When Jumanji released in 1995, it set a mark for children’s fantasy adventure flick, revolving around a supernatural board game. It was the 90’s and board games were much loved. Two decades later, the film was revived yet again with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and it turned the board game into a video game. After all, its the 2010’s. And now, the hilarious film returns with Jumanji: The Next Level.
The movie is about the four buddy gang: Bethany (Madison Iseman), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), and Martha (Morgan Turner) entering the game – intentionally this time – to save their pal, Spencer (Alex Wolff). But there’s a catch; the game is busted and they end up moving into the bodies of wrong gaming avatars. Also, Spencer’s grandpa Eddie and his friend Milo, performed by the funny duo – Danny Devito and Danny Glover, respectively get dragged into the virtual world.
The strongest asset of this film is the cast. Dwayne Johnson as Bravestone, Jack Black as Shelly, Kevin Hart as Mouse and Karen Gillan as Ruby nail their portrayal. As the game has gone haywire, Eddie and Milo dive into bodies of Bravestone and Mouse. The result is just hilarious. It’s as if Dwayne and Kevin are literally possessed by Devito and Glover. The sequence were Shelly and Ruby (now Fridge and Martha, respectively) convince Bravestone and Mouse that they are in a video game leaves you in splits. The ‘old men’ believe they are dead. Mouse speaks slow like Milo and the act makes you asking for more. The arguments among the ‘old men’ is funny.
As for the plot and setting, The Next Level, has plenty of new thrills and dangerous turns for ‘players’ to encounter. There are new enemies and more game characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. As the team moves from one level to the next, so does the danger they face.
The visuals are pleasing and it makes you whistle in delight. Like when the team escapes from a herd of Ostriches in a desert buggy or when they are chased by hundreds of Mandrills while running over a creaky moving rope bridges across a cliff in a jungle. The stunts are ridiculous and makes you laugh. The Next Level offers every ingredient that makes an adventure comedy work and the best recipe they have yet again is the cast. PS – stay put for the post credit scenes. There’s a surprising waiting.