‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ outdoes original

Original offers nostalgia, remake offers comedic coming-of-age story

MORGAN LESTER, Evergreen columnist

Next month in the CUB Auditorium, there is an unusual surprise in the form of a double feature: the 1995 cult classic “Jumanji,” and its 2017 reboot, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.”

The original, starring the late Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst, is one that all of us have seen but few can fully recall. We just remember those ridiculously large spiders, Williams melting into the floor and a young boy turning into a monkey.

That isn’t to say that the movie wasn’t a fun or good to watch — it was, and still holds much of its classic charm in repeat viewings. It was weird, as different jungle creatures and flora exploded from the little wooden game board. The story kept me interested, presenting the challenges of four teenagers as they fight to beat the game.

While narratively satisfying with a twist on the typical coming-of-age story, it just doesn’t spark much fondness in me, which is interesting given that I am a fan of Williams’ brand of comedy and line of work. That being said, it still is good, especially for those looking to throwback to the days of their childhood.

“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” on the other hand, is fundamentally different in its format. Taking on more comedy, it follows Spencer, Bethany, Anthony (nicknamed “Fridge”) and Martha. While cleaning out the basement of their school for detention, they get sucked into a video game version of “Jumanji” and attempt to escape.

While still a coming-of-age story in many respects, this one has more comedy than the original, as each member of the group works through his or her own issues while fighting through the game and dealing with assigned weaknesses in their avatar’s bodies.

From watching Kevin Hart explode after eating cake to seeing Dwayne Johnson stare in awe at his own biceps, I just couldn’t seem to stop laughing.

That being said, it compares surprisingly well to the original. Given the recent run reboots and sequels have had in theaters, it retains some of the weirdness and story just as well or better than the 1995 version. If you liked the one you saw as a child, you will have a good time with this one.

“Jumanji” and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” were originally planned to play this weekend, but will play in April in the CUB Auditorium. Both are free for students, but will set your non-WSU guests back $2. There is popcorn while supplies last.