Movie review: Jumanji: The Next Level

06 Dec 2019 / 09:43 H.

Considering the fun-filled ride I had with Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017), I expected more of the same when I went to watch Jumanji: The Next Level.

Unfortunately this movie’s plot seems a bit forced, with a wafer thin reason for the original gang to go back into the video game.

This time around Spencer’s cranky grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and Eddie’s estranged friend Milo (Danny Glover) are along for the ride.

The movie begins with a depressed Spencer (Alex Wolff) who returns home for the holidays.

Spencer is reluctant to meet with Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Bethany (Madison Iseman), whom he befriended after their experiences.

Instead he goes and checks on the broken pieces of the Jumanji video game that was supposedly destroyed in the last movie.

His three friends eventually come looking for him, and all of them, including Eddie and Milo, get sucked into the game – except for Bethany.

Only Martha is back as Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), while Fridge is now Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (Jack Black), while Eddie is Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), and Milo is Dr Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart). When they find Spencer, he is now a new avatar called Ming (Awkwafina).

At least Hart tries to sound like Glover’s Milo, and provides some laughs with his long-winded yarning. Johnson as Smoulder, who is now inhabited by Eddie, fails to be as funny.

Meanwhile, Bethany seeks help from Alex Vreeke (Colin Hanks) who was previously trapped for 20 years in the game as Jefferson McDonough (Joe Jonas) to save her friends.

In the game, our four heroes not only have to get their hands on a stone that a crazed barbarian ruler has stolen, but must also contend with players who are clearly not suited for their avatars.

There are some thrilling chases, funny one-liners and an ending (an homage to 1995’s Jumanji) that promises a sequel.

I wish there was more character development as all the avatars in the previous movie were hilarious. Unlike Awkwafina, Jonas has no real role here.

If there is a third movie, let’s hope there is more depth to it.

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