Unusual Detention

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle M Jumanji 2017

Theaters:  December 2017

Streaming:  March 2018

Rated:  PG-13

Runtime:  119 minutes

Genre:  Action – Adventure – Comedy – Drama – Family – Fantasy

els:  6.0/10

IMDB:  7.1/10

Amazon:  4.1/5 stars

Rotten Tomatoes Critics:  6.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience:  4.4/5

Metacritic Metascore:  58/100

Metacritic User Score:  6.7/10

Awards:

Directed by:  Jake Kasdan

Written by:  Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner; (screenplay), Chris Van Allsburg (book)

Music by:  Henry Jackman

Cast:  Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale

Film Locations:  Hawaii and Georgia, US

Budget:  $90,000,000

Worldwide Box Office:  $942,935,000

Four high school kids, serving detention for being high school kids, discover an old Nintendo-like video console in a school store-room, complete with a Jumanji game cassette.  They hook it up to a TV set and 4 avatars appear, with the kids naturally choosing the one opposite of their true personality. After the 4th avatar is chosen they are transported into the video game, assuming the bodies of their apotheosis.  Very quickly they discover that they can die in this fantasy land of make-believe. To survive and escape they must complete the task of returning a gigantic green jewel to the eye of a rock jaguar statue.  Thus begins the slap-dash adventure of evading charging rhinos, hippos, and a crazed motorcycle gang.

The movie is based on the 1981 children’s illustrated book by Chris Van Allsburg of the same name: Jumanji.  Preceding this 2017 movie was the well-received 1995 Jumanji movie starring Robin Williams.  Allsburg followed up his book with another, similar, illustrated children’s book: Zathura; which was made into the 2005 movie: Zathura starring Tim Robbins. The screenplay for this movie is entirely predictable, all adventure and mild comedy with no real plot twists or surprises.  The one and only time I was surprised came very early in the movie when a hippo charged the avatars.  After that scene everything played out as expected.

Jake Kasdan, director of the mostly forgettable comedies, Bad Teacher, Sex Tape, along with the tolerable Walk Hard, manages to make this movie blandly humorous and almost interesting. He certainly didn’t take any risks with this family movie with the exception of penis jokes, and he definitely could have given those a rest.

Dwayne Johnson provides the backbone for this movie and turns in a great performance depicting a fearful, nervous 16 year-old. Karen Gillan’s spastic rendition of a come-on was whimsically passable but Sandra Bullock did the spaz part better in the 2000 flick: Miss Congeniality.

This is a fun family movie.  It breaks no new ground but it does entertain for a few hours. It’s rumored that Kasdan, the screenplay team of Rosenberg and Pinkner, and the principal actors are all lined up for a sequel.  It may work but new writers may have given it better odds.

 

8 x Fast and Furious = 6

The original The Fast and the Furious was intended as a motorized take on West Side Story, a star-crossed love story of forbidden fruit, and a remake of Point Break, a story of an undercover FBI agent trying to bust a bunch of surf boarding, bank robbers, but the criminal elements slowly drift into the background as the franchise progresses, leaving bits and pieces of the love and passion popping up sporadically, usually as a distraction, through all 8 movies. The high-speed, adrenalin fueled action is the inducement drawing the audience back, again and again. The franchise grows money from where the rubber meets the asphalt; every buck in production spending, returning over $5 in revenue.

Having spent the last week or so watching the movies, I, pretentiously, offer my rankings, for better or worse, listed in order of good to not so good. The franchise has produced 4 very good movies worth seeing over and over, 2 that are ok, and 2 that I can’t fathom how the series survived their release.

  1. The Fate of the Furious   (2017)  els-6.8/10;  IMDb-6.8/10;  RTC-6.1/10  8
  2. Furious 7  (2015)  els-6.8/10;  IMDb-7.2/10;  RTC-6.6/10  7
  3. Fast Five  (2011)  els-6.6/10;  IMDb-7.3/10;  RTC-6.4/10  5
  4. The Fast and the Furious: The Original (2001)  els-6.0/10;  IMDb-6.7/10;  RTC-5.4/10  1
  5. Fast and Furious  (2009)  els-5.7/10;  IMDb-6.6/10;  RTC-4.5/10  4
  6. Fast and Furious 6   (2013)  els-5.5/10  IMDb-7.1/10;  RTC-6.2/10  6
  7. 2 Fast 2 Furious  (2003)  els-5.4/10;  IMDb-5.9/10;  RTC-4.7/10  2
  8. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  (2006)  els-5.0/10;  IMDb-6.0/10;  RTC-4.8/10  3

The Fast and the Furious: The Original (2001)

els – 6.0/10M F and F 1

IMDb – 6.7/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 5.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.4/5

Directed by: Rob Cohen

Written by: Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist, David Ayer

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, et.al.

Music by: Brian Wayne Transeau

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster

Hijacking 18 wheelers, and the daring theft of their electronic cargo, by street wise, street racing, thrill seeking, loveable gang of incorrigibles, led by Dominic Toretto (Diesel); pursued by a team of FBI agents, including Brian O’Connor (Walker) who is more interested in capturing the heart of Dominic’s sister Mia (Brewster) rather than making a case for arresting the thieves, starts this franchise off on a great set of wheels.

2 Fast 2 Furious  (2003)M F and F 2

els – 5.4/10

IMDb – 5.9/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 4.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.1/5

Directed by: John Singleton

Written by: Gary Scott Thompson, Michael Brandt, Derik Hass

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, et.al.

Music by: David Arnold

Cast: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes

Vin Diesel takes a pass on a tired storyline, leaving Paul Walker with not much of anything. O’Connor (Walker) and Roman Pierce (Gibson) go undercover for the good guys to bust a drug smuggling bad guys in Miami, how original…not.  Amazingly, this movie didn’t kill the franchise.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  (2006)M F and F 3.jpg

els – 5.0/10

IMDb – 6.0/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 4.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.5/5

Directed by: Justin Lin

Written by: Chris Morgan

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, et.al.

Music by: Brian Tyler

Cast: Lucas Black, Sung Kang

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker take a pass on this film, leaving the franchise, regrettably, with a teenage B movie. Set in Tokyo featuring the underground drift racing circuit; an American teenager makes enemies and friends in the world of fast cars and gangsters.  The racing is fascinating and fun, Han’s (Kang) ‘Cool Hand Luke’ acting is refreshing, but the for the rest of movie, it’s a drag.

Fast and Furious  (2009)M F and F 4

els –  5.7/10

IMDb – 6.6/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 4.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.7/5

Directed by: Justin Lin

Written by: Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, et.al.

Music by: Brian Tyler

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster

Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are back and the excitement comes with them, producing some of the best and glorious car racing, car chasing scenes yet.  Not much new in the story line, good guys chasing bad guys who sell drugs, yawn, but the action is fast and furious.

Fast Five  (2011)M F and F 5.jpg

els – 6.6/10

IMDb – 7.3/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 6.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 4.0/5

Directed by: Justin Lin

Written by: Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Michael Fottrell, et.al.

Music by: Brian Tyler

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson

Dwayne Johnson joins the franchise, bringing the testosterone level up to 17, as the badass good guy, Luke Hobbs, comes after Toretto (Diesel) and his gang of extraordinary lug-heads, in Brazil, for the alleged murder of federal agents. The Fast and the Furious gang seeks revenge for a job gone bad, going after the most powerful gangster in Rio, with a possible retirement, potential payoff of $100 million.

Fast and Furious 6  (2013)M F and F 6

els – 5.5/10

IMDb – 7.1/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 6.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 4.1/5

Directed by: Justin Lin

Written by: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Clayton Townsend, et.al.

Music by: Lucas Vidal

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson

Hobbs (Johnson) on the heals of dastardly mercenaries, entices the Fast and the Furious speed sportsters to join in on the hunt by promising to clear their criminal records, and re-uniting them with the, back from the dead, Letty (Rodriquez). Letty was always a distraction to the franchise, bringing her back strains the storyline, and plot, to a point of breaking and adds nothing in return to this otherwise most excellent adventure.

Furious 7  (2015)M F and F 7

els – 6.8/10

IMDb – 7.2/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 6.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 4.1/5

Directed by: James Wan

Written by: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Clayton Townsend, et.al.

Music by: Lucas Vidal

Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell

Living the good life was just not to be for our lovable carsters.  Deckard Shaw (Statham) steps into the franchise to exact retribution for the hurt the hyper-horsepower crew of Fast and Furious inflicted on his brother.  Mr. Nobody (Russell) also jumps in to offer a healthy dose of levity, black-ops, and spy craft.

The Fate of the Furious  (2017)M F and F 8.jpg

els – 7.0/10

IMDb – 6.8/10

Amazon – 4.5/5

Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 6.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.8/5

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Written by: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson

Produced by: Neil H. Moritz, Vin Diesel, Chris Morgan, Michael Fottrell, et.al.

Music by: Brian Tyler

Cast: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell

Nefarious Cipher (Theron) compels love struck Toretto (Diesel), to turn his back on his adrenalized gang of acceleration fanatics, ensuing a globe hopping race of speed and mayhem.

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