No one has asked for a sequel to the 2017 release of Jumanji but here it is anyway. The first reboot was a huge success with fans and a hit at the box office, so can this sequel live up to the last two installments?
Jumanji: The Next Level takes place three years after the previous events have occurred, having gone their separate ways but still close via daily chats, Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner), and Bethany (Madison Iseman) organise a catch up while they are all in town in Branford. Except Spencer (Alex Wolff) who feels discontented and isolated from everyone and instead decides to enter the world of Jumanji to feel relevant again. Concerned when Spencer doesn’t show up, his friends visits his house and doesn’t take them long to realise he has entered the game again. Disappointment and confused with his decision, they agree to go after him as a rescue mission.
Unbeknownst to them, the Jumanji game has been malfunctioning due to its broken state and consequently pulls in Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie, (Danny DaVito) and his old friend, Milo (Danny Glover), while leaving Bethany out. Who then has to seek help from Alex (Colin Hanks) to help her friends out. Fridge and Matha successfully enter Jumanji but are horrified when they discover Eddie and Milo are now occupying two game characters, and they think they are in Florida or in the afterlife.
The 2017 release was an over the top comedic fantasy and I would say the new movie does it better this time around. Having a search and rescue mission inside a game we have already seen can get repetitive and tedious, but the creators have made the right decision by changing up the rules and adding extra characters to freshen up the idea. Without the expense of much-loved scenarios and cameos.
Joining the diverse cast this time around are Nora Lum (aka Awkwafina), who plays another game character, Danny DaVito who is Spencer’s stubborn grandfather, and his old friend and now foe, Danny Glover. Game of Throne’s Rory McCann takes on the role of the villain, Jurgen the Brutal. Amusingly, his character looks like he stepped off the set of GOT and directly onto the set of Jumanji.
Karen Gillan and Jack Black return alongside Nick Jonas, Colin Hanks, Kevin Heart, and Dwayne Johnson. Scenes where Heart and Johnson play Eddie and Milo are the highlight of the movie as they bring most of the comedic elements to the film. It would have benefited the plot had they allowed Heart and Johnson to play the grandfathers for longer.
Jumanji: The Next Level knows audience members enjoy seeing these actors on screen and fully understand those watch it do so to have a fun time at the cinema. There aren’t any moments where you’d think the director-writer (Jake Kasdan) take this film too seriously. With that being said, there are components in the script that should have been abandoned. The characters constantly wasting their lifelines drags down the story, it was somewhat understandable in the last reboot, but it doesn’t work when all the same characters have returned and should know better.
While we may not have asked for a sequel to the reboot, we are certainly glad there is one in existence. Jumanji: The Next Level is exactly the kind of fun we all need sometimes. 6/10
I think it’s safe to say another Jumanji will be on its way soon.
Jumanji: The Next Level is in cinemas this boxing day.