Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

One from the to watch pile…

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Film: Unfortunately we like in an entertainment world where mainstream blockbuster Hollywood has no original ideas and if they aren’t remaking older or non-English films, adapting novels or comics, they are making sequels to films that either didn’t need them, or are just from so long ago they make be irrelevant.

The real sad thing is that we just lap them up like idiots desperate for a fix of nostalgia.

This film was directed by Jake Kasdan, who has directed other comedies like Sex Tape and Dewey Cox, from a script by this McKenna and Eric Sommers, who gave us Spiderman Homecoming, Scott Rosenberg, who gave us Con Air and the remake of Gone in Sixty Seconds, and Jeff Pinkner, who gave us The 5th Wave. Interesting, if you think of the tone of the films I mentioned, this is right alongside all of them, with the teen relationships and the action/ adventure spectacular.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts basically when the original finished, with a jogger, in 1996, discovering the Jumanji board game on the beach, and taking it home to his son, who discards it because it’s not a video game… but Jumanji is smarter than that and transforms itself into a video game, and quickly, the kid, Alex, is sucked into the game.

Flash forward to now, and four kids who would never relate to each other at school, nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff), mean girl Bethany (Madison Iseman), jock ‘Fridge’ (Ser’darius Blain) and school weirdo, Martha (Morgan Turner) have been put on detention for various offences and whilst they have a particular task to do, they find an old video game, and decide to plug it in and play it.

Of course they are sucked into the game, and Spencer is transformed into hero Smoulder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Fridge becomes the short zoologist Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart), Martha becomes man-killer martial artist Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) and Bethany becomes middle-aged, overweight MALE cartographer Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) and have a series of missions given to them by Nigel (Rhys Darby) and are in opposition to game bad guy, Russel Van Pelt (Bobby Carnivale) who has stolen a gem which is the only thing that will get them home once it is placed in the head of the jaguar mountain where it belongs, but can these different personalities work together to win, and will they discover what happened to Alex?

There is nothing new here. The concept of the Jumanji game, obviously, is stolen from the original and the personality dynamics of the kids sucked into the game are straight out of The Breakfast Club, but together, and this is thanks to the script and performances, they work. The special effects are clearly CGI and hyper-real but considering they are in a video game, that kind of works.

There are a couple of nice throwbacks to the first film too, so the legacy of Robin Williams’ film is intact.

The cast are a blast and special mention has to go to Jack Black portrayal of a 16 year old girl stuck in the body of a 4t years old fat bloke. Interestingly though, for me, the weirdest thing about this film is seeing Karen Gillan smile. She was a grumpy bitch in Doctor Who, an alien assassin in the Marvel films and a moody crank in Oculus so to see her smile was refreshing, I mean her resting bitch face is lovely, but her smile is amazing.

Basically, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a fine distraction, with a fair few funny moments and an inventive way of reimagining itself, but it certainly won’t ever appear on the top of anyone’s favourite film lists, nor will it probably be remembered as a modern day piece of classic cinema.

Score: ***

Format: The film was reviewed on the Australian multi-region Bluray which runs for approximately 1 hour and 59 minutes, and is presented in an absolutely spectacular 2.39:1 image with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.

Score: *****

Extras: There is a great bunch of extras on this disc:

Gag Reel is just what you would think it is, but it’s just not that funny. Odd, considering the presence of Hart, Black and Johnson.

Journey Through The Jungle: The Making Of Jumanji is hosted by Rhys Darby (who playedNigel in the film) and goes through an abbreviated making of the film.

Meet the Players looks at the cast of the film.

Surviving the Jungle is a behind the scenes of the stunts of the film.

Attack of the Rhinos dissects a particular scene from the film.

Book to Board Game to Big Screen and Beyond: Celebrating the Legacy Of Jumanji celebrates the entire history of the film.

Jumanji, Jumanji Music Video is a music clip performed by the cast and is truly the funniest thing on the whole disc.

Score: ****

WISIA: Even though I enjoyed it, I’m probably not going to watch it again.

The New Look For The Doctor

Today, the BBC released a pic of what the new look for the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) in Doctor Who is going to be…


Personally, I think it looks great. Slightly reminiscent of previous Doctor’s looks but well and truly with a look of her own. My concern for our first female Doctor would be that they would ‘sex’ her up’, but thankfully they haven’t. I’m really looking forward to this change in direction!

Peter Capaldi to Regenerate

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In news that is, for me, an epic bummer, the 2017 season of Doctor Who will be Peter Capaldi’s last! He says that he will be retiring his exploits in the TARDIS as of this years 2017 Christmas special.

I, for one, am disappointed by this news as I thought his take on the Doctor really re-connected to the older fans, but I guess if he is not a young man he is not accessible to young fans, nor can they feature the character as a potential love interest for the companions.

Next up, countless speculations about the Doctor’s sex and look before a young guy is cast.

What a damn shame.

R.I.P. John Hurt

This one really burns me.

It is with great regret that I report the passing of actor John Hurt, aged 77.

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Hurt was in many film that were favourites of mine, including Alien and the Elephant Man, not to mention the role of Olivander in the Harry Potter series.

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Most recently he played one of the Doctor’s non-Doctor incarnations in the TV series Doctor Who, my favourite TV show of all time.

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The To Watch Pile would like to pass on their condolences to his family. Cinema lost a great one today.

The Gorgon (1964) Review

One from the to watch pile…
The Gorgon (1964)

The cover of the Australian Bluray of The Gorgon


Film: Hammer horror films are some of my favourite horror films, and I have been a champion of them for many years, even to the point I once had a letter published in an early issue of Kitbuilders Magazine wondering why there were hundreds of Universal Horror characters available in model kit form, but Hammer horror characters didn’t seem to get much respect from those in the ‘kitbashing’ and resin model kit hobby.

Thankfully those days are gone and those still in that hobby, of which I am no longer one (due mainly to time restraints), have many Hammer characters to choose from.. and perhaps I like to think I may have had a small part in that.

The Gorgon: Peter Cushing as Dr. Namaroff


These films have had us see heaps of exposure to wonderful actors like Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Michael Ripper and their female counterparts, the so-called Hammer Glamour set, such as Caroline Monroe, Stephanie Beacham and Madeline Smith. The most famous of their films were about Dracula, or Frankenstein, but their forays into other creatures, like zombies, in The Plague of Zombies, or lizard-women, like in The Reptile were also occasionally incredibly entertaining.

Which leads us to this film, The Gorgon.

Paul Heinz (Richard Pasco) has travelled to a small village to investigate the death of his father, Professor Jules Heinz (Michael Goodliffe) and his brother, Bruno (Jeremy Longhurst), who apparently killed himself after murdering his pregnant girlfriend.

The doctor who pronounced them both dead, Dr. Namaroff (Peter Cushing) seems to be hiding something from Paul’s investigation though, which may or may not involve his assistant, Carla (Barbara Shelley), and legends of the mythical Gorgon, Megaera, keep turning up in conversation.

Thankfully, Paul’s mentor, Professor Karl Meister (Christopher Lee) turns up to assist, but can they solve the mystery before either one of them get… ahem… stoned?

The Gorgon: Patrick Troighton and Christopher Lee


Immediately this film is notable as it has Lee and Cushing in it, so Hammer fans should sit up and take notice, and the performances of all concerned are melodramatic, as one would expect. Special note should be made that this film also features second Doctor Who Patrick Troughton as the chief of police, and Prudence Hyman, who starred in other Hammer films like The Witches and Rasputin The Mad Monk. Hammer direction stalwart Terrance Fischer uses his talent to create some great sequences, but the joy stops there.

The story was written by one time movie writer, J. Llewellyn Devine, and developed into a screenplay by yet another Hammer regular, John Gilling, a writer/ director who is possibly best known for another Hammer film, The Mummy’s Shroud. This film, from a story point of view, unfortunately, is little more than a derivative of a werewolf film, with the big mystery being WHO is the normal person who changes, and that is telegraphed so early you could turn off the film at the 20 minute mark and know the result.

That would be a shame though, as the Gorgon make-up is magnificently cheesy.

In effect, it’s not that is a bad film but from a story point of view, it’s just disastrously generic, and bereft of surprises.

Score: ***

The Gorgon Madman Bluray menu screen: no extras for you!


Format: The reviewed copy is the Australian region B bluray, which runs for approximately 1 hour and 24 minutes, and is presented in a quite clear 1.75:1 image with a decent Dolby Digital Mono audio 

Score: ***

Extras: Nothing!

Score: 0

WISIA: Tragically, this is probably a Hammer film I won’t revisit just because the story is done so much better by so many other werewolf films, even though this isn’t a werewolf film.

The Gorgon: Barbara Shelley as Carla

New Doctor Who Companion Announcement

Lovers of Doctor Who, REJOICE! Peter Capaldi’s Doctor has been charged with a new companion.

Congratulations to Pearl Mackie on her role as Bill, we look forward to seeing new Who starring you soon. Phew!


Here’s the official announcement from the Beeb via YouTube:  http://youtu.be/xbMmsShghT4

I like what I see, especially seeing as how Capaldi’s Doctor is at his best when frustrated!