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In the last couple of years, we have seen reboot after reboot of many beloved films and television shows.
However, two years ago, no one expected that the beloved 1995 film “Jumanji” which stars the iconic late actor and comedian Robin Williams would join the long list of reboots.
“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” (2017) took the box offices by storm when the film debuted as a not so typical reboot and sort of sequel to its predecessor, making just shy of a billion dollars.
Not long after, news of a sequel to the “Jumanji” reboot was underway for 2019 and “Jumanji: The Next Level” opened in theaters December 13.
“Jumanji: The Next Level” (2019) joins the same high school heroes from “Welcome to the Jungle” (2017)—Bethany, Fridge, Martha and Spencer who are now all in college and back home for the summer break in another adventure.
The film’s plot takes a twist when Spencer makes the decision to travel back into the now broken game causing his friends to go back in as well and save him when they realize he is missing.
However, this time around Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his long-time friend Milo (Danny Glover) unintentionally get sucked into the game as well.
It was interesting to see how “The Next Level” (2019) would unfold as it was obvious that it would teeter the fine line between being a good sequel and an ‘okay’ one.
Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas return as the video game’s avatars but are also joined by a new avatar who is later revealed as “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) and “The Farewell” (2019) rising star, Awkwafina.
The film follows the gang once again on another thrilling mission through the ever-changing Jumanji world, but this time around the original team finds their way into different avatar bodies giving grandfathers, Eddie (DeVito) and Milo (Glover) a chance to go on an adventure in youthful and pain-free bodies.
Eddie gets switched into Dwayne Johnson’s avatar body, Dr. Smolder Bravestone, while Milo is switched into Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar, which is Kevin Hart’s avatar, introducing slightly funny, brow-raising performances from Hart and Johnson who have to mimic the iconic voices of DeVito and Glover.
Unfortunately, it did not take long for me to grow tired of Johnson’s take of DeVito’s unmistakable New Jersey accent and hope that somehow he would not have to do it for the entire film.
“The Next Level” has managed to rake in a whopping $739.4 million in box offices so far proving the sequel’s success by moviegoer attendance but can easily be deemed stale and unnecessary by content.
“The Next Level” as adventurous and thrilling as it appears, becomes a lackluster sequel to its enticingly brilliant predecessor “Welcome to the Jungle” that took a creative and modern spin on the Jumanji storyline, becoming a worthy reboot to the Robin Williams starred original.
Considering this sequel as a flop would not be right but considering it a homerun would not be right either as it missed the mark on uniqueness.
Even so, it still managed to be heartwarmingly sweet, and audiences will find themselves periodically chuckling when it has its moments.
After watching the film, viewers will not leave completely disappointed but with a sense that something felt forced which gets it a “C+” for effort, not quite failing but just passing.
There were hints of a third installment for the Jumanji franchise at the end of the sequel.
However, we can only hope that it will either not happen or will not end up like other franchises that try to drag and squeeze out content into way too many movies—sorry “Fast and Furious.”
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