Remake season is in full swing, and it might be for the rest of our lives. Most of these movies struggle to even come close to matching the pedigrees of their predecessors. Oddly enough, "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" takes an approach different enough that it's able to separate itself from the past. Part of that was necessity: nobody wants to step on Robin Williams' legacy, which the original "Jumanji" factors into. But, the new edition brings in an element of fun that isn't as dark and menacing as the previous.

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About the movie

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is an action-adventure comedy and sequel to the 1995 Movie "Jumanji." Directed by Jake Kasdan ("Walk Hard"), the film was released on December 20, 2017.

Four high school students are given detention for various misdeeds. After dusting off a cartridge called "Jumanji," the four are transported into the game, taking on the form of the characters they selected. They must defeat the game to return home, but they must also decide how to maintain both their new and old identities in meaningful ways.

'Jumanji' takes a turn

The first part of the movie feels like the first part of every movie ever made. Teenagers doing adolescent things, creepy house with creepy caretaker harboring a mystery, so on and so forth. If you stopped "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" after 15 minutes, you'd be severely disappointed.

But once the video game world emerges, the fun begins. Let's face it: everyone loves The Rock, everyone laughs with Kevin Hart, and everyone misses Jack Black.

Put the three of them together and there's a hilarious movie to be had.

Most of the humor in this "Jumanji" isn't situational. Instead, it's based on the knowledge of the actors who are playing the roles. Dwayne Johnson's character takes multiple attempts at comprehending his bulging muscles and "smoldering intensity." Hart's character chides his sudden shortness. Black's character is more situation-based, but no less funny, as a superficial teenager becomes a "curvy" middle-aged man.

Overall, the film is about what one would've expected entering the theater. The plot isn't terribly captivating. The action tropes are typical. The acting is nothing special. Frankly, Bobby Canavale, who played the villain, didn't do much of anything throughout the movie. But, none of that was really needed. All that was needed was a fun romp through the jungle.

About that jungle...

Half the battle in consumable content is creating an environment that enables a cast to succeed. To some degree, that happens here.

The Rock and Karen Gillan are able to show off their action chops, while Hart and Black have ample space to perform their comedy. But the rules of the jungle don't make a ton of sense.

For starters, the lore behind the jewel that controls everything seems to be constantly changing. The rules of the video game -- especially in regard to repeating dialogue -- keeps changing as well. The characters have video game lives, but "Jumanji" doesn't always spit them back into the same place after their death.

The narrative is never in doubt, though. From the moment the characters enter "Jumanji," there is a clear endpoint the film is driving towards. How it gets there takes the audience through a sequence of laughs, action, and even more laughs.

Final thoughts

Nobody is going to see "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" for an Academy Awards preview. People will see it for a raving good time. In that respect, this movie does better than anticipated in bringing the laughs -- and distractions from the real world -- back to the cinema.

Rating: B+