Jumanji: The Next Level is a fitting sequel, almost as entertaining as its prequel that we had seen in 2017. It slides into a whole new story, a whole new level, as the moniker suggests, (wonder how long did they take to come up with that name) so effortlessly that you fail to realize that the franchise has built itself on the foundation of its levels. That’s the future of Jumanji movies. It is all about the levels going forward.
That’s what makes it interesting too. Just how a good game gives you exciting levels to look forward to, Jumanji houses exhilarating adventurous chapters in its gear as well. So what if it branches out the plot for a whole new adventure this time. That’s what sequels are supposed to do.
Jumanji: The Next Level is exciting, adventurous, humorous and action-packed with a decent storyline. Isn’t that what we generally look for in an entertainer?
Plot and Theme of Jumanji: The Next Level
Nobody goes back willingly to a place that has driven them nuts. It is just basic common sense. So if someone decides to return to a place like Jumanji, they must have been going through some real shit, some kind of life crisis. That guy is none other than the ever so brooding Spencer.
Spencer (Alex Wolff) one of the protagonists of the franchise can’t keep his teenage misgivings together anymore, takes a bold decision to return to the game so that we could, well, basically have this movie.
Since the game is broken, it starts acting all weird, sucks in people again as it is always supposed to do. What it also does is consume grampa Eddie (Danny Devito) and his friend Milo (Danny Glover) along with their sub-plots.
We are given this whole new level that seems to have created itself out of the blue. Things have changed across Jumanji. We have a new villain, new places, new characters, even the NPC has a different dialogue to say. All the characters have additional strengths and weaknesses.
The whole adventure is new, and yet something deep down ties it down to regularity. Is it unoriginality? Well, that’s just an afterthought. I had a blast watching the movie, though.
Eddie and Milo
Characters that are the most cherishable are that of Eddie and Milo. Even though their mannerisms are copied by Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, Rocky’s impression of Danny Devito doesn’t peel your eyes. Kevin Hart’s impression of Glover, on the other hand, does. He is a show-stealer, hands down. Has the maximum punches even though Rocky’s Bravestone was the guy flaunting the literal ones.
Both the Dannys – Devito and Glover have done a phenomenal job as their characters, Eddie and Milo. Throwing some light on their subplot, Eddie and Milo are fighting off an estranged friendship that had once gone in flames owing to a business that Milo had sold off leaving Eddie stranded. A classic case of people wanting two different things in life.
But Glover is dying, and he wants to make amends with an old friend. The plot simply lifts them up and places them in a game they don’t understand.
It is the fight that these two bring, cursing and mocking each other that fills up the movie with some really good content. Kevin speaking a slow Glover is the highlight of the movie. He can make anything funny.
Musings worth Remembering in Jumanji (Spoilers)
Jake Kasdan, the director of Jumanji The Next Level, tried to go after the fun bits more in this one as well, just like the prequel. But the movie tries to get serious on so many occasions.
I think the most powerful part of the movie is the final bit where Milo chooses to deliberately stay in the world of Jumanji.
I have just learned to fly.
It is quite intelligible for someone who has discovered a new way of living, to take that choice up when he is very close to death. A very well written job there, by the writers – Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg.
Then the words spoken between the real Spencer and Martha on various occasions were actually quite meaningful. Jumanji is like an adventure that brings them closer to each other. All those insecurities they carry, they leave behind when they are playing this game for the finish line. It is above basically everything they feel about each other. And that’s not tied to mere looks or their outer appearances. It’s very much soulful.
Goes without saying, Jumanji’s fantastical world is a land we always go to. Metaphorically speaking every adventure that we embark on by shutting our mundane engines off, are basically those fantastical moments we actually live. It could be doing, really, anything that helps us disconnect from reality. It could be absolutely anything, for example, watching this Jumanji movie. What a coincidence! Right?
You can order Jumanji: The Next Level from here:
Misgivings in The Next Level Jumanji
I have always wondered how does a cutscene work? Like does it clog their vision or does it come in front of their eyes, and cannot be skipped? That makes me wonder, what would be real life’s cutscenes? Dreams? Huh…!
Another scene that was an instant bother was the magic pond, that tried to swap people. It was so apparent that the creators were keen on bringing the original Spencer and Martha back into their previous avatars in order to deliver their respective statements.
There are scenes that are very predictable, and the story fails to push you off your seats. You see everything coming. Jumanji being a fun series doesn’t carry the solemnity of Jon Favreau‘s Zathura where there were wishes that asked you to be watchful of your actions, how a single wrong judgment used to change everything. Sad, how that makes you very reminiscent.
Au contraire, in here, not much to the plot, if you try to sum it up. For basically, the writers wanted to cash in on a different adventure altogether.
They couldn’t have possibly changed the characters for the magic had worked once before, makes sense to use them again. Also, it would be really hard to see someone else struggle to fill the gaming character’s shoes, now that they have already tacked themselves against such roles.
The Final Verdict
Jumanji: The Next Level sticks to its roots. Entertains you aplenty without getting on your nerves, keeps humour in just the right amount as is needed for an adventurous comedy.
Most of the jests are driven by the generation gap of how old people fail to get the world of the young, and the newly added characters Eddie and Milo that give the movie something different even though everything kind of feels the same.
I think the creators need to pay heed to this plain and simple fact – You change the levels, the game doesn’t become different. You take the heart and soul of a game and turn everything around, that’s how you leave an impact.
Good thing is that the movie ends at a cliffhanger, that leaves us speculating for the next one in the franchise. Keeping fingers crossed for the next venture.
Check out the trailer of Jumanji: The Next Level here: