Director: Jake Kasdan
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina, Ser'Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Danny Glover, Danny DeVito
Runtime: 2 hrs 3 mins
Rating: PG (Some Violence and Coarse Language)
Released By: Sony Pictures
Opening Day: 5 December 2019
Synopsis: In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.
Who would have thought that a game that was originally a board game could have so much possibilities?
Jumanji: The Next Level brings the same team of friends back into the dangerous and unpredictable board-game-turn-video-game adventure, when Spencer, the supposed ringleader, decided to re-enter the game in search of acceptance and belonging due to life issues. Martha, Fridge and Bethany have to re-enter the game to save Spencer from permanent disappearance. A glitch unexpectedly turns the game upside down, as the team are unable to retain their original avatars in the previous round of the game and have to deal with new characters and players along the way in order to come out of the game.
So, most of us would approach this newer addition to the Jumanji series with a bit more caution, as a sequel to a popular series can go either way.
And my biggest fears were met in the beginning, as a lukewarm and shifty start was what welcomed us. With a less than compelling beginning and slightly jaded script, it really felt like the production team was forced into making a sequel for the sake of doing so. It made me wonder if I would be dragged into an extreme long and sluggish journey.
Thankfully, my fears were pushed aside towards the start of the middle of the film, when the ‘real’ adventure begins. From the moment the characters were ‘in their zone’ in the game, things just went uphill and it felt like there was no turning back at all.
For one, this sequel brings in the same humour as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It seems like the magical formula that had led to the success of the previous film had somehow rubbed onto this film and continued a legacy that can actually get the audience into multiple fits of laughter.
The fact that the storyline revolved around a different set of scenery and evolved into something more suspenseful and mysteriously intriguing was a great change. In fact, it is crazy brilliant how the team were able to create a storyline fitting of a sequel that is fresh and relatable, despite the fact that it was not a continuation of the previous storyline. And the pleasant cinematography helped elevate the thrills and excitement of the action involved.
And even though parts of the film does sound like a slight cliché ala Hollywood style, the injection of the right amount of action and humour makes the viewers forget that the basis of the story is quite silly and ridiculous.
But truly, the greatest asset of this film has to be the cast. The versatility, comedic capabilities and strong charisma of the cast made the film extremely thrilling and enjoyable. Despite a slight set of shortcomings in between scenes, most of the actors did pretty well, with Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart coming up tops with their amazing transition through different varying personalities and pushing themselves to the limits with their comedic skills.
In the end, one leaves the cinema with so much joy that they forget their worries and want to get immerse into the game! There is so much that the film could be hated for, but there was not any reason to compel to such a decision. And with a likeable cast, amusing storyline and a great scenery, what is there not to love about “Jumanji”?
Bring us to the next level, any time!
An adventurous and thrilling film with enough suspense and humour for all to enjoy, A sequel worth going to the cinema for! (Do watch Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle first prior to this)
Review by Ron Tan