Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

The gang is back together from Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. This time one of the members of the group goes into the game solo which makes the rest of them and newcomers going in to rescue him. Everyone realizes that the game has changed.

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for adventure action, suggestive content and some language

Fun Fact: All of the production for the film was done in 2019. Filming was from February to May with a December 2019 release.

2017 saw the surprise hit of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle as it made money at the box office and had positive reviews. So, with all that momentum it was natural that a sequel would be in the works. I was surprised at how fast that this film came out as it came out exactly two years after the first one. I did enjoy the previous installment (now I will have to post a review to this site) as it was something entertaining for everyone. My wife wanted to see this one and re rented it via Amazon Prime Video the other night.

The biggest question I had going into this was how they were going to present a story to this one. The story is a bit different in a way, but it felt like in some parts it was the exact movie as the previous installment. Why would these characters want to go back into the game in the first place? They already know what its like to go into said game, why go back? They do give a reason and it does make sense in a way, but the story could’ve had a bit more to it and maybe even expand on the lore of the franchise. One thing that does work is that the game is changed as in that it’s a different adventure the second time around. In a way it freshened up a bit and we get some new playable characters to get to know. To fill out a two-hour movie you need to have things to keep it interesting to keep the audience engaged with what is going on. With the new details we get that in certain areas if your questioning about what the difference is.

With the new locations we have some nice shots and scenery to look at. The film looks good and the location choices were pleasant. While this film has its comedic moments, it’s more action oriented and you can tell that the film wanted to go big or go home. There is a portion in the of the film in the desert that is well shot with an action scene filmed with sand buggies. It’s well shot, and the action is clean. There is a great scene filmed featuring bridges and it felt truly like being in a video game. The technical aspects through the whole film is well done, especially for a film that had a short turn around to it.

The cast from the previous installment returns and it was nice seeing these characters again. Before you get comfortable with these characters there is a twist to it. I won’t give away it away, but it was mixed for me and my wife. While I can see what they were going for part, but a part of me wanted to see how it played out before. After a bit of time I warmed up to it. The best performance goes to Kevin Hart. We always see Kevin Hart as a loud and boisterous person in real life, but he’s the complete opposite of that. He delivers the lines perfectly and it was a riot. Dwayne Johnson’s performance for the first half didn’t work for me or my wife. My wife told me that she hoped that this wasn’t going to be his acting through the whole movie. Johnson has this weird accent that just didn’t work. He picks it up in the second half though and it becomes enjoyable. Jack Black was just as great as he was in the previous film. He has more to do here and he pulls it off.

Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is a decent film, but not better as the previous installment. It has a nice blend of action and comedy to it and some interesting concepts to expand the franchise. There are some things that feel like it’s on repeat mode, but there are new things that make it enjoyable. The new locations and action scenes bring something fresh so it’s not all on repeat mode that some people would think it is. I would recommend renting it for families that would like something to watch together.

Verdict: Hit

Wife’s Verdict: Hit as it started off rocky (sorry I just had to write that down) but it got better in the second half. She liked seeing these characters again.

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