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Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle by Henry Jackman (Review)

posted Dec 19, 2017, 12:52 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Dec 20, 2017, 4:13 PM ]

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle might be one of those late surprises of the year in both film and score. The film is only related to the original movie in name and concept. This is not a sequel nor a reboot. Instead of a board game bringing elements into the real world, here we have a video game that sucks its players into its own world. What follows is an entirely enjoyable, fun and lush comedy-adventure. Director Jake Kasdan originally hired James Newton Howard, presumably based off the amazing collaboration James has with his father, Lawrence Kasdan. When scheduling became an issue for James, he had to bow out. In his place came the incredibly versatile Henry Jackman who has delivered a knockout adventure score that is way better than it has any right to be.

The best part of this score is that it feels like it was composed 20 years. While it may not directly quote James Horner’s original score, it feels like it was born of the same adventurous orchestral spirit. Henry Jackman is a huge fan of Alan Silvestri, and it was Silvestri’s score to Predator that inspired him to pursue film composing. And we can hear that Silvestri influence for sure in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Jackman’s approach is just spot-on from start to finish, and the score brings the world to life in such a vivid and robust way. The tone is not too light so that the score still feels fun without being “joyful”. If the tone were to be too “fun” then it wouldn’t be as adventurous since all the danger would be sucked out. Thankfully that’s not the case. The score has a great theme that allows it to stand on two legs without much need for support, but it definitely leaves room for the physical and situational comedy to play. In the end, the music delivers everything that it needs to make Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle a memorable experience. The first track on the album was essentially Henry's pitch to director Jake Kasdan of all the themes and symphonic approach he wanted to take, and thankfully Jake agreed that themes and melodies were the way to go.

Henry Jackman provides a lush and colorful orchestral adventure for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle that is a welcome surprise at the closing of the year. With a strong theme and a score structured on melodies, we are treated to a comedy-adventure score that is engaging from start to finish. The music leaves plenty of room for the comedy and does a great job of maintaining a tone that is fun yet still pretty exciting. Henry Jackman’s love for Alan Silvestri shines bright here, but it’s Jackman’s overall versatility that brings this score to life.