While the original 1995 Robin Williams-starring Jumanji had creatures appearing in the real world after they were released from a board game, the 2017 reboot brilliantly turned that idea on its head. A group of teenagers playing a Jumanji video game found themselves sucked into the jungle world and thrown into the avatar bodies of characters including a heroic punching-machine leader (Johnson), a Tomb Raider-esque kick-ass commando (Gillan), a professor/cartographer (Black) and a zoologist who can be killed by cake (Hart).
Of course, the teens safely escaped the Jumanji world at the end of the first movie but in this follow-up they have gone their separate ways to different colleges and one of them – nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff) – is finding life in the real world harder than he expected. When the others (Martha, Fridge and Bethany) discover he has gone missing, they realise Spencer has gone back into the Jumanji game (which, to be honest, is pretty selfish of him) and decide they need to rescue him. Trouble is, when they start the game up, one of them is left behind and Spencer’s grandpa Eddie (DeVito) and his old friend Milo (Glover) get sucked in instead.
So with bickering pals Eddie and Milo in the bodies of Johnson and Hart, Martha back in tough gal mode and Fridge this time stuck in the professor’s weak body, the adventures begin and the group soon discover there is a new baddie, too – warlord Jurgen The Brutal (Game Of Thrones’ Rory McCann).
With the same mix of humour, action, slick CGI effects and body swap madness as Welcome To The Jungle, this romps along at a fast pace, packed with cool set pieces (an impressive ostrich chase, and the mandrill attack across revolving bridges are two high points) and fun performances throughout. Fans of the first movie will be pleased to learn two fan favourites return, and there’s also the terrific addition of Awkwafina as pickpocket avatar Ming Fleetfoot.
Gillan is a treat as the avatar we’d all like to be, and Jack Black is, well, Jack Black, but best of all is the teaming of the two Dannys (De Vito and Glover) and their avatar counterparts (real life pals Johnson and Hart), who give this fun blockbuster movie its heart and much of its humour.
Is Jumanji: The Next Level suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Please note this is a 12A certfiticate in the UK, due to some scenes of mild threat such as the ostrich chase and the mandrills attack, which may be frightening for sensitive or young viewers (under 10s).
There is also some mild bad language and some sex references (involving Johnson’s avatar) but the references are vague and would probably not be understood by younger viewers.
This is an action adventure movie aimed at older children and adults and may be too intense for very young viewers (under 7s)
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