Look, 2017 has been an objectively trash year, but at least it will be going out on a strong note: The 2017 Jumanji. There are very few things that watching Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan act like teenagers in a video game can't fix. And if the first trailer hadn't already won my approval, the second Jumanji trailer — which Sony Pictures Entertainment dropped on Wednesday, Sept. 20 — definitely would have.
The second Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle trailer is everything I want a Jumanji trailer to be: two minutes and 45 seconds of pure fun. The trailer opens on a calm and peaceful beach, where our main character Spencer Miller (played by actor Alex Wolff as the young version, and later played by Johnson as the video game avatar) discovers "something." That "something" turns out to be Jumanji, the board game, a nod to the original 1995 film. "Who plays board games anymore?" asks an unnamed teen. You heard that cool teen — this is not your old-school '90s Jumanji movie. This is an updated, hipper, cooler 2017 Jumanji movie. Then text appears on screen that reads, "For two decades it went untouched, but the game always finds a way."
That text suggests that this film reminds us that this is not a remake but a sequel — these are not the same characters portrayed by Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt in 1995. The plot isn't the same, either. Rather than being trapped inside the game for years, this Jumanji seems to take a more straightforward approach to the plot. It's your basic action-adventure comedy, rather than the fantasy adventure. Four friends get sucked into the video game version of Jumanji, and turn into video game avatars. The nerd becomes The Rock (is that not the dream?), the jock becomes Kevin Hart, the quiet bookworm becomes Karen Gillan, and the hot cheerleader becomes Jack Black (ouch).
The four friends discover they are stuck in this video game world, and only have three lives, which sucks. But on the bright side, and possibly my favorite part of the trailer, Nick Jonas of all people shows up, introduces himself as Alex, and seems to be some sort of Indiana Jones-ish but also surfer bro but also biker tour guide. Nick Jonas really can do anything.
The team also discovers that they have special strengths and weaknesses, just like in a video game. The Rock's strengths include: fearless, climbing, speed, boomerang, and smolder intensity. His weakness include: none. Sadly and predictably, Kevin Hart got less of a deal on this part. Hart strengths include zoology and weapons valet, meaning he's the guy who carries the Rock's weapons and hands them to him. His weaknesses include pretty much everything that the Rock has a strength, and also cake. (Unfortunately, it looks like a pound cake will cause Hart to lose one of his three lives, spoilers.)
It may be a lot less philosophical and, admittedly, a lot more offensive than the original, but honestly, the film looks super fun. Would I pay $15 to watch Jack Black do an exaggerated impression of a 16-year-old cheerleader for two hours? Um, you bet your 3,000-word think piece on why that's sexist I would! Does it look like a particularly funny or inspired script? Not really. But can The Rock's charisma carry the movie despite the terrible writing? Possibly! We'll see!
Just tell your family you're going to the bathroom, covertly smoke a joint in the movie theater parking lot, then come back and laugh your ass off at this mediocre but fun movie. That's what I plan to do! Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hits theaters this Christmas.