Small Screen Reviews
Jumanji: The Next Level Review
Sony Pictures Releasing
What’s It About?
The gang are forced to go back into the world of Jumanji to rescue one of their own, but the world as they knew it is completely different, and that’s not the only thing to have changed.
Who’s In It?
Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 5-7, Moana, Central Intelligence, & more recently F&F: Hobbs & Shaw)
Kevin Hart (Ride Along, Central Intelligence, The Secret Life Of Pets 1-2), & more recently Night School)
Jack Black (School Of Rock, King Kong, Kung Fu Panda 1-3, & more recently Goosebumps 1-2)
Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Oculus, Guardians Of The Galaxy & Avengers, & more recently Stuber)
Other notables include:
Danny DeVito (Twins, Batman Returns, Matilda, & more recently Dumbo)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon 1-4, Saw, & more recently, The Old Man & The Gun)
Director: Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher, Sex Tape, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle)
2017’s Jumanji reboot of the Robin Williams classic was clearly a surprise juggernaut of a blockbuster. Featuring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black, the VR body swap family comedy proved an absolute smash with plenty of heart and humour to take just shy of $1 billion worldwide.
Fast forward two years and an inevitable sequel, and the pressure is well and truly on. Director and writer Jake Kasdan has gone for safety first, doubling down on the humour and the body swap aspects, and adding in a couple of screen legends in the form of Danny DeVito and Danny Glover.
The film sees the four students all at uni, having the time of their lives – at least for everyone except the anxious Spencer who is struggling somewhat. The next thing we know, Spencer has jumped back into the game, and his friends have to dive in to try to save him. Unfortunately this also results in Spencer’s granddad Eddie, and his friend Milo being sucked into the game too. And once they enter the game, it soon becomes clear that everything has changed – terrain, the baddy and even the avatars they inhabit leading to some brilliant physical comedy including Dwayne Johnson as Danny DeVito, and star of the show Kevin Hart as the slow talking Danny Glover, who delivers time and again, as well as a fabulous cameo by Awkwafina.
Admittedly the plot is pretty weak in this one, and the lead villain, played by Rory McCann, is given limited opportunity in this sequel, but in truth the same could be said of Welcome To The Jungle with Bobby Cannavale’s turn.
The real comedy gold that was mined in the first film was the camaraderie between the four leads, and the fallout from the body swaps. And director Jake Kasdan has elevated both these elements considerably with hilarious consequences. It may not quite live up to the heights set by Welcome To The Jungle, but it certainly has a good stab at it.
In A Nutshell:
After the resounding success of the last one, why change a winning formula – fun-filled, funny and fast-paced though a little less fresh this time.
Kevin Hart’s performance hands down
Awkwafina’s performance too
It was a little too similar to the original so didn’t feel quite so fresh
Release date: 13/04/2020
Certificate: 12 / 12A