Movie: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
PG-13: action, suggestive content and language
In the age of sequels and reboots, there is a wide margin for error, especially with a 20-year-old franchise. Thankfully, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle manages to land solidly on its feet. When four high school students find themselves stuck in detention, they discover Jumanji, and in an instant are changed into their chosen characters in a race to escape the game. I’ll start with the bad: there is a bit of crude humor, and the costume design for Karen Gillan definitely isn’t of the most edifying persuasion. As for the good, the main cast fills their roles very well; watching Jack Black play a teenage girl stuck in an overweight man’s body is hilarious for the most part, and having the Rock be the avatar for an insecure nerd is priceless. In the end, this Jumanji reboot is a fun ride full of laughs and fun.
Movie: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
PG-13: violence and thematic elements
With a runtime of 152 minutes, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is the longest Star Wars film to date. Fans of 2015’s The Force Awakens will be happy to continue the adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe, and every scene containing Luke or Leia is sure to score some nostalgia points with longtime viewers. The visuals are as strong as ever, and the battles at the beginning and end are excitingly fun and tense simultaneously. The movie does suffer from a few issues: some of the subplots feel unnecessary, and (without providing any spoilers) many creative choices surrounding the characters and story may leave a sour taste with viewers. As a fan, I wouldn’t say The Last Jedi is my favorite venture into a galaxy far, far away, but it is entertaining and engaging enough to warrant a watch or two.
Movie: The Greatest Showman
PG-13: thematic elements including a brawl
Hugh Jackman returns to his musical roots in The Greatest Showman. Based on the real-life ringmaster, P.T. Barnum, and his beloved circus, the film follows his efforts to support his young family and provide joy to the masses after his former employer goes bankrupt. Being a musical amidst blockbusters, the film relies heavily on its music to distinguish itself. Thankfully, every bit of the score is vibrantly colorful, setting the tone of a scene or delivering exposition in any way but boring. The most important, yet underused theme of the film is a home for the rejected. Throughout Scripture, Christ shows love for those considered the “least” (Matthew 25:40), from the Samaritan woman at the well, to the hated tax collector Zacchaeus. “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17b).
Micah Trimmer | Salt Lake City | Intermountain Division