Movie Review – Deadpool 2

Deadpool 2 is back and bigger than ever with his very own sequel. But this time, the stakes are greater, as is the body count and the number of gags about how much the X-Men suck.

⭐ ⭐  ½
Josip Knezevic

Coming off a high from the original, Deadpool 2 unfortunately misses the mark in terms of comedy. Poorly made on a technical front (a gripe that carries over the first movie), blighted by horrendous direction and with just enough story to elevate it above complete failure, the brightest crayon in Deadpool 2’s box is that of some interesting new characters.

By far the most disappointing aspect of Deadpool 2 is how desperately unfunny it is. With only a handful of moments that elicit more than a smile, most of the gags that populate its 119-minute runtime are safe and boring, with little of the wit or meta-like charm of the original carrying over from the original. Strangely, the writing talent is the same, with the only additional writer being the star of the show himself, Ryan Reynolds.

The direction, this time in the hands of David Leitch (John Wick, Atomic Blonde), is nothing to write home about; a collection of close-ups and shot-reverse-shots that lack variety and smack of inattention. In a series that is all about defying convention, why not show us something inventive or dynamic? Alas, very little of these two qualities can be found in Deadpool 2. The action scenes aren’t much better, with jumbled editing and harried cuts softening the impact of the fisticuffs.

That’s not to say Deadpool 2 is without redeeming qualities; the introduction of Domino (Zazie Beetz), a hero in possession of boundless amount of luck, is executed with aplomb and makes for some of the film’s more entertaining action beats.

Though it doesn’t boast great dialogue, the plot does at least wriggle around and twist itself into something unexpected. The villain isn’t who you would expect and is cast against type, which adds an element of originality to proceedings. That said, that’s all she wrote. Deadpool 2 wasn’t the fulfillment of the film it needed to be and sadly doesn’t live up to the high bar set by its predecessor. Reynolds is great, and as always has impeccable comedic timing, but a mere one or two breakout performances don’t make for a particularly great ensemble action film. Temper those expectations and maybe you’ll garner something greater from this mess than I did.

Deadpool 2 is available in Australian cinemas from May 17 

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War may not break new ground, but it certainly polishes it.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan 

I cannot account for your feelings towards the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor anyone else’s. I can only account for my own, and my feelings have decided that the Universe is something special. To see each new Marvel movie is to add a chapter to a saga. As reviewers, we are perhaps encouraged to distance ourselves a little from every film we see, but make no mistake, to enter into Avengers: Infinity War is to enter a stream that’s been flowing for ten years. We may try to combat the current but it will inevitably wash us away.

This is a thunderous superhero movie that hurtles along at breakneck speed. It is about the end of humanity, the heartbreak of sacrifice, the will to bring about change, the pratfalls and jubilations of the human spirit. And, of course, it brings together a cast large enough to populate a small moon. Credit must be given to directors Anthony and Joe Russo for not going utterly bonkers from their logistics, but then, are they perhaps merely binding knots left loose by the countless instalments before them?

In many ways, yes. Infinity War begins with the simplest of premises: an oversized purple alien called Thanos (an utterly bewitching Josh Brolin in motion-capture) wishes to eliminate half the universe’s population by seizing cosmic weapons known as Infinity Stones. The movie plays out his quest and charts the ways in which all the good guys attempt to resist him.

If you’ve been keeping up with the movies, you’d know them all by now. The smart thing about Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s screenplay is that instead of bottlenecking the cast into one room, several throwaway subplots are created to micromanage the Avengers.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) zips off with a few Guardians of the Galaxy to rendezvous with a rather unexpected cameo. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) venture into space. Captain America (Chris Evans) and his friends take a trip to Wakanda, domain of the fearful Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). And so on. Everyone’s spread around like mah-jong tiles, which, while clever, can be a little jarring to keep up with.

Much criticism has already been targeted at the movie’s 149-minute runtime, which is actually about fifteen minutes too short. Infinity War dashes from one scene to the next, occasionally pausing for comedic interludes, but hardly ever for any meaningful interactions. I guess it comes with the territory of trying to cram a bloated cast into a runtime that must pacify today’s audiences. The movie needs to breathe a little, not necessarily for exposition, but to give us, the viewers, a chance to process all the whizzing and frenetic images, because there are a lot of them.

And yet, Infinity War is a tremendous achievement, not atop the Marvel greats, but perhaps more valuable than many of the weaker ones. There are fantastic action sequences, a boatload of one-liners, heroic reveals, shattering developments. And Thanos, enlarged in the middle of everything, is a surprisingly complex figure, not so much an antagonist as a lonely crusader whose journey threatens to undo even himself.

It’s quite a feat to make us care so much about a bunch of goofy superheroes. This cinematic universe feels like an extended TV series; we’ve grown along with these characters through the years to the point where their superpowers are no longer as interesting as their stakes. And in Avengers: Infinity War, their stakes have never been more desperate.

Avengers: Infinity War is available in Australian cinemas from April 26

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie Review – Rampage

Giant monsters face off with The Rock in Rampage, a film that doesn’t feel the need to offer anything more than a basic concept.

 

⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Pascoe

You know those direct-to-video monster mash movies that The Asylum and Syfy put out a few years ago, with titles like Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus and Sharktopus vs. Whalewolf? Well, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s latest blockbuster Rampage is essentially the $120 million version of that, only with bigger names, bigger biceps and a bigger appetite.

Loosely adapted from a video game series of the same name from the 80s, Rampage sees Johnson play Davis Okoye, a primatologist whose beloved albino, silverback gorilla George goes bananas after being infected with a mysterious serum that modifies his genes. Rapidly growing in size, speed and aggression, George fights alongside a giant grey wolf and an even larger crocodile as they tear through the streets of Chicago, while Davis must find a way to bring an end to the carnage.

Johnson has made a name for himself off the back of muscular action movies, and Rampage is probably his most outlandish yet. Reteaming with San Andreas director Brad Peyton, Johnson once again tells subtlety and grace to go suck it in a film that sees the beefy wrestler/actor steal a helicopter on three separate occasions, as well as stare down a giant mutant crocodile with nothing more than a grenade launcher and a plain white tee. He does uphold that squeaky-clean family man image though, rebuffing the advances of thirsty female interns at his work. What a man.

The plot, which sees Johnson join forces with Naomie Harris’ woolly scientist character, speeds along without a care or a worry for weighty concepts like logic. Because, let’s be honest, who cares how and why things happen the way they do – we just want to see a massive gorilla slap a giant wolf across its snarling maw, and Rampage dutifully obliges. The entire third act is dedicated to the titular riot, which sees the beast tear through downtown Chicago, flinging helicopters and upturning Humvees. It’s frankly amazing that four screenwriters were required to piece together the remarkably simplistic script.

However, as dumb and silly as that stuff sounds, I reckon Rampage could’ve done with even more dumb and silly stuff. Johnson relishes the chance to gaze into the middle distance and spout some catchy one-liner, but more often than not it’s uttered with sincerity, not his trademark eyebrow-wiggling bravura. The action is too heavy-handed with the 9/11 imagery and too light on the Donkey Kong arcade noise that one would expect from giant animals trampling cities. While the premise sounds goofy, director Peyton stops short of fully embracing Rampage’s inherent wackiness, and instead tries to balance video game madness with some straight-laced seriousness.

Rampage is available in Australian cinemas from April 12 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Movie Review – Ready Player One

Steven Spileberg’s newest film Ready Player One takes us on a thrilling entertainment ride, but you’ll know exactly what’s going to happen from the moment it starts.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Josip Knezevic

At the start of Ready Player One, Spielberg suggests his new movie is intended to present a potential future for Earth in 2044. The society we are introduced to is one that sets aside reality and focuses instead on creating new worlds through virtual simulation. This is known as the OASIS, which if you really want to know, stands for: Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. I know, it’s a mouthful. The OASIS is the brainchild of game developer James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who’s death provides players the opportunity to gain complete ownership of the game if they can hunt down three Easter Egg keys hidden inside the simulation. Enter stage right, young and ambitious, but hopeless dreamer: Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan).

As we watch Wade hunt down these three magical keys, the film itself takes on a video game feel, and just like most games, Ready Player One follows a classic structure. From the get-go, we all know the hero will rise and inevitably overcome all three levels to ultimately defeat the villain (Ben Mendelsohn) who wants to take control of OASIS for his own evil pursuits. This is all well and good if you’re satisfied with a predictable film and a simple formula, and when you think about it, many of Spielberg’s films fall into this category.

Spielberg is a director who likes telling stories that get wrapped up in a nice little box, with all the conflicts resolved by the end of the film so you’re not left wanting more He’s done this for Jurassic Park, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial and many others. It’s why his films have grossed a stupendous amount of money and is one of the reasons he’s become one of today’s most popular directors. But does this mean he’s a filmmaker who challenges you to think about what his film has to say, long after the credits have rolled? Probably not. He’s not a Stanley Kubrick or a Terry Gilliam.

Nevertheless, I’d still recommend seeing this film. Some of the action sequences are fantastic, particularly in the opening and final scenes. I also enjoyed a lot of the nostalgic references to the 80’s, even though the film is set in the future. Even though it’s cliched and predictable, with familiar plot structures and character tropes, Ready Player One is still a blast and a fun ride.

Ready Player One is available in Australian cinemas from March 29 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films 

 

Movie Review – Pacific Rim: Uprising

Ready for round two? Those rock’em sock’em robots are squaring off with giant monsters once again in Pacific Rim: Uprising.

⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Graeme-Drury

With newly-minted Best Director Guillermo del Toro off filming fish sex with Sally Hawkins and a merman, the Pacific Rim franchise has been farmed out to Universal and lead actor Charlie Hunnam has been subbed out for everyone’s favourite London geezer cum stormtrooper, John Boyega.

In fact, very little of the original Pacific Rim has been retained in this sequel; a mostly fresh cast is one thing, but a wholly different tone – one which is less grounded and more cartoonish – has been established as well. Incoming director Steven DeKnight (Marvel’s Daredevil) dials up the colour and swaps del Toro’s trademark lived-in detailing for flashy visuals and a whizz-bang Apple store aesthetic.

This might come as a disappointment for some, especially those who felt del Toro’s 2013 original struck an effective balance between auteurist homage to Japanese kaiju cinema and Saturday morning Power Rangers sugar rush. Uprising leans more towards the latter, and definitely feels like a studio pouring money into a vessel it feels will sell heaps of plastic action figures and lock in at least another two or three films later down the track.

That’s where the film is going narratively as well; Uprising is set 10 years after the events of Pacific Rim and sees Boyega’s renegade Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba‘s Stacker, reunited with his old Jaeger unit when evil once again rears its ugly head in the form of even larger sea monsters and even a couple of rogue robots for good measure. Uprising introduces swathes of new characters that it desperately wants you to latch onto, from Boyega’s boyish hero to Scott Eastwood‘s brooding co-pilot Nate and Cailee Spaeny as plucky scrapper Amara.

A team of bickering junior pilots are also along for the ride, giving the film something of a David versus Goliath element, especially in its third act. Of the new additions, it’s only Boyega and Spaeny that stick in the memory, thanks in part to some fun banter and onscreen chemistry. The rest of the cast is largely forgettable, a feeling which projects across the plot and the film as a whole to be brutally honest.

While I found myself along for the ride in the heat of the moment, Pacific Rim: Uprising doesn’t have the same staying power as the first film. It’s a whole lot of colour and noise with very little payoff, and while the action is undoubtedly fun and satisfying in a building-smashing, sword-clashing, skull-stomping kind of way, it lacks the same emotional punch as del Toro’s first film.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is available in Australian cinemas from March 22 

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2018

Movie Review – Tomb Raider

Lara Croft goes back to basics in this punchy reboot starring Alicia Vikander.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Rhys Graeme-Drury

If ever there was a film series that benefited from rose-tinted glasses, it’s the original Tomb Raider duology starring Angelina Jolie; filled with pounding Euro techno, robots and riding motorbikes on the Great Wall of China, they didn’t just jump the shark, they punched said shark right in the face. I mean, who does she think she is – Mick Fanning?

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, the original Tomb Raider films weren’t exactly all that hot to begin with, which is why the arrival of this ‘gritty reboot’ (two words that should be banned from Hollywood lingo) should come as a welcome change of pace. Swapping Jolie for Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander and giving the character the Casino Royale treatment by taking things back to basics, this reboot is solid and satisfying, if not spectacular.

Drawing heavily from Square Enix’s equally graphic 2013 reboot of the videogame series, Tomb Raider sees a young and orphaned Lara Croft (Vikander) swept up in a conspiracy that involves her missing presumed dead father (Dominic West) and a shadowy organisation called Trinity. On the trail for the truth behind her father’s disappearance, Lara bounces from London to Hong Kong and the remote Japanese island of Yamatai, where resides an ancient witch called Himiko, or so legend has it.

Although some of the game has been stripped away (gone are characters like Jonah, Roth and Sam), the basic premise and underlying tone is there. Norwegian director Roar Uthaug doesn’t pull his punches, with Lara dealt a series of gut-wrenching situations that are a far cry from Jolie’s dizzying Matrix-esque kicks and flips. Alone and hunted by a band of mercenaries, it’s ugly and painful when Lara is forced to kill for the first time – and Vikander really sells this vulnerability and grim determination.

That said, Tomb Raider still struggles to excel and rise above standard genre fare territory; the action is murky and chopped to pieces, the CGI is patchy and Tom Holkenborg’s score doesn’t afford this iteration of the character any potent or memorable motifs. Worst of all, its supporting cast is bland as anything; the likes of Daniel Wu, Nick Frost and Kristin Scott Thomas are unreservedly wasted.

Does Tomb Raider qualify as a quote/unquote intellectual movie? No, of course not – what were you expecting? It’s a Tomb Raider movie. It exists for the sole purpose of pitching a perky English heiress with dual pistols against dusty crypts, death traps and ancient curses. So in that regard, it sets out to fulfil more or less what it should, which is to be a diverting and entertaining two-hour adventure populated with all of the above.

It’s far from perfect, but it’s a marked step up; bloody and muddy, I’d be more than happy to step into the ring for a second round with Vikander’s steely take on this videogame icon.

Tomb Raider is available in Australian cinemas from March 15 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Movie Review – 12 Strong

12 Strong is yet another ode to American heroism, but it lacks the heart to make us care.

 ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan

12 Strong is loud and relentless, and is decent entertainment till its last third when it finally disintegrates into constant violence. This is a war movie that doesn’t so much deal with war as showcase it for fun. It has a powerful cast of men, some breathtaking scenery and impressive practical effects, but not once do we get the feeling these guys value life and are fighting for a cause.

Like so many war films, 12 Strong is based on an actual mission, in which twelve ODA soldiers (we’re never told what ODA stands for) were dropped into Afghanistan, following the attack on the World Trade Centre, and ordered to liaise with a warlord who planned to cripple the Taliban. It was a mission that should’ve taken two years, but the ODA boys did it in three weeks. Unfortunately, we never really feel like it was a monumental triumph.

The captain of the squad was Mitch Nelson, played in the movie by Chris Hemsworth with an accent so dubious it can only be described as Ameristralian. Hemsworth, still sporting his trimmed Thor haircut and rugged hero beard, has a winning smile and natural charisma, both of which aren’t prerequisites for killing terrorists. I swear, most of the time, he and his eleven friends look like they’re on vacation, albeit in a destination with constant explosions.

And yet the movie has some ambition. It begins all too swiftly with hardly any backstory offered to its central characters, but once the action shifts to Afghanistan, and the Americans meet the warlord, General Dostum (Navid Negahban), they’re given some time to settle down and discuss matters of the heart.

The relationship between Nelson and Dostum is perhaps 12 Strong’s success. Nelson is American, has never seen combat and is supremely cocky. Dostum is a gravelly old man, beaten down by oppression and violence, who knows the land, the Taliban and the other warlords who are fighting for his territory. Nelson cannot understand Dostum’s foolhardy tactics. Dostum doesn’t believe Nelson is a true warrior. And so on and so forth. It’s honestly quite fascinating stuff. But then fighting breaks out and the film falls back on clichéd crutches, providing not a single original moment.

12 Strong is the directorial debut of Nicolai Fuglsig, a Danish photojournalist, and he has a keen eye for framing action and pacing violence, but unless he was raised on American values, I doubt he’s the right choice for a movie that’s meant to glorify hardworking American soldiers. Apart from the few meaningful exchanges between Nelson and Dostum, nothing in his film seems genuine. The musical score dictates how we’re meant to feel. Personalities are written on autopilot. Even the conclusion is borrowed from older, simpler war pictures and executed with less thought. War may be all guns and death, but at its core is emotion. 12 Strong needs to learn this.

12 Strong is available in Australian cinemas from March 8 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Movie Review – Black Panther

Black Panther may not be Marvel’s best origin story, but it’s definitely one we all have to see.

 
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Zachary Cruz-Tan

I hate to have to pull up the DC Extended Universe when talking about Marvel, but I’m sorry, the comparisons are inevitable. Here is a movie that will do for the black community everywhere what Wonder Woman (2017) did for women, but while the exhilarating romanticism of our first blockbuster female superhero has already been washed away by the stench of Justice League (2017), Black Panther arrives at a time that could not be more crucial for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the world in general. This is an important film, if not necessarily a great one.

As an origin story, Panther is neither a success nor a failure. It just is. But inherent within this fable is an abundance of joy and innovation; it’s a tried and tested story of a prince who has to fight for his throne, set against a mouth-watering backdrop of an Africa that has been bisected by tradition and the ultramodern.

That is what really works here – the film’s energetic production design. The fictional kingdom of Wakanda is cradled somewhere in the mountains and visually sealed off from the world by some kind of force field, so we’re treated to mud huts and goat farmers before the camera swoops through the barrier to reveal an eye-popping futuristic utopia of towering spires and flying vehicles. It’s a place where the new is built upon the foundations of the old – it can be seen from the magnificent costumes to the graffiti that adorns an underground research lab. We get the sense that this is a city born from African soil and raised in its complex culture, not in the memory banks of a visual effects artist’s computer, and it’s splendid.

But the plot, it must be said, is rather ordinary. We are reacquainted with Prince T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who, after his father’s untimely demise in Captain America: Civil War (2016), has to assume the throne and ensure the precious vibranium metal that accelerated Wakanda’s growth remains secret from the rest of the world. But there is dissent in the ranks and the emergence of a foreign foe, who has been selling vibranium on the black market for years in an attempt to finally reach the mythical El Dorado and claim the kingdom as his own.

There are deep pockets of delightful moments, as when Black Panther tears through a car chase in South Korea, but for some reason many of the fight scenes take place in near darkness, and it doesn’t help that our hero’s costume is 98% black.

The large cast, in which I counted only two white men, is populated by quite an effective range of personalities, from Danai Gurira’s formidable warrior Okoye, to Shuri (Letitia Wright), T’Challa’s enchanting younger sister who is apparently proficient at everything, including spinal surgery. Unfortunately, Michael B. Jordan’s villain is awarded pathos and a profound backstory but ends up shouting “BURN IT ALL!” and “I AM YOUR KING NOW!” a whole lot, y’know, like a bad guy. He seems more like a brutish nuisance than an emotional nemesis.

Black Panther is nevertheless a success. It’s entertaining and confidently directed by Ryan Coogler, who has left enough doors open so that we may all discuss his movie’s relevance. What’s left now is to see what Marvel will do next, because it’s imperative, after such a momentous step into the light, that these pioneering characters not be hustled back into the shadows by their white counterparts. They’ve proven they can hold their own.

Black Panther is available in Australian cinemas from February 15

Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie Review – The Commuter

Director Jaume Collet-Serra (Non-Stop, The Shallows) returns to the world of action with his new vehicular thriller, The Commuter.

⭐ ½
Zachary Cruz-Tan

It’s seriously difficult to hate on a movie as clueless as The Commuter. It knows many of us just want to leave our brains at home, and turn up at the movies ready to squeal at guns and explosions, but surely even the most gleeful action fan has to have standards, no? The problem with The Commuter (one it shares with its carbon-copy predecessor Non-Stop) is that it begins with a thrilling premise, then proceeds to abandon all notion of coherence till it eventually flies off the rails, which it literally does.

Liam Neeson plays Michael MacCauley, an insurance salesman who for some reason has to remind us a gazillion times that he’s sixty and on the verge of retirement, as if possessing the face of a weathered Liam Neeson isn’t enough. As the movie begins, poor Michael is fired, and he despairs at having to break the news to his upbeat wife (Elizabeth McGovern). As luck would have it, on his train ride home he is approached by a random seductress (Vera Farmiga) with a life-saving proposal: identify a character on the train named Prin before Prin disembarks and earn $100,000. How convenient.

But exactly how is Michael, an average Joe insurance salesman with a winning smile and a mortgage, supposed to possess the skills to pick one person out of a hundred? Easy: make him a former police officer, of course. Now, not only can he behave like a detective silently analysing his fellow passengers without looking like a complete psycho, he can also perform all the necessary Liam Neeson action movie nonsense, such as leaping from carriage to carriage like an elderly Indiana Jones. Oh, the skills police academy will teach you.

The Commuter is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, whose films (mostly action) tend to veer precariously toward the unbelievable. Not for a moment was I convinced a real shark would behave the way the shark in The Shallows behaved, and not for a moment in The Commuter was I convinced Michael could smash a dude in the face with a guitar.

But what a guy Michael is. By the end, not only does he uncover a massive conspiracy, and survive one of the most horrific train derailments in modern history, he also manages to return his wife’s confiscated wedding ring, save a punk teenager from her douchebag boyfriend, spark a romance between a ticket attendant and a nurse, and I’d be damned if he didn’t cure cancer as well.

The Commuter is available in Australian cinemas from January 11 

Image courtesy of StudioCanal

Movie Review – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

With a top notch cast as well as lots of fun and games, the new Jumanji film has everything you need this summer holidays.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Graeme-Drury

Move over 80s nostalgia; now it’s time for the 90s to get in on the action. And what better way to evoke the feeling of the 90s than with a sequel to a Robin Williams classic?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle swaps the spooky board game for a dusty videogame cartridge, and sees a quartet of youths transported from high school detention to the sweaty jungles of Jumanji, with each inhabiting the body of the playable character of their choosing.

Nerdy gamer Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes the muscly Dr Smoulder Bravestone (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson); resident jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) becomes pint-sized zoologist Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); shy bookworm Martha (Morgan Turner) transforms into karate commando Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan); and snobbish cheerleader Bethany (Madison Iseman) is lumped with rotund cartographer Shelley Oberon (Jack Black). Their only hope of escaping the game is to return a magical jewel to its resting place atop a towering jaguar mountain, working together to evade the clutches of the evil Hardin (Bobby Cannavale).

Although reviving such a beloved family film at first seems like heresy, this sequel is actually well worth your time. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that its entertainment value came as a very welcome surprise. Fun, brash and inventive, Welcome to the Jungle is way better than it has any right to be, and a lot of this value can be attributed to its stellar casting.

Watching the core cast play against type is great fun – whether it’s Johnson willing himself not to cry, or Hart acting tough whilst wearing a bucket hat and carting around a huge backpack. Superficial and obsessed with Snapchat, Black, in particular, steals the show; dealt a character that could’ve gone either way, he makes pretty much every gag land.

Much like its forebear, Welcome to the Jungle is playing to the family crowd. There is a lot of humour in here that appeals to teens and young adults as much as it does it kids, which will be music to the ears of parents who are starved for  ideas during the upcoming summer holidays. Even though it might be a tad scary for really small sprogs, the videogame tropes and the Breakfast Club-esque first act will be the perfect two-hour distraction for those who have grown up with the GameCube.

It’s a little shaggy, and the final act could’ve done with a trim, but you’ll regularly find yourself laughing aloud or staring in disbelief at the silliness up on the screen during Welcome to the Jungle. In a year dominated by remakes and reboots that do the bare minimum (we’re looking at you, The Mummy), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a surprising breath of fresh air that leans on a familiar conceit and does something different with it. The cast goes off like a house on fire and the clever integration of videogame motifs lends the film a new angle for a new generation of kids.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is available in Australian cinemas from Boxing Day 

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures