Jumanji: The Next Level

I admit I was pleasantly surprised to have genuinely laughed during Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. Even the first (Robin Williams) one didn’t appeal to me but I was happy to take the win. I was expecting significantly less this time around and that’s exactly what it delivered – but The Next Level wasn’t entirely without its charms.

Now, you would think that after last time, Spencer (Alex Wolff) would have learned his lesson: a very definitely do NOT play Jumanji. Don’t look, don’t touch, don’t keep it around for a rainy day. But there’s one little flaw in the plan. Spencer is a dude. And you won’t have failed to notice that every single person who has played and failed at Jumanji is, in fact, a man. Men are stupid. They do not learn. Spencer’s tenuous reason is that life was going just a little too swimmingly, which caused him to lose confidence. As you do. So to cure his insecurity, he goes back into the game. What, it doesn’t make sense? Doesn’t matter! He’s a white male: he doesn’t need one, no one will ever really question him, and don’t you dare to start to think you’ll be the first.

The thing is, last time Spencer got to be Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) but this time his avatar is Ming (Awkwafina), a master cat burglar even though Spencer’s an anxiety-riddled little mouse. And once his loyal friends jump into the game to save him, they too will get assigned avatars they aren’t prepared for and never could be. And it’s not just the original foursome, but Spencer’s arthritic Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his longtime frenemy Milo (Danny Glover) as well. It’ll be a real challenge to survive the game with these two dead weights slowing things down, but what choice do they have? The game’s afoot.

Jack Black is very good at pretending to be inhabited by all manner of teenager. Kevin Hart does an entertaining Danny Glover impression. Even Nick Jonas does a passable Colin Hanks. But The Rock? Poor Dwayne Johnson, he CANNOT do a DeVito. Like AT ALL.

The movie attempts to justify itself by being more, and it is – more characters, more whackadoodle scenarios, more adventure – but it’s also considerably less – less funny, less sensical.

By all rights Sean should be reviewing this movie but the poor guy had to leave the theatre at exactly the film’s climax (our sweetheart dog Gertie has been ill, and we were expecting a call from her vet; Sean held his phone in his hand the whole film, waiting for the merest vibration, whereupon he dashed out of the cinema to get the news). If you think it was difficult for him to tell me her results, you don’t know how hard it was for me to tell him how the movie ended. I’ve never felt more idiotic reciting simple facts.

Anyway, there are a few laughs to be had in this Jumanji, but not even enough to fill a 30 second trailer, so multiply that level of discomfort by 246 and you’ll have a general idea of your tolerance for this film.

22 thoughts on “Jumanji: The Next Level

  1. Invisibly Me

    I quite like the Williams original, or at least I think I did when I was younger. Maybe it was the novelty factor that made it a win. Can’t say I’ve been tempted to watch this one but eventually I’ll probably give it a go, you’ve made it sound more appealing than I’d anticipated! x

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  2. Pingback: 35+ Jumanji: The Next Level Reviews – Box Office Sales Measuring Brand Sequel Support? – Movies, Movies, Movies

  3. J.

    I haven’t even seen the other one, so it’ll likely be years before it even crosses my mind to watch this. By which time I’ll be living in a post-Brexit utopia that I imagine will be I somewhat as whackadoodle as Jumanji, so I won’t need to see it. That’s if there’s even electricity.

    Also, I hope Gertie is okay.

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  4. Jade

    Hope Gerti’s fine! :O Shame about the movie. I’ll wait till it’s available on Netflix. There’s nothing better than the original Jumanji, even with this cast!

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  5. Kendall

    My brother and I saw this movie today. We rushed to see it because we loved the first so much. It was alright. The scenes seemed to flow from funny to stale and back again. I liked it, but am not eager to rewatch it.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, it wasn’t consistent, and some of the people are just funnier than others. The last one surprised me – I really enjoyed it, thought it was funny, was willing to give this one a go and though I’d say it’s not a total waste, it’s definitely not as good as the last one.

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  7. mydangblog

    I thought it was decent, but then again, we were in the VIP drinking wine and eating poutine, so pretty much anything would have been decent at that point:-) Is Gertie all right?

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    1. Jay Post author

      Gertie is still being poked and prodded. They shaved her little belly for an ultrasound so now she needs extra cuddles to keep warm. Also a spot on her neck for a blood draw so she looks less than her usual fluffy self. They picked up a heart murmur which is incidental to the real problem. She’s being treated for a kidney infection at the moment and once that clears up she’ll be back in for more tests. Poor dear.

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