Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji 2 - welcome to the jungle

This is a ‘something for everyone’ kind of flick. The concept of Jumanji was introduced to us by Robin Williams starrer movie with the same name in 1981. However, this not a sequel – it is a reboot. So it’s a standalone movie which would make sense in its own way even if you have not watched the original.

Jumanji is a board game which converts itself to a video game and calls out to the world with its drum beats and takes the players into its own world, to be released back only when the game is finished. With this premise, four youngsters gets pulled into the game and gets turned into Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan.

The entire experience is an Indiana Jones style fantasy-adventure loaded with hilarious comedy. Jack Black as the mean girl turned middle aged cartographer (map reading expert) is amazing, Kevin hart pulls of his usual high pitch slapstick comedy with grace, but the expected show stealer is Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Bravestone. ‘The rock’ is fantastic as the videogame playing self-doubting teenage nerd.

The story isn’t just another over the top action comedy, it does not only focus on the saviour and his sidekick and love interest. It does justice to the characters individually and also to the creative premise. All the game avatars are very well defined including the NPCs (non playing characters)

Director Jake Kasden has done a commendable job and part of the credit goes to the writing by Chris Mckenna. Cinematography by ‘the maze runner series’ expert Gyula Pados is a treat to watch. Mark helfrich edits the movie to less than 2 hours and that makes all the difference.

Verdict – watch it for the ‘smoldering’ look.


Spiderman: Homecoming


This movie deserves an applaud just for not showing another spider biting peter parker transforming to Spiderman sequence. There is no flashback or ‘uncle Ben’ and also aunt May is quite hot. We all know the origin story, but now that Spidy is an Avenger it makes a whole lot of sense to show how the teenage kid can fit into the marvel universe just before infinity war.

But there is Tony Stark in the movie and he is at his sarcastic best. There is a quick sequence shot in India as well (yay!…) But the show stealer is John Fraveau who plays Happy Morgan the perfect bored, uninterested and slightly loathing grumpy baby sitter.

Laura Harrier as the teenage crush fails miserably and Zendaya was hardly given any screen-space. One thing that I wanted to see was the upside down trademark spidy kiss (and it came sooo close in one sequence) Ned, as the confidante/side-kick is just about ok and Chris Evans as captain America features in lame educational videos.

Michael Keaton is the vulture – supposedly the villian, and in spite of everything anybody can relate to this guy. I mean…. You cannot ignore him; He is the batman after-all and has won 26 awards for the movie Birdman in 2014. He makes the character of Adrian Toomes/vulture so much believable.

The runtime of the entire movie is 2 Hours and 13 Minutes but there is not one slack moment. Making a movie 3rd time with 2 very successful franchises behind is a commendable job and Jon Watts does a pretty good job about it. Jon has directed ‘clown’ & ‘Cop Car’ prior to this movie. Both these movies have got average success in box office. So I guess this is his big ticket.

Verdict – watch it because it’s not a origin story and also because Tom Holland did a better job than Tobie Maquire and Andrew Garfield put together.

PS: Don’t wait for the post credit scene, its not worth the time.

Fantastic beasts and where to find them


At the outset JK Rowling must recognise the fact that not all book writers can write screenplay. With the last movie of Harry potter series in 2011, the director David Yates had set a bar for us and when the same guy comes up with FBAWTFT (wow, even the acronym is too long) the expectation are high. But unfortunately, the essence of magic is lost the moment you look at Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne in his underacting methods. Eddie Redmayne is the same guy who delivered a brilliant performance in ‘the Danish girl’ but unfortunately he is not the right cast selection for Newt.

The rustic world of magic is upgraded to a slightly modern version in its new setting in New York and most of the daily magical awe is replaced with ‘seen that before’ graphics. The spells are unrecognizable except ‘Alahamora’ and at the final scene ‘Revealio’ and the muggles are called ‘no-maj’, as in no magic, Really?

Collin farrel looks like count Dracula instead of a ministry official and the leading lady Katherine Waterston looks and acts like the unmarried aunt of the house.

The cast selection is uninteresting and in the attempt to bring back the magical world the animators have gone overboard, and so the result is excess magical intervention which is unappreciated, but the 3D effect is very good. The beasts themselves are adorable animations but have very little screen space.

In conclusion, a simpler non-glamorous direction and tight editing could have improved the experience but the screenplay itself is the biggest drawback.

Verdict – trust me, finding this beast of a movie is not worth it.



Doctor Strange


So, the big news is that Marvel Studios has come up with a new logo animation which is way cooler than DC Comics logo.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the arrogant yet genius neurosurgeon doctor Stephen Strange. The good doctor soon meets with an accident and his hands are subjected to multiple fracture leaving his hands shaking just like the movie itself. As is the case usually in situations like these there is no cure – or is there?

Halfway through the movie people starts missing Rachael McAdams and so she is brought back in the action and is seen wheeling patients into an operating theater, twice with confused looking staff all around.

The best performance without any doubt is by ‘special effects’. The inception style dimension change and of course the journey through multiverse (not universe) is very well designed. Tilda Swinton as ‘the ancient one’ is not convincing at all and the baddy is played by Mad Mikkelsen, the same guy who was the bad guy in James bond Casino Royale, he was much meaner and terror invoking then but here he just falls flat with black kohl makeup below his eyes.

In conclusion, this is a movie for those who already know the history of Doctor Strange or has a fetish for 3D visual effects. Direction by Scott Derrickson is crisp but a bit of creative screenplay could have done wonders to the movie experience.

Verdict: Watch the animated movie instead – ‘Doctor Strange – Sorcerer Supreme’ or If you are a Bendict Cumberbatch fan – wait for Sherlock Season4 premiering on 17th Jan 2017.