Let’s be honest, when we first heard about the remake of Jumanji we all thought it wouldn’t be any good. How dare anyone attempt to remake any film with Robin Williams in it. *Gives a look to Aladdin*. Clearly they are all perfection and cannot be improved on. Then we got Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and it was gooood. After the first awesome taste of Amy Pond Dance Fighting, we weren’t just into the new version we wanted more – finally, we return to the world of Jumanji with Jumanji: The Next Level.
Ok so first things first for anyone coming in late (shame on you) what is Jumanji? It’s a board game. Well, it’s a video game. But it’s also a movie. Confused? It all started in 1969 when Alan Parrish started playing a board game which was actually magic and he was sucked into before he grew up to be Robin Williams 26 years later.
When he was old enough to be Robin Wiliams some kids found the game and completed it which allowed Alan/Robin to timewarp back to before he started the game. He and his fellow gamer decided that a cursed game was not the best thing to keep around so they buried it.
In 1996 the game was then found again and passed onto a young lad who would one day grow up to be a Jonas Brother… or Tom Hank’s son (or both). Deciding board games are lame the magic honey trap of Jumanji transformed itself into a video game cartridge and managed to suck in the unsuspecting gamer. Later he was only able to be returned with Jumanji doing the timewarp again after being saved by 4 detention bound friends who were also sucked into the game 20’ish years later who became avatars in the game better known as The Rock, Karen Gillian, Jack Black and Kevin Hart.
After saving the jungle world of Jumanji and not expending all 3 of their extra lives all were returned to the real world and then they took to the Jumanji game with baseball bats to ensure that no one else would get sucked into the game. The end. No not really you are reading this review, aren’t you?
In the latest the world has continued to spin with our 4 detention bound friends having graduated high school and into higher learning complete with soul-crushing jobs. Hardest hit of these is The Rock’s alter-ego who on a trip back to home is just looking for a taste of something a little fast and a little furious again. Having secretly collected the game’s smashed remains he jumps back into the game (willingly this time) which leads to his friends + The Rock’s grandpa played by Danny DeVito also being sucked into the game too.
And that’s you pretty much caught up. Magic video game. Sucked into a jungle world. Playing as video game characters. It’s a little like the Last Starfighter except instead of shooting down aliens in a spaceship you had 2 tickets to the gun show.
The latest film leans into the video game trope once again this time putting the characters in all-new level (hence the movie title). While some parts they know, like dance fighting and limited lives this is like the sequel to that video game you loved in more than one way. More like DLC than a sequel we get new levels, new characters and new boss battles with bonus Nunchuck unlock.
Managing to both go bigger and smaller than the previous film this is 100% popcorn fun that may not have that many surprises for you if you have seen all of the trailers but definitely a worthy addition to the trilogy. Yes, Jumanji is a Trilogy. We are counting the first one.
So should you go see it? In short, yes. This is absolutely the perfect holiday film like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was before it. If you are a gamer there are a few gems in here that you will appreciate but even if you are just in it for Nebula and Black Adam this is still a pretty great low stakes action flick.
Jumanji: The Next Level is in Australian Cinemas right now for your Boxing Day or Christmas holiday viewing