Jumanji : The Next Level
The Rock gives the best performance of Danny DeVito’s career. Also, Chekhov’s Gun shall hencforth be referred to as Chekhov’s Nunchucks.
What? You need more than that? Fine….
Jumanji : The Next Level is a direct sequel to the 2017 Jumanji : Welcome to the Jungle which was a soft reboot of the 1995 film Jumanji.
Spencer, the lead from the previous film is having a hard time at college and finds himself back in the video game Jumanji. However things don’t go as planned and his friends have to jump back into the game to rescue him. This time the game also sucks in Spencer’s grandfather, played by Danny DeVito and his old business partner Danny Glover (in the best role he’s had in well over a decade).
This time however, the players don’t get to choose thier characters and this creates an interesting fish-out-of-water situation that the film employs to it’s absolute best use. Moreover, the dual roles pull some surprisingly good impressions from our main video game cast and showcases a range you might not expect from stars like Dwayne Johnson or Terry Crews.
Jumanji has a tricky line to walk. Adventure/Comedy is a tough sell, yet Jumanji manages to craft a rollicking good adventure with action and peril, while never completely abandoning the humor. There are of course a fair amount of cheap shots and pratfalls, the movie does feature Jack Black after all. However there’s a lot of smart jokes, and humor that doesn’t rely on the lowest common denominator. It’s exactly the kind of comedy that I love and it never lets up.
Throughout the film, there’s a lot of heart, exploring interpersonal relationships against the backdrop of the adventure and ends with a genuine punch the air moment. The film is unfettered by politics and agendas and may actually be the most fun I’ve had at the movies this year.
Jumanji : The Next Level opens December 13. Go see it. Seriously.