The quartet of Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart return to the adventurous world of Jumanji. Enlivened by new actors and actresses, Jumanji: The Next Level takes audiences to a fantasy comedy story like the first film. Offers a wider story, unfortunately less ‘shock effects’ like the first film.
After Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) , Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Morgan (Martha Kaply), and Bethany (Madison Iseman) continue their lives in the real world. They still hang out often, but not with Spencer (Alex Wolff). College and his part-time job in New York made him uncomfortable, so he decided to go back to his mother’s house.
When his friends visited the house, they realized Spencer wasn’t home. In the basement, they find a repaired Jumanji video game piece. Fridge and Martha are suddenly sucked into Jumanji’s world, along with Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his friend, Milo (Danny Glover).
Unfortunately, only Martha returns in the Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) avatar. Fridge is trapped in Prof Sheldon’s (Jack Black) avatar. Interestingly, Eddie and Milo are each in the character of Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) and Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar (Kevin Hart). Together, they must find a way to save Spencer and get out of Jumanji… again.
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Adventure in a new level
This film is a continuation of the two previous Jumanji films, the Robin Williams version and Welcome to the Jungle . True to its title, Jumanji: The Next Level presents a bigger adventure in the world of Jumanji. And like most other sequels, the plot is made bigger. There are various new levels that are completely different from the previous films.
Indonesia is one of the lucky countries to be able to screen this film faster in theaters. From initial screenings in several countries, most critics praised Kevin Hart’s performance. This comedian is considered successful in bringing out the character Milo, played by Danny Glover, known as Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film series with Mel Gibson.
It seems that the praise is not without reason. If previously Kevin was seen playing himself in Welcome to the Jungle , this time he had to speak with a very slow intonation. As shown in the trailer, Kevin’s character is no longer Fridge’s avatar.
All the old characters are back with new adventures in the wider world of Jumanji. Meanwhile, the presence of new characters greatly influences the theme and plot of this second film. Milo and Eddie add a dramatic and melancholy feel at the end of the film. Don’t forget Awkwafina is a fun addition to the story.
More mature theme
A wider world and bigger adventures grace the journey of the Spencer quartet and friends. Of course, the problems they face in the real world are getting tougher. Like friendships that fade when everyone has their own life, or goes through the transition from school to college life.
While the first film has a theme of making peace with oneself, the second one focuses on the difficulties of growing up and growing old. As previously mentioned, the presence of the grandfather duo character, Eddie and Milo, becomes the connection between the plot and the theme.
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One scene that is quite interesting is how Spencer and his grandfather are in the same room. Eddie tells how sometimes being an adult isn’t easy, but it’s still a good time before humans get older.
Another problem comes from the duo Eddie and Milo. Love-hate relationship adorns these two new characters. Over 70 years old, the two of them still act like little kids. One of them was the joy that Eddie felt when he was in Dr. Bravestone. In the end , who doesn’t like to be young again and can do anything?
The surprise loss of The Next Level?
Expectations can be the difference in judging a sequel. Welcome to the Jungle came without high expectations, but it quickly became popular. It is even able to coexist as one of Sony’s highest-grossing films despite having to deal with Star Wars: The Last Jedi in its December 2017 release.
It’s not easy to make a sequel that can exceed expectations. Especially when the first film received various positive reviews, both from critics and commercially. Where Welcome to the Jungle became the fifth highest-grossing film at that time. Sequels to successful films are bound to come under heavy pressure, as was the case with Maleficent: Mistress of Evil , or Frozen 2 .
In terms of story, The Next Level feels a little weak from the first edition. The difference in the impression of the plot and the story can of course be felt because the writing team is no longer the same. Although director Jake Kasdan returns and helps develop the story, there is a different feel to this second film.
For a film that puts forward new surprises and jokes , unfortunately the presence of the trailer slightly reduces the excitement of this film. Although not many, but some jokes can be seen in the trailer. Including the presence of Joe Jonas (who still makes some female audiences in the cinema hysterical) who had become an ‘ace card’ in the first film.
The entertaining impression is still maintained until the end. Unfortunately the intensity towards the climax weakened since the middle of the story. Plus a third act which is just a complement. You could even say the intensity is still less than the first film. But for the size of a family film, it is enough to provide entertainment for two hours in duration.
This time, Jumanji: The Next Level doesn’t only provide comedy-packed adventures in the legendary world of Jumanji. The presence of new characters presents a bigger and heart-warming story at the end. There are still many surprises given, although not as successful as the first film. The plot is light and quite fun to watch with the family.