Jumajni: The Next Level
review by Bobby Blakey
When they announced they were doing a new Jumanji movie people got pretty upset as the 1995 original feature starring the late great Robin Williams is loved by many. To many surprise the 2017 follow up Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle worked great while paying homage to the original as a sequel and did really well at the box office. Of course this meant a new chapter with Jumanji: The Next Level that features the same cast back including Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan as well as the addition of Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. Could this next chapter defeat the big boss to get to the next level or will it be game over?
In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game. I was one of the many that was on the fence about the 2017 sequel, but enjoyed it quite a bit so I was looking forward to going back for more fun. I love the direction they went this time around mixing up the characters to allow the actors to take on new personalities. This adds a new element that while not always works makes it feel fresh all while still being familiar.
I know it might run its course with some, but I loved the Johnson and Hart riffing on each other as their DeVito and Glover personalities. Sure it’s silly, but that is why it worked. They came up with a very simplistic way to get things to switch up a few times allowing everyone to get in on the fun while still keeping the gang together. Now they reasoning behind going back at all initially is pretty silly but in this kind of film you look past it to enjoy the ride. They offer up more of the sentimental elements in hopes to bring the heart back and some of it works, but overall this one is really about the laughs and adventure.
As expected they bring the fun with all sorts of action and adventure including stampeding ostrich’s, crazed mandrills, and more. Seeing their new abilities in action add to the mix making it feel like a true follow up game. I loved the film an thought it was a blast but can see why some might find it too similar. I think they mixed it up just enough to keep the fun alive and threw in yet another great connection to the original film. If the credit stinger is any indication this isn’t our last trip to Jumanji and I am all for returning to play along.
This release not only includes the film but also bonus content including a gag reel, AR game and numerous featurettes that take you behind bringing this new level of the game to life. Choose your characters and grab your copy of Jumanji: The Next Level available now on digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.