The gang is back in Jumanji: Next Level but the game has definitely changed. I was curious as to whether they could replicate the same magic this time round. Did they? Yep, they did! I really enjoyed the movie seeing the gang back with a few new faces, twists and turns.
The power and lure of this video game rears its head once more but this time with the gang having to go back in to the video game to rescue one of their own. The gang have all gone on their own way since graduating from high school but Spencer (Alex Wolff) seems to be having a tough time of managing is old insecurities feeling this desire to re-live his avatar, Dr Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) and regain the power, strength and biceps of his avatar as well as maintaining the relationship with his girlfriend Martha (Morgan Turner).
Spnecer managed to locate the partially damaged game console and from here he is able to put himself back in the game. Failing to meet in town at a reunion at Nora’s diner in the holidays the gang comprising of Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha become concerned about his distant and reclusive habits. So they head to Spencer’s house where we are introduced to Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny Devito) and his friend Milo (Danny Glover) who all become part of the game and there starts all the character twists. The avatars are the same but are the characters the same??
Realising that Spencer has returned to Jumanji the gang decides to return to save him but interestingly Eddie and Milo are sucked in to the game as well. There are some funny moments as the characters adjust to their avatars. Their mission is to retrieve the Falcon Jewel from the arch enemy and nemesis Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) and show it to the sun repeating the word “Jumanji” to win the game and return to the real world. Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough (Nick Jonas) returns to the game to help return their friend. Do they have enough lives? Do they win the game?
The story line I think is solid and there are some subtle themes that run throughout reinforcing team work and friendship, patching up old friendships and growing old gracefully which is evident with Eddie and Milo. I thought the way they tied up loose ends was great and possibly leaving the door open for the gang to return at some point. Definitely a good film for the family to see during the holidays.
Movie Review By Rob Lyon