Jumanji: The Next Level

First movie escape of the holiday season while down in Texas. I could not get myself down to Alamo Drafthouse soon enough to take a break from being home. This adventure would be a trip to Jumanji.

The first time we encountered Jumanji, it was a board game that inhabited the real world. The next time, it was a video game that some unwitting teenagers were sucked into. Now, it’s again a video game, but there’s more people and more characters and the game’s kinda broken. But it’s still the same thing. Survive the world, do a thing, scream “Jumanji”, back to reality.

With any sequel, your challenge is to make it feel fresh and new while still retaining what worked the first time around. Two things that they used to differentiate this film: glitchy game and more characters. The former worked fairly well, the latter no so much. It just got kinda weird that there were so many people (and a horse) and even a little confusing at times. We’d gotten used to certain avatars being specific characters and now they weren’t. Plus The Rock couldn’t quite pull off a Danny DeVito accent. It just didn’t work for me. I was inexplicably bored, and just could not get into this film (even though I was loving the pineapple fizz I was drinking)

What did work were the moments that mirrored those I loved the first time: namely when Jack Black and/or Karen Gillan were stealing the show. Gillian carried the first half as her character was the one taking charge in the jungle, and Black stole the second half after a much necessary course correction (Gillan leading was not the course that needed correcting).

It kills me to say, but this is the ultimate definition of an unnecessary sequel. It felt exactly the same, but the best parts were the ones most like the original. Why were we back in the Jungle? I will say there’s a mid-credit scene that teases a third installment that would be a different take. That’s prolly the movie we shoulda gotten here.

Jumanji: The Next Level – \m/ \m/