Saturday, March 17, 2018

Welcome to detention.

Video games, for the most part, are supposed to be fun.
Movies, too.

It's a pretty simple formula.

That pretty much every movie about video games totally f--ks up.


After raking in a bajillion monetary units at the domestic box office, I assumed rather incorrectly, that I would enjoy Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. I love The Rock and Jack Black, like Kevin Hart enough, and am always up for a pretty woman unnecessarily kicking ass in unnecessarily tight clothes. Sold, sold and...totally sold.

Yet, by some sort of shit miracle, the combination of all those aforementioned things amounted to absolutely nothing for me. My son, who is eight and a half had a decent time with the flick (I think he sniffs out my like/dislike before), and it looks like most critics did as well. Maybe it was the thirty seconds I stepped out to piss that made the difference, or maybe I fell asleep and only imagined a painfully unfunny movie where nothing happens, but whatever the case may be, I will never understand the praise slathered all over this one. Like, ever.

This time around, the mysterious Jumanji game isn't made out of cardboard and plastic, but instead it's an Atari-like video game system. Four kids, who have ended up in detention for reasons that I would personally celebrate (in my own classroom), are tasked with cleaning the bowels of the school. Instead of clapping erasers and taking crayons out of pencil sharpeners (or whatever, I had already stopped giving a shit/damn), this rag-tag crew ends up balls deep into Jumanji. Literally.


My favorite characters, from right to left.
After figuring out who's who (with their in-game avatars masking their real identities), these 'unruly' misfits who would never hang in real life, are forced to work together within the jungle setting of the world's most boring video game. It would appear that each character has only three lives, and the punishment for in-game death is actual death. Or worse, not dying but instead having to watch Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle every day for the rest of your life.

Marginally less horrific, are the Yays and Boos. In terms of video game movies, we still rank the first Mortal Kombat as the best ever, with the fight scenes in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World ranking a close second. And we if invert the whole thing, the Die Hard Trilogy (on the first Playstation) is the best video game based on a movie, but that's neither hear nor there (but if you know what I'm talking about, I'd like to kiss you on the mouth).

Apparently, there are a lot of shots like this one.
Yaaaaaaay!

  • So...we got that new Spider-Man preview...twice? Maybe it was a mistake, or maybe they know kids don't pay attention, but either way I'm so in for this movie.
  • Brand Synergy be damned, I kind of geeked out seeing all those old Sony games. Was that Twisted Metal? (while we're at it...let's adapt that series into films, huh?)
  • Even if it's [slightly?] stolen from Flynn Rider, the smoldering intensity super power was fully appreciated.
  • Can I cheer for how hot Karen Gillan is? Or does that make me a monster? I'm sure she's a lovely person with a lot to offer, but here, her character is kind of lame and one-dimensional, so I'm gonna double down on her beauty and keep it moving. Oh, and nice work by the filmmakers. The joke is that her clothes are too tight. But...they never do anything to correct it.
  • Some of the bug/creature effects are the right kind of awful. No lie, I kind of did that move where you straighten your back, clench up your buttcheeks, and end up sliding down your chair the heebie-jeebies were so strong.
  • While I seriously doubt that Axl and Slash will ever see this, nor that any kid in the theater knew the song, I was stoked regardless to hear Welcome to the Jungle on the soundtrack. Fingers crossed the sequel will be called Jumanji: Rocket Queen
  • There's a bit where The Rock is basically just throwing dudes instead of fighting them. I want to try this, but I'm not sure under what circumstances will I ever be assaulted by a dozen toddlers (the only 'people' I could jettison).
  • And finally, despite my general disinterest/disbelief toward this one, let me at least clap it up for the star power in this one. The Rock is basically great in everything, and the streak continues here. Jack Black probably owns the whole movie playing a self-absorbed high-school chick, and Kevin Hart...well, he's Kevin Hart. Do with that what you will. Basically, what I'm saying, I like these dudes and it was good to see them together. Oh, and Gillan is great, too. Can't forget Nebula, right?
Outside of an embarrassing MySpace photo in '99...
I think I've deftly avoided any shameless selfies like this one.
Boooooo...
...ooooooo!
  • Participating in gym? Gently dissing a teacher? Helping a classmate with an essay? Finishing your text message? These ain't detention-worthy offenses, amigo. 
  • Ah, and now I remember what they were doing once in detention: removing staples from old magazines. I genuinely believe my students would rather destroy bound words rather than read them. Better keep this on the low.
  • My main man Rhys Darby shows up for a minute. So why is this a Boo? Read those last three words again, mate.
  • They often have to explain the video game tropes they're dealing with, which is grueling. I get it, though, as nothing about this flick feels like they are actually in a video game.
  • Why would any video game feature a cartographer as a selectable character? Why not have something a bit more, um, aggressive, like an accountant or a barista?
  • One of the female characters has some issues with her looks. But fear not, friends, as this advice will surely cheer her up: You're a babe, in the game. Aw, that's so sweet of you to say! (it cheers her up, for f--k's sake)
  • There's a cake-related explosion that you can see coming from a mile away. The real Boo here? In thirty-plus years of going to the movie/living on planet Earth...I have never, ever heard anyone laugh louder at, well, anything. Like, had they mopping that person's remains off the floor as we exited, it wouldn't have surprised me in the least.
  • One dude has been stuck in the game since the 90s, so obviously, he sounds like someone from the 90s. I think this is supposed to be funny, the fact that he sounds so stupid and dated. Uh, no. I think he sounds rad.
  • Oh, and while we're at it, The Rock totally makes out with Gillan and it just felt...odd. 
  • There's a squirrel...in the jungle? I reject this on many counts. Most of which are due to the fact that I f--king hate squirrels.
  • Colin Hanks, who I'm a fan of actually, always strikes me as a bad CGI version of young Tom Hanks
  • Those were a lot of spinning kicks, right? I'm pretty sure she over-rotated on at least two of these, and the judges are going to deduct all kinds of points.
  • And finally, what the f--k was with all the dick jokes? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with a teenage girl staring at Jack Black's schlong all day. Throw in her amazement with his/her boner and I'm thinking I have to have a conversation with my son on the way home that I'm not exactly ready for.

I would have finished this review last night, but instead I gave up and played video games till I passed out. I'm currently playing Yakuza Kiwami on the PS4, and actually enjoying it, even though you basically fight a bunch of dudes for a few minutes and then watch twenty minutes of cutscene-related nonsense.

A little action, followed by a bunch of stupid people saying stupid words?

Maybe Jumanji:Welcome to the Jungle actually nails what it's like to be in a video game.

A bad one.

12 comments:

  1. THANK YOU! I did not care for this either and the amount of praise it's getting genuinely shocks me too. I laughed a few times, but otherwise it was just generic.

    The dick joke was one of the three things I laughed at though. Dick jokes, Kevin Hart yelling "BITCH" at the end, and one of the game play jokes they made that I don't even remember now.

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    1. You are most welcome. Maybe everybody else saw the director's cut or something, but I honestly don't get the universal praise. Generic is the perfect word to describe it.

      I never know how to handle the dick jokes, with my kid sitting beside me. I tend to feel something bordering disappointment, but then that makes me feel like I've officially become my...dad....'s mom.

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    2. The boner joke went so far over my son's head that he was getting mad when I wouldn't explain it to him. lol

      Delete
  2. Just watched this last night. I didn't hate it, but it's not good. I second the yay for the smoldering intensity superpower, though. And so true about Colin Hanks, lol. My question about his character is how did he, after 20 years...never mind.

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    1. I feel the same way, Dell, but I guess I expected it to be a lot of fun. It wasn't a total disaster or anything, but I still thought it could have been infinitely better. Like, maybe it was too serious or something...? I wanted it to be fully ridiculous, instead of whatever the Hell it was.

      I have a lot of questions about Colin Hanks. A ton, actually.

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  3. Awww I thought it was cute! The cast did great job and they were so likable. Jack Black was the highlight he was hilarious but The Rock's fearlessness in taking these jobs, saying those lines and pouring so much conviction into that always astounds me. Plus he is not afraid to look silly which is such a likable quality in a dude this huge.

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    1. Cute? I didn't sign up for cute. I wanted action and jokes and feel like outside of a few decent scenes...I was left empty-handed.

      I will totally give you JB being the highlight, though. I feel like we need a little more JB in the world (where has this dude been?). And The Rock is straight up fearless, as he really does bring it no matter the role. I dig that about him.

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  4. Tried pretend that Mattel is Jumanji? Because there's suppose to be 9 berths at Tidmouth Sheds!
    We know Nia and Rebecca don't wanna be Edward and Henry's replacements.

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    1. dude you see comment moderation is a good thing.

      Delete
    2. I don't know what you're talking about Sati, I totally agree about Nia and Rebecca not wanting to be Ed and Hank's replacements. That would seriously mess up at least six or seven of the berths.

      Delete
    3. They're names are Edward and Henry! And there have been 7 berths at Tidmouth Sheds since Calling All Engines, Now should also be time for 2 more berths to be added.

      Delete