Sony took a big risk a couple of years back picking up the “Jumanji” mythology. The 90’s Robin Williams feature was a family favorite, but they got it right by stuffing the movie with an all star cast of fan favorites, and it’s that same formula that works again with the latest installment “Jumanji: The Next Level.”
Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, are all back as video game avatars to their real life counter parts, as a crisis forces everyone to return to the game for another mission where losing three lives means you’re gone for good in the real world too.
All four are once again wonderful with Black’s over the top acting once again stealing the show. What works is that we get new combinations where these stars get to break their public image by playing something completely out of the box. And the excellent new additions of Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, and Awkwafina makes it even more fun. Director Jake Kasdan keeps the suspense going with some terrific special effects and a plot with a heart at it’s center, underneath all of the craziness.
There is a lot of the same here though, and that what prevents it from reaching excellence, and the circumstances in which the characters find themselves in their predicament is a bit of a stretch for older audiences.
Still, if you liked the first one, you’ll like this one and “Jumanji: The Next Level” is another solid family fun movie outing.
STAY FOR THE CREDITS.
Jumanji: The Next Level
Running time: 2 hours 2 minutes