I'm usually late to any party when it comes to new films. There's a few people who still ask me if I've seen the latest film, and I almost always say, "I'll see it on RedBox." It's not that I'm not interested--I do track how films do and it was hard not to notice last year's monster hit, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It crushed at the box office. I heard nothing but great things so when we rented the film yesterday from RedBox, it did not disappoint.
But what struck me the most was the absolute perfect casting found in this film. It happens occasionally when a film has two wonderful leads--a good rom com almost relies on this formula to be successful. Getting two perfect casting choices is great for a film. Finding more perfect casting choices grows exponentially harder the more you have in a film.
The new Jumanji has four.
The four main actors, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan were spectacular. Each character had to react to the obvious difference in their transformed physical appearance to what they were before being transported into the game. The nerdy one becomes the near perfect physical specimen. The shy girl becomes--literally--a man killer and dance fighting champion. The jock loses his muscles and becomes a brain. And the high school beauty becomes a "fat ugly middle-aged man." The way the four actors portray the characters in flux is a wonder to behold.
Though each actor was amazing portraying each teenager's alter-ego, the one that impressed me the most was not Dwayne Johnson's convincing "nerd-to-stud" change, or Kevin Hart's "how-do-I-survive-without-my-once-powerful-body" hilarious transition, or Jack Black's adorable "now-I'm-a-man" realization. It was Karen Gillan's "now-I'm-beautiful-and-powerful" reactions I found the most entertaining. When she had to learn how to flirt and then found out she was a master dance fighter, for me, she won the award.
The show was good--the box office results prove that. People loved it and so did we. They got the casting right. In fact, they caught lightning in a bottle and they did it four times.