8/10 When I first heard about this sequel/reboot I was obviously skeptical. The original film is a film I loved as a child, although if you watch it as an adult, it holds up about as well as my grandma’s breasts. So despite the original not being a good movie, Robin Williams and certain elements do work. It’s those working factors plus nostalgia that makes us protective of that film and made me nervous for this one. After having seen this though, I can breathe a sigh of relief and be happy that because this film wasn’t rushed after the first one and they took their time to get it right, this is a very fun film. The problem a lot of sequels have is just copying the same formula as the first and hoping the audience won’t care or notice (“The Hangover 2” comes to mind). This film however doesn’t just repeat the board game elements with crazy animals and floods coming to our planet. It updates and changes things up so that instead of a board game, we have a video game and instead of stampedes, floods or monkeys coming out of the game, the kids go into the game and have to survive in that element. Updating the story instead of copying the original is the film’s biggest strength. The next biggest strength is definitely the cast. Jack Black hasn’t done much lately but he absolutely steals the show and is the funniest part of the film. Kevin Hart also has his funniest film role and The Rock and Karen Gillan put in excellent work as their respective parts. Seeing these adult actors portray the teenagers that got sucked into the game also adds a new element and a highly entertaining one. This film has heart to it, a good number of laughs, exciting new elements, clever video game references and is enjoyable to both kids and adults alike. The only negatives I can really speak of are some moments are over the top or super unrealistic and the villain is very generic and cookie cutter/forgettable. Most of the special effects work but not all of them. In the end though, I definitely recommend this fun film and I am sad to see that they are rushing a sequel to this into production. I would have hoped they would have learned the lesson with what made this film work and repeat that to ensure a high quality outcome, but it doesn’t look like they will. Even if the sequel to this disappoints, check this movie out and let the games begin!
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