Posted Dec 18 2019
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Jumanji The Next Level - This Tedious Movie Does Not Rock

Dir: Jake Kasdan

Starring Dwayne The Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Colin Hanks, Rhys Darby

The first Jumanji (the one with Robin Williams) was fun, but more concerned with what were then ground-breaking effects than anything else. The second – the recent reboot to which this is a direct sequel - had a very solid idea in upgrading the board game to a console game. And a certain amount of smarts and fun.

So, is third time the charm? Not even close.

This “Next Level” is not only a step down but reeks of cash grab and ill-thought plotting. And, more importantly, has little sense of charm, and certainly no form of wit.

The teenagers from before go back into the game for reasons never really crystallised beyond the fact that one of them is moping. To add to the alleged “fun,” old time Dannys DeVito and Glover are sucked in with them – oh, how we laughed! To be fair, DeVito is exemplary – but those doing avatar-impressions of him – in this case The Rock and an awkward Awkwafina, do not measure up to the original by a country mile.

Yes, there are impressive effects – and a mandrill who seems straight out of Ad Astra, but there’s not much here beyond a good deal of fx and far too many homilies and platitudes in its desperate attempt to be sort of a family Christmas movie largely set in a desert.

In a decent cast, Gillan and DeVito are the only ones who acquit themselves well. The rest go by the numbers, as does the film. Ultimately – and disappointingly for a movie which features a stampede of ostriches (twice!) – this is remarkably tedious.

 

 

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