Saving the Last for First
By ice rivers
February is the month that features movies that I will forget that I saw when it comes to rating my movies the following February. A few movies are still lingering around from their December release but I have already decided not to see them so no harm, no foul.
Yesterday, we needed to get out of the house after days of wind and rain. We needed another Tuesday weekend, so we made our way to Birkdale to see what we could see and what we saw was Jumanji 2, the latest release in the Jumanji franchise, once again directed by Jake Kasdan and once again starring the Rock, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan.
Although we had previously enjoyed the first two versions of Jumanji, going back to the 1995 original with Robin Williams, we were reluctant to see the third, suspecting that it was about to jump the shark. We didn’t want to witness that suspected catastrophe.
We picked our customary seats F8 and F9 and had no problem securing them as it turned out that for the first time in a very long time, thanks to the wind and rain, we were the only two people in the theater.
Early in the film, we meet two new characters played by Danny Glover and Danny DeVito. It’s clear that their characters have a significant back story but we won’t find out about that until all the players find themselves hurtled back into the abandoned Jumanji video game.
The body swaps introduced in the prior Jumanji continue with Danny DeVito ending up with the body of the Rock with the ensuing irony, insight and hilarity which accompany all of the swaps.
I don’t want to reveal anymore about the movie other than my opinion of it. I loved it and so did Lynn. Maybe it was because we had lowered our expectations. Maybe it was because we were the only two people in the theater or maybe because it was simply so much fun and so excellently done. The last movie of 2019 (released in December) proved to be our first movie of 2020. I’m positive I won’t forget it.
Body type issues, gender issues, race issues, age issues, animal rights issues, everything that Joker Phoenix mentioned in his Oscar acceptance speech is handled here in the most humorous and subtle of ways without a whiff of pedantry.
This movie will never win an Oscar of any kind except make many 2019 top 10 lists. It may prove to be the people's champ at the box office in terms of profitability percentage not because of the special effects (which are fine and at moments exceptionally effective) but simply because people like it, they really like it. I’m one of those people.
Good box office often means critical poison. "just because morons who would't know Casablanca from Citizen Kane or Cannes from Cleveland wasted their money on this crap doesn't mean we're gonna waste our words on it when the idiocy is clearly beneath our criticism etc."
Ya know, the usual elitist critical claptrap to which I often subscribe.
Not only did I enjoy now at my age and at my ever advancing level of cinephileatic jade but I would have liked it as a kid, and all the way through the remaining stages of life including this one which was embodied by the characters played by Glover and DeVito. We, like they, are never too old to learn, to re-invent, to live and/or forgive.
Also Awkwafina and Nick Jonas show up to attract and enlighten the groups that they represent
And the Rock…..he just keeps rolling. In my fantasy of fantasies, he runs for President and defeats Trump. Love to see him raise that eyebrow during an ad hominem debate with Donald and eventually stand next to Putin and tell that murderer "to know his role and shut his mouth".
Maybe, I’m giving the impression that I enjoyed the film a little too much. Impression accepted. If you’ve seen the first two Jumanji films and liked them, then I guarantee the beat will go on. If you saw them and hated them, don’t bother with this one.
If you need f bombs, white male rage and gratuitous sex, you won’t care for this one
I wish I had the nerve to say what I want to say.
Oh hell, I’m going to say it. The last movie of the year turned out to be my favorite if "ya smell what I’m cooking".
There, I said it.