A completely unnecessary sequel in my opinion, all be it one with plenty of chuckles and wise cracks. Doesn’t mean this needs to turn into a franchise though.
DIRECTOR: Jake Kasdan
STARRING: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan
SCREENPLAY: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner
GENRE: Adventure, Comedy
RUNTIME: 123 Minutes
★★★ 3 Stars
Back in 2017 when I discovered they were rebooting Jumanji, a childhood favourite of mine, I was understandably apprehensive. But after forcing myself to give it a chance, I was relieved to discover that it was actually pretty good. Now imagine my surprise when they announced they were going to release a sequel. A completely unnecessary sequel to an almost completely unnecessary reboot.
The net level picks up about a year after the events of the first game. Our group of plucky adventurers have all moved on to college and still meet up regularly to hang out and catch up. However Spencer is feeling insecure about hanging out with his friends, so instead chooses to boot up the deadly video game of Jumanji and take another turn, in order to feel some level of cool again as Dr. Smoulder Bravestone. This is made more complicated when his friends go into the game to find him and accidently bring along Spencer’s aging grandpa and his friend. And to make matters worse, this level of the game is even harder.
Is this movie still full of funny moments and video game references? Yes. Does it deliver in the same way that the first one did? No. Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson mostly supply the humour in this movie as you can well imagine, as they play the parts of Spencer’s aging grandfather and his ex-best friend. And while all the old guys trying to come to terms with new technology jokes are funny in the beginning, anyone who has ever tried to teach their grandparents how to use technology will tire of the humour pretty quickly. Otherwise, the humour is basically the same shtick from the first time round. And while that isn’t necessarily bad, they could have tried to develop the characters a bit more then they did.
The adventure aspect of the game is good, it was a good move to move the action away from previously explored areas, but you don’t find anything new here either, just your standard adventure movie for kids stuff. Rope bridges, darts set off by pressure sensors. Anyone who has seen an Indiana Jones movie will know all this stuff on sight.
It’s not a standout performance for any of the actors involved, but a special mention should go to Awkwafina, who has a whole bunch of award Noms for a movie she made earlier in the year, and some promising projects in the future, so her talents just seem wasted here.
It’s enjoyable enough, but nothing to really write home about.
Jumanji: The next Level is Out in UK cinemas now.
Or you can check out my Reviews for the other Jumanji Movies here:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) https://trailertrashedfilm.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/archive-jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-2017-review/