Jumanji: The Next Level review
You know what any kid can relate to? Having to explain video games to adults, especially to seniors. Even I, an adult, can still have trouble when my grandmother wants an explanation of the news she hears about Fortnite or something about Nintendo. Looking at it from their perspective, I can't blame them. Video games are toys that are more complex and involve a level of storytelling that’s miles away from the traditional "Cowboys and Indians" they played as children. Unlike a yo-yo or a Barbie toy that's self explanatory, video games always have different rules and instructions depending on it's genre. So how do you explain something that's always going to be different? I'd say it's best just throwing them in there and let experience be the guide.
When it came to learning about game figuring out how to win, it was oddly the premise from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Yes, it may have been a sequel to the 90s classic, but it was also an enjoyable action movie that got several laughs out of me. It was a big enough of hit to gain a sequel. So how do you continue the story without repeating it? Jumanji: The Next Level doesn't repeat…but also does…in a good way.
It's been a couple of years and the group of teenager from the first movie, Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany have all entered college and haven't seen each other in a while. Spencer is concerned that his dull experience in New York and sad demeanor will seem unimpressive compared to what his friends have done. Still, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany meet up at a restaurant to catch up, hoping that Spencer can talk about his troubles. They visit his house to find him, only to be greeted by his grandpa Eddie (played by Danny DeVito) and another senior, Milo (played by Danny Glover).
The teens go into the basement to find the Jumanji game they thought was destroyed repaired and figure out that Spencer went inside. But just as they touch the controller, they're sucked in without picking their characters. Martha is still Ruby (played by Karen Gillan), but Fridge is now Professor Shelly (played by Jack Black), Eddie is Dr. Bravestone (Played by Dwayne Johnson) and Milo is now Moose (played by Kevin Hart). Along with two old men confused with the new environment their in, the game has changed and they still don't know where Spencer is.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a movie I liked, but didn't love. Jumanji: The Next Level is about the same. There's a lot of different things I like…and elements that seem have not changed for no reason. To start off, Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart do a great job imitating Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. It's like watching Grumpy Old Men if it happened to be a video game action movie. And to see the other actors frustrate over their incompetence. Thankfully, they don't go on too long with that gag, though I can't say why without spoiling it.
When the movie cuts to the real world, the scenes are also fine, though when it comes to the characters, I don't know why they put Spencer's character back to square one, making him out of his element. I know college is going to be a different experience for kids, but he was the kind of guy who would have gained confidence from that place, let alone from the Jumanji game. I was hoping they'd say he was going through depression or something more. But, nope, he was just feeling self-conscious…because the movie said to.
The other teens don't have much in the way dilemmas their going through. This is probably why the majority of the story goes to Danny DeVito and his friendship with Danny Glover. It's a strange thing to put into the Jumanji series, but it works because both are phenomenal actors.
As a blockbuster, the movie has plenty of action and tries to continue the tradition of jungle animals out on the hunt. It's not as scary as the original Jumanji of the 90s, but I still had fun, especially within a sequence involving rope bridges and a ton of baboons.
I'll give this four Jumanji video games out of five. This is an example of a movie that may have added new problems, but it also improves of a lot of things. I had fun watching this and I think a lot of families will have fun too. If you hear the drumbeats, it's Jumanji calling, so take a listen.