Title – Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
Director – Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher)
Cast – Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover
Plot – The Jumanji gang are back as they head to a whole new game in a battle that will test their wills, strengths and friendships.
“Why does everybody keep dropping from the sky?”
Review by Eddie on 23/01/2019
A few years ago you could hear the collective groans and outcry when the world first heard about the Jumanji re-imagining that would be released in 2017.
What type of Hollywood blasphemy was this? That they believed the world wanted a new take on the classic Robin William’s starring family film with boardgames being turned into video games? There was no way surely that the new Jumanji would be any good.
Well almost a billion dollars at the world wide box office later and solid reviews from critics and audiences alike proved us all wrong, as director Jake Kasdan and his all-star cast showed that a whole new world of Jumanji wasn’t actually that bad of an idea.
As is the case with anything so successful, Jumanji didn’t lay dormant for long as it gets the core gang of Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart back once more for a return to the world of a dangerous interactive game, but this time there’s far less surprises in store as Kasdan and his team mostly re-heat what they produced in the 2017 outing.
With expectations so low the first time around, audiences found themselves surprised by the amount of solid laughs and cast chemistry that was found in Welcome to the Jungle but The Next Level can’t find that same style of unexpected delights, even if it swaps up avatars between our players and introduces geriatrics Danny Glover and Danny DeVito to this new adventure.
Everything that takes place in Next Level is fairly predictable and slight, with Kasdan and his cast unable to conjure up the same unexpected magic they did first time around even if the films bigger budget and more large-scale spectacle will keep viewers interested and the tween audience glued to the screen throughout.
With the same setup of the gang having to battle a dastardly NPC and save the kingdom, it makes it harder for all the banter and character beats to shine through even if all performers are clearly having another bout of good times, with Johnson and Hart having the most fun doing their best impressions of DeVito and Glover.
It feels as though now the new financially viable series is in a place where further installments will have to push the boundaries narratively quite a bit further should it want to remain relative, as while its fooled us all once and to a lesser extent twice, a third time would be a bridge too far for a franchise that has become one of the most surprisingly popular of the modern era.
Final Say –
Still watchable and instilled with fun performances, Jumanji: The Next Level cant hide the fact its story and jokes have quickly started to feel a little stale, with a fresh approach needed when the next installment hits.
2 1/2 pollen weaknesses out of 5