Ever been on a theme park ride? You know how it made up of wondrous scenery and adrenaline-raising adventures. While that can, undoubtedly, make the theme park ride a fun experience, apply the same concept to a film and BAM! You have got yourself a recipe for disaster ‘cause a film needs much more than just breathtaking scenery and every possible CGI effect, it needs inspiration, it needs wit, it needs well-rounded characters, it… are you really not getting where we are going with this? “Jumanji: The Next Level”, of course!
It is a sequel to “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle”, a film which possibly dashed away any chances of a future instalment. Yet, here we are, thrust into a world which is seemingly full of life and conflict, but the story is so remarkably without taste that nothing could have compared to how lifeless it feels at times, save for a few LOL moments and funny banters amidst the cast.
The biggest challenge the makers of the “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” ever faced was to somehow match up to the popularity of the 1995 classic it was a sequel to, which it surprisingly managed to do. This time, the “brilliant” plan of the makers involved bringing the intelligence factor of the film down further notches and stuff CGI effects in places where it is not even needed (anyone else found the CGI ostriches weird?)
In fact, the sole reason to make “Jumanji: The Next” appears to be the massive profit its prequel made at the theatres. Anyone who has watched the prequel would know that the storyline had multiple arcs and all of them were given a satisfying closure, leaving no space for a sequel. Guess money is indeed God, as pointless conflicts are stuffed in to make space for a new story to take place. We are once again introduced to the same characters we bid our farewells to in the last film but this time, they are robbed off what little character development and intelligence they earlier had.
“Jumanji: The Next Level” is set a few years after the incidents of the 2017 film, so the characters- Spencer Giplin (Alex Wolff) (who lives with his granddad now), Bethany Walker, Martha Kaply, and Anthony Fridge Johnson- are in college now.
And despite the very clear ending in the last film where the game of Jumanji was destroyed, we come to know that Spencer had kept the broken game. and he is the one who gets sucked into it after he repairs it. You know what that means- it is once again time for the gang to get sucked in the dangerous world of Jumanji and this time, they are accompanied by Spencer’s grandpa (Danny DeVito) and his buddy (Danny Glover).
And the twist this time is, when the characters are sucked into the game, their avatars get switched. Like Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie and his old pal Milo transform into the Rock and Kevin Hart. So, that becomes a source of random humour which somewhat carries the film forward, because the story so does not. This time the heroes just don’t have to recover a character from the deadly video game but also get some jewel from the evil clutches of a warlord named Jurgen the Brutal.
And how did the makers bring to life this minimal storyline? By cramming in more CGI pieces, obviously, duh! More visual effects can always trump the fact that the plotline is just a bunch of perplexities, right? Unfortunately, no (The CGI ostriches again, why on Earth were they there?)
But despite all the shortcomings, the movie is not dull for a single second- without logic, yes but not lacking the ability to make it almost worth your time. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see Dwayne Johanson, The Rock, pretending to be Danny DeVito.