Welcome back to Reptile’s Random Reviews. After being silent for a couple of weeks, I’m baaaaack and so is “Jumanji” with ‘Jumanji: Next Level.’ Maybe I can hit the next level in this review.
As we recall, the original Jumanji (1995) starred Robin Williams and was pretty popular. In 2017, Columbia Pictures revisited this film and moviegoers approved to the tune of $962 million worldwide. A nice-sized piece of cheese. It starred Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas. For someone who started out as singer in a boy band, Nick turned out to be a pretty good actor.
On December 13th, 2019 (Friday the 13th, by the way), Columbia Pictures dipped into the pot again and released ‘Jumanji: The Next Level.‘ And again moviegoers responded with $$$ to the tune of $60.1 million dollars domestically in its opening weekend, beating ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle‘ by over $8 million dollars. A fair amount of cheese, I would say.
On Christmas day, I took the family to see this film and was excited to see the return of the original cast. They also upped the game by adding Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, and Danny Glover. DeVito playing Spencer’s grandfather who is living with Spencer’s family while recovering from hip surgery. Danny Glover plays DeVito’s best friend and former business partner, while Awkwafina (actress/rapper) appears as a character within the Jumanji game.
Rolling in on the sequel of an already successful film franchise, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Historically, sequels are often made to be nothing more than money sponges; only existing so Hollywood can reach further into our pockets. This time, it wasn’t the case.
‘The Next Level‘ starts with the team meeting up for the holidays. At this point, they are out of high school and have gone their separate ways. When Spencer is a no-show, the group compares notes. Unable to reach Spencer, they go to his house to find out why he has been silent, only to find him missing. A quick look in the basement reveals he has cobbled together the remains of the old Jumanji game console and it is running. Needless to say, the gang ends up back in the game with the addition of Grandpa and his best friend who are clueless on how everything works. This leads to the storyline of finding Spencer and completing a new level of the game.
I enjoyed the movie, even though a lot of it was predictable and it revisited a lot of the previous humor with new situations. But my family, as well as the rest of the theater, laughed through most of it. Dwayne Johnson was on-point with his typical Dwayne Johnson way of doing things, while Jack Black convincingly swapped between personalities, and Karen Gillan reprised her kick-ass character of Ruby Roundhouse. Kevin Hart, as funny as ever, played a couple of the characters and left me laughing, while the rest of the crew did a enjoyable job with their roles.
I give ‘Jumanji: The Next Level‘ 4 out of 5 Stars and really think if you are a fan, you should give it a look.
This has been another edition of Reptile’s Random Reviews