested by Jack Black.

Casting

On April 15, 2016 Variety reported that Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart were in early talks to star in the film (although both actors had other projects). Later in the month, Johnson confirmed his casting on Instagram. In July, it was reported that Nick Jonas had joined the film's cast with Johnson, Hart, and Jack Black. The following month, Johnson said that the film would not be a reboot but a continuation of the 1995 film; Karen Gillan was announced as part of the cast. On September 20, Ser'Darius Blain was cast as Anthony "Fridge" Johnson and Madison Iseman as Bethany Walker. Two days later, Rhys Darby was cast as Nigel Billingsley, Morgan Turner as Martha Kaply, and Alex Wolff as Spencer Gilpin. In November 2016, Bobby Cannavale announced his casting in the film, and in December 2016, Tim Matheson joined the cast as Old Man Vreeke.

Filming

Principal photography began on September 19, 2016, in Honolulu, Hawaii, primarily at the Kualoa Ranch nature reserve. The film wrapped on December 8 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Music

James Newton Howard was originally signed to compose the film's score, he was replaced by Henry Jackman when the film's release date was postponed six months. The soundtrack was released digitally on 15 December 2017 by Sony Masterworks.

Visual effects

The visual effects are provided by Iloura and Supervised by Glenn Melenhorst with help from Moving Picture Company, Ollin VFX and Rodeo FX.


Release

In August 2015, Sony gave the film a release date of December 25, 2016. Since filming did not begin until September 2016, the release was pushed back to July 28 and then to December 20, 2017.

On November 29, 2017, it was announced that Amazon Prime members in the United States would have early access to tickets for a December 8 screening of the film at select Regal, National Amusements, ArcLight Cinemas and AMC theaters. The screenings sold out at 1,200 theaters and earned $1.9 million. The film was released on IMAX 2D on January 12, 2018.

In India, the film was released in English, Tamil, Hindi & Telugu languages on December 20, 2017, while in China, the film was released on December 29, 2017.

Media

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was released on Digital HD on March 6, 2018, and on DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D (excluding North America) and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on March 20, although the film was still in theaters. The Blu-ray and digital versions include two additional featurettes: "Surviving the Jungle: Spectacular Stunts!" and "Book to Board Game to Big Screen & Beyond! Celebrating The Legacy of Jumanji".


Reception

Box office

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle grossed $404.6 million in the United States and Canada and $557.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $962.1 million. On April 10, 2018, the film passed Spider-Man ($403.7 million) to become Sony's highest-grossing film domestically. Deadline Hollywood calculated its net profit as $305.7 million when factoring all expenses and revenues, making it 2017's fourth-most-profitable release.

In the U.S. and Canada, the film was released on December 20, 2017, with The Greatest Showman and was projected to gross about $60 million from 3,765 theaters in its six-day opening weekend; the studio predicted a $45 million debut. It earned $7.2 million on its first day and $7.6 million on its second day. Over the three-day weekend, the film grossed $36.2 million (for a six-day total of $71.9 million), finishing second at the box office behind Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Its weekend-only earnings increased to $50.1 million during its second weekend, again finishing in second place at the box office. The 38.4 percent weekend-to-weekend increase was the fourth-largest for a film playing in over 3,000 theaters; The Greatest Showman set the record for best hold the same weekend. The film passed Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the top spot the following weekend, declining 28.1 percent to $36 million, and finished first again the following week with $28.1 million (and a total of $35.2 million over the four-day MLK weekend). Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle remained atop the box office for its third weekend, earning $19.5 million.

It again topped the box office for a fourth consecutive week (its sixth week overall in theatres) with $19.5 million, topping new releases 12 Strong and Den of Thieves. The film continued to do well the following week, dropping 16 percent (to $16.1 million) and finishing second to Maze Runner: The Death Cure, before regaining the top spot for a fifth time the following weekend with $10.9 million.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle concluded 2017 as the fifth highest-grossing film of the year worldwide.

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 238 reviews, and an average rating of 6.20/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle uses a charming cast and a humorous twist to offer an undemanding yet solidly entertaining update on its source material." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 84% positive score.

Dave White of TheWrap praised the cast and called the film a pleasant surprise: "Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is the Christmas tentpole release that aims to please and succeeds, a funny family entertainment product that subverts more expectations than it was obligated to contractually". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes "enough star power and comic zest to deliver a fun time at the movies ... barely" and praises the cast, particularly Jack Black as hilarious and for finding the "vulnerable heart" of the character. Travers gives the film 2.5 stars out of 4. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian newspaper gives the film 3 out of 5 stars. Bradshaw praises Johnson for his "endearing performance" and calls it an "amiable effort" expects that will go down well on home viewings.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire gave the film a C grade, calling it unnecessary but mildly amusing: "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is further proof that even the stalest whiff of brand recognition has become preferable to originality. Only part of the blame for that belongs to the studios but after cannibalizing themselves for much of the last 20 years, Hollywood has clearly eaten their way down to the crumbs". For Variety, Owen Gleiberman wrote: "Excitement! Suspense! Childlike innocence! Ingeniously staged action set pieces! These are a few of the things you will not find, anywhere, in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle ... It's supposed to be a board game come to life but really, it's just a bored game."

Accolades

YearAwardCategoryRecipientsResultRef.
2018Kids' Choice AwardsKids' Choice Award for Favorite MovieJumanji: Welcome to the JungleWon
Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite ActorDwayne JohnsonWon
Kevin HartNominated
MTV Movie & TV AwardsBest Comedic PerformanceJack BlackNominated
Best On-Screen TeamDwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Nick JonasNominated
Saturn AwardsBest Fantasy FilmJumanji: Welcome to the JungleNominated
Teen Choice AwardsChoice Comedy MovieNominated
Choice Comedy Movie ActressKaren GillanNominated
Choice Comedy Movie ActorDwayne JohnsonWon
Jack BlackNominated
Kevin HartNominated

Video games

A mobile game titled Jumanji: The Mobile Game, developed by Idiocracy Games and published by NHN Entertainment, was released for Android and iOS on December 14, 2017. The game was removed from Google Play and App Store on May 2, 2018, and its service ended on May 24, 2018.

A virtual reality experience titled Jumanji: The VR Adventure, developed by MWM Immersive and published by Sony Pictures Virtual Reality, was released on Steam for HTC Vive on January 17, 2018. Although it was announced that the experience would be released on Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, the releases were canceled, as the game was heavily criticized for its poor graphics and hardware performance. It was delisted from Steam on February 9, 2018.

A video game titled Jumanji: The Video Game, developed by Funsolve and published by Outright Games, was released on November 8, 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. It is based on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level.


Sequel

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas discussed the plot of the next Jumanji film (referred to as Jumanji 3) in interviews, including the possibility of the film exploring the origins of the game. According to Karen Gillan, the alternate ending of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle would have left the door open for another installment. In February 2018, it was announced that Kasdan would direct the sequel, with Rosenberg and Pinkner again writing the script and Johnson, Hart, Black, Gillan and Jonas reprising their roles. Filming began in January 2019. The film was released December 13, 2019. In January 2019, it was announced that Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover had joined the cast of the film. On February 22, 2019, Black confirmed the new film as being as a fourth Jumanji film because of Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005) serving as the second film and sharing continuity with the other films of the series, with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle serving as the third film.