Don Reviews "Jumanji: The Next Level"
I have always been a fan of games of all sorts, from Gin or Spades to board games. There is something about a group of people having fun, especially with no phones, but when that kind of material is part of a reboot, remake, or sequel and how I feel about them, should we pull it out of the closet and play it over the holidays or donate it to Goodwill?
“Jumanji: The Next Level” is the latest film directed by Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) and has the returning cast of Dwayne Johnson (Moana), Jack Black (School of Rock), Kevin Hart (Ride Along), and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) along with Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Danny DeVito (Matilda), Rory McCann (Game of Thrones), and Alex Wolff (Hereditary). Starting off after the previous film left off, the teens have left New Hampshire and are off doing their thing. When Spencer comes home to his mothers and grandfather’s (DeVito) home for the holidays, he tries to cure his blues by replaying Jumanji (which they destroyed in its game console in the end of the last film). The others return as well and believe that Spencer has put the game back together, so they go back into the game also to try to bring him home. This time, the game also takes in Spencer’s grandfather and his friend Milo (Glover). They all are again in avatars and find out they have a new quest (retrieving a magic stone from Jurgen the Brutal, played by McCann, and return it to its rightful owner) to complete before they can get back to the real world without losing their three “lives”.
Just like its predecessor, there are many different sets and locales with a ton of CGI, and some of it is good but may have been a tad too much. The acting is basically just there: for example, the joke of Dwayne Johnson’s avatar being run by Danny DeVito’s character got real dry after two minutes and was done so much by a number of characters throughout the entire film to the point of overkill.
The 2017 version was not a bad film, but this one falls short by trying to re-hash certain things from the other films that does not pay off. At about two hours long, twenty minutes could have been cut and this would have been a better time at the movies, with a LOT of filler. (And it looks like we are getting another one as well.) They should take this game, get it out of its misery and put it back on the shelf. In honesty, I will probably not watch “Jumanji: The Next Level” again.