Double Decker Movie Reviews: Jumanji and The Greatest Showman

By Brandon Matzke and Nevin Hooper

Hello there! It is I, Brandon, here with a new concept for film reviews (at least in this school blog): double decker movie reviews. See, Nevin and I had both seen movies that are currently in theaters: Nevin saw The Greatest Showman and I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. And to prevent us wasting too much of your time, here’s our thoughts on the films in one article. Ready? Let’s go!

The Greatest Showman

by Nevin Hooper

I saw it. The Greatest Showman. I was initially excited to see the film for a couple reasons, the first one being Hugh Jackman. I have been a fan of Jackman for a long time, and after seeing his Oscar-worthy performance in Logan, I was intrigued to see another one of his films. The second reason being was my personal favorite film of 2016 was a musical (La La Land), so I wanted to see if another musical could enchant me.

And how was it? Well….

I’ll start with the good first. I still have not seen a bad performance from Hugh Jackman, and once again in this film, I thought he did a decent job. The rest of the cast I also thought did a pretty decent job, from Zac Efron giving a better performance than I thought he would, and the wife of Barnum (Jackman’s character), played by Michelle Williams.

The choreography in this movie is also stunning, the dance numbers are so incredibly detailed, and were very bright, eye popping, and fast paced.

The whole production of this movie I thought was very good, from the grand and colorful sets, to the meticulously detailed dances, but that is where all the good things end for me.

This movie had so many opportunities to be a great film, but the direction from Michael Gracey was not good at all. The film was unfortunately so, so misdirected to the point where everything felt out of place. There was not enough build up for the characters, showing practically no struggle of Barnum coming to fame, and having many supporting characters feel like just that, supporting characters. People were shown for a split second, and had no backstory or depth, and only appeared once more to deliver one line in one song!

Speaking of that, let’s talk about the music in this movie. This is a musical, so a very big part of this movie is being helped along by the songs. And also, in a musical, not just in movie musicals, but any sort of musical, the songs are supposed to have a little bit of variation in them. In this film every single song sounded the same, had the same inspirational feeling, and had the same message! I am not saying that the songs are bad, they are not. I mean, one of the songs was nominated for an Oscar, but with every single song having the same feeling to it, it just got old, very, very fast.

Well, overall, I did not like this movie. It was a huge disappointment for me, and I shall give it a 5/10.

However, many of the people I have talked to about this film have disagreed with me strongly. They claim it to be phenomenal, so do not take my review too seriously because you might go out and watch the movie and really like it. I was the only one in my family that hated the movie! So, I guess I shall recommend it so that you can gather your own opinion on it, but for me, I found it tragically misdirected, and rather disappointing in the long run.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

by Brandon Matzke

When I heard this movie was being made, I got worried. Let’s face it, wouldn’t you? A Robin Williams classic being remade without Robin Williams and “updated” for a newer audience? That’s usually a recipe for disaster. Yet I kinda enjoyed it.

So, I’m not a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; I find that he almost always plays the same character. I feel the same way about Jack Black and Kevin Hart, who also star in this movie. Yet here this movie is, where they play almost complete opposites of themselves. Dwayne is a wimp trapped in a wrestler’s body, Hart is a jock trapped in a not-so-athletic body, but the funniest performance comes from Jack Black’s character. This man gives one of his funniest performances here, as a popular high school girl trapped in the body of an “over-weight middle-aged man!” as she (he?) puts it.

The film has an overall sense of adventure, and does incorporate the “video game” aspects very well. As a part-time gamer, I could definitely relate to certain moments. Like how “NPCs” could only say certain things, or the cutscenes (yes, they even found a way to use those in the film). The action was fun too; it was far from Fury Road levels of awesome, but for what it was, it worked well.

Overall, this was a film that really surprised me. I had no anticipation for this film, but I found myself smiling from scene one to the credits. Is it a masterpiece to defy all ages? Definitely not. But as a fun “guilty pleasure” type of movie, it’s a good time. My overall score is a 7/10. I do think it’s better than I thought it would be, I had a ton of fun watching this, and I recommend it for a day where you have time to kill with your friends.

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