The first reviews for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle are out, and things are looking pretty good so far. Currently at 82% on the Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer, Jumanji: WTTJ has been getting positive reviews from both male and female critics, who agree that the body-swap premise of the film is what really makes it work.
Nerdist's Kyle Anderson says, "They’re all quite funny, but the two standouts have to be Black doing a spot-on portrayal of a teenage girl and Gillan being awkward and goofy while looking like a red-haired Lara Croft."
Slashfilm's Karen Han says she laughed hard enough to annoy her seatmates, which bodes well, and she's also a fan of the body swap. "Despite a cast that is essentially double in size given the body-swap that’s going on, there’s not a single bad performance in the bunch."
Perri Nemiroff at Collider also found herself having more fun than expected.
Jumanji also picked up good reviews from Mashable's Angie Han, John DeFore at The Hollywood Reporter, and Dave White at The Wrap. Vanity Fair's Hillary Busis had this to say about Jack Black's performance: "Black’s sensitive portrayal of a teenage girl doesn’t just avoid mincing minstrelsy; it actually ends up being the highlight of the movie."
There were a few negative reviews; both Indie Wire's David Erlich and EW's Chris Nashawaty found the film predictable and wondered why Jumanji needed a sequel in the first place. Variety's Owen Gleiberman was totally unimpressed.
Yolanda Machado has a review on the way, but things don't look promising.
Still, if there's one thing we're seeing over and over, it's how much fun everyone had and how well the cast worked together. After watching this interview, we can see why.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle crashes into theaters on December 20.