JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL was guaranteed a built-in audience, thanks to the response to the previous installment, and instead of getting lazy, the game gang delivered a sequel that was even better. Bringing back the veterans, adding some new players, the action-packed romp left cast, crew and crowds with a smile. Jolly jeopardy. “I’ll take Foolproof Franchises for 500.”
This time, our hardy if involuntary heroes deal with new avatars, jumbled identities, stampeding ostriches, rampaging mandrills, a hanging bridge maze, ‘Ming Fleetfoot’ and ‘Jurgen the Brutal’.
Once again directed with a fast hand on the throttle by Jake Kasdan, who co-wrote the script with two of the partners who concocted the previous hit, Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner. Location shooting kicked in Hawaii, Georgia, New Mexico, California (on the Imperial Sand Dunes) and up in Alberta, Canada, at the Fortress Mountain Resort. A suitably zesty score is provided by Henry Jackman. All the commotion took $125-132,000,000 to produce. Results were the #10 smash for the year, with a worldwide rake of $800,060,000. Hordes of children shrieked “Jumanji!” on the way home, all the way to bedtime, the next morning, thru the week…
Good fun, firing on all cylinders. Infectious enthusiasm ripples from Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Danny DeVito, Awkwafina (great choice!), Nick Jonas, Danny Glover, Rory McCann, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, Colin Hanks, Dania Ramirez, Rhys Darby and Bebe Neuwirth. 123 minutes.
Will there be more? Are you new to the ways of Earth?