Re-Review: Jumanji

Warning: There will be spoilers!

It may seem odd to call this a re-review, since I never wrote a review in the first place, but this is based on the second time I’ve watched it, so just pretend there was a first review that only existed in my head… because that’s the actual truth. Every movie I watch is silently reviewed in my head!

So I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle again a couple of days ago, and I loved it more the second time. I put it woefully low at #11 on my Movie Rankings for 2017, but it’s so tempting to take it back! If I ever see this movie on television, I will stop and watch it.

It’s not particularly original, but I think this desire to see “original” movies is overblown. Some of my favorite movies are ones that lean heavily into all of their tropes and just execute really well. That’s what Jumanji does. It’s such a well-constructed movie, that it doesn’t matter that it’s re-hashing plotlines.

On a second viewing, I caught a lot more of these through-lines that are very expertly placed throughout. Seaplane starts using 90s lingo from the second you see him; not just when they call him out for it. The language and mannerisms of the teenage actors are incorporated into everything the adult actors do. The whole movie is made with a lot of attention to detail. It just feels like the people who made this movie loved the hell out of what they were doing, and that makes it more enjoyable for everyone.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Armageddon. I’ve had a lot of debates over the years with people who claim that it’s complete and utter garbage, but I will defend it with my last breath. Like Jumanji, Armageddon leans in to what it is and is just expertly constructed. It makes you feel things even though you know exactly what’s going to happen. It connects you to the characters even though the whole set up is preposterous. Movies are fantasy. They don’t have to make sense in the real world.

Jumanji just makes me happy. From seeing Karen Gillan pretend she’s not hot, to watching Jack Black manage to act like a teenage girl without coming across as a gay man, to seeing The Rock seem unsure of himself. It’s all so silly and fun, and authentically delivered that it’s impossible not to love.

If I were doing my rankings over, I would put it higher on the list, and I certainly would give it the award for the most rewatchable movie of 2017. If you haven’t watched Jumanji yet, definitely go see it. If you watched it and thought it was a bad movie, fair enough, but I think you’re wrong. Maybe give it a second go. It only gets better.

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