Movie #106 2020: Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

I have to admit, it took me a long time to watch the first Jumanji reboot. (I’m informed that these movies are technically sequels, but I digress). If you have fond memories of the original 1995 movie starring the late, great Robin Williams like I do, it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to mar its memory with an inadequate updated version.

Don’t get me wrong, these ‘sequels’ do not live up to the nineties version. That would be simply disrespectful to the near-perfect original. However, they are still a lot of fun.

Jumanji: The Next Level is the sequel to the sequel, so to speak. It was lucky enough to get a full theatrical release too, as it came out in December 2019 in the UK. I actually spoke to a cinema attendant when I went to see the latest Star Wars letdown, and he said he couldn’t believe how many people were still going to see The Next Level a month after it had been released. To date, this movie has made a whopping $796 million in box office sales, so they must be doing something right.

Onto the movie itself.

As with the previous movie, the cast this time round are utterly brilliant. Stand-out performances come in the form of two new additions, Danny DeVito and Awkwafina. The first movie was already funny, but putting those two at the centre of it? It becomes a laugh-a-minute kind of caper. In fact, there’s a gag within the film in which Awkwafina literally plays DeVito, and it could not be more hilarious. Her Jersey accent? Incredible. She gets everything right, all the way down to his body language. These brilliant secondary characters plus Dwayne Johnson? Perfection. It makes for an even funnier movie than the first.

All of the visual effects are very good too. Clearly the 1995 version would never have been able to achieve such convincing visuals, chiefly because the technology was nowhere near the same quality as what we have today. So for a modern audience – and specifically, modern children – this will no doubt appeal to them more than its originator.

But have no fear, this is not just a film for kids. There are adult jokes in there too. The two hour run time absolutely flies by like a thief in the night, and there’s just a liiiiittle twist at the end to set up the franchise for the next level. Rather excitingly for anyone who loved the original movie so much, there have been rumours that some of original cast will be appearing in the next one, so there’s definitely that to look forward to once filming can finally begin.

Although this is by no means the best movie in the world, it is super duper fun and entertaining. I would definitely recommend it to parents, children… and even just adults who need an easy, escapist watch.

Jumanji: The Next Level is available to rent on Amazon and the Google Play store for £3.49, plus other stores at various prices.

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