Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Dwayne Johnson – Dr. Xander “Smolder” Bravestone
Karen Gillan – Ruby Roundhouse
Jack Black – Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon
Awkwafina – Ming Fleetfoot
Kevin Hart – Franklin “Mouse” Finbar
Madison Iseman – Bethany
Danny DeVito – Eddie
Danny Glover – Milo
Morgan Turner – Martha
Ser’Darius Blain – Fridge
Alex Wolff – Spencer
Nick Jonas – Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough
Colin Hanks – Alex
I couldn’t wait for this one. I loved the first.
The movie began, the characters returned, I was sat beaming. Waiting for the crazy comedy to kick off. Thing is, after the first fifteen minutes Jumanji: The Next Level hit a skid and turned strange. And it was Hart who fucked it up.
The scene where Martha, Eddie, Milo and Fridge land in the desert is fucking agony. This is largely due to Hart playing the character of an elderly gentleman who has been zapped into the body of a computer game avatar. His overly long conversations and descriptive manner mean Milo (Franklin) drivels on… and on…
..and on a bit more. It passes humorous and becomes just plain tedious, the actor eating up a lot of screen time with slow and largely irrelevant dialogue. It’s painful. And the only thing that brings the movie down.
Fortunately there are elements of Jumanji: The Next Level which take it to a new (a-hem) level. The bridges scene is brilliantly dangerous with the characters trying to navigate their way across a ravine at the same time as fighting off killer mandrills. With the bridges shifting and the monkey things becoming even more vicious, this scene unfolds in a test of wits and moves at a perfect speedy pace.
And comedy flows thick and fast throughout the movie, right down to the subtlest of lines spoken by the cast. The main beauty of this is the fact it’s not child or adult humour – it’s overall wholesome fun (I.E. one of the group stood chatting as a giant serpent lowers itself down and swallows their head). The surreal action is definitely the best element, and this kicks off even before a male character body-swaps with a female (cue a boob gag). It’s decent stuff.
The adventure aspect is excellent and without a doubt perfect for younger viewers. Following the true form of computer game sequence, this movie jumps from one scenario to another and incorporates a load of crazy obstacles. Great stuff.
But is it as good as the first film?..
..not quite. Although it mixes up the characters and the game itself, Jumanji: The Next Level becomes more of a drama at points than a desperate race for survival and winning like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Yes, there’s character development which is always a good thing. But having two of the video game characters scaling a gargantuan cliff with ice picks, whilst having a domestic (“why did you never return my calls?” type thing) takes the fun out of it a bit. And a lead character having a slight breakdown at the beginning was odd, touching on this real world person’s vulnerability and starting the movie off with an, “oo-er” moment.
So apart from its painful beginning, this movie delivers the goods in terms of wacky situations. It gets well in to the game story too which means you get a bit more context behind what’s going on and not just a pack of kids running around. And the scene where one of the avatars loses a life repeatedly is strangely hilarious.
Good, but not as good as the first.