Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Hey there , it’s been a while. It seems this happens a lot but school got busy and I feel out of watching movies for a little bit and stopped posting, but now we’re on break between terms and with the events happening in the world I’ll be off for a little while, so expect some good stuff. To make up for it I’m doing a double review, of both new Jumanji movies. Let’s get into it. 

I’m going to cover both films together as they have similar themes, storylines, characters, and plot points. Let’s start with the story of these two films. I think the story and plot are effective for these films. I really enjoy how the film kind of does the opposite of the original Jumanji movie, almost showing kind of what the inside of the game is like (what with Alex being in it for 20 years). The movie utilizes it setting very well with being able to have a clear structure of the story being structured with the levels of a video game. Both films tell similar stories with the main characters using their video game avatars as a way to overcome their insecurities and relationship issues. Speaking of the characters, I really enjoyed what they did with the characters and who the avatars are. Dwayne Johnson as Smoulder Bravestone is great and plays into the persona that he has around him, with being this big tough guy while also being able to be funny and hilarious. I like him more when Spencer is in control of him, but when the grandfather is he’s still hilarious. Seeing him trying to do an impersonation of Danny Devitto is incredible. It’s the same the rest of the avatars in the film.  Jack Black playing a teenage girl is something that everyone should see, it’s amazing. They are all great and fun and all work for the stories being told throughout these films. Everyone fulfils a role to both the story of the film and the game, which really works for me as this is supposed to be a video game so of course there would be characters that have defined strengths and weaknesses. The film is paced pretty well, giving ample time to explore the characters, their flaws, and also gives time for the big spectacles. My biggest issue with the second film is that the film’s premise is odd in that it introduces all these new characters and concepts and traits that weren’t in the first movie, even though this is supposed to be the same game. Maybe it’s supposed to be like it’s cut content from the first game, but it’s not I guess. If this was supposed to be a sequel to the first game than maybe it could work, but it could also be what happened at the end of the first movie that caused all these changes. Even then, there are many other things that they could have done like make the game world glitch and cause random events. As is there are a few issues in the second movie that can bring it down under further thought, but over-all they’re both effective. It makes up for it with the additions of the new characters, as well as the relationship between Spencer (main character) and his grandfather (Danny Devitto). The other issues I have with the second movie would be spoilers so I won’t go into them, as there are a few that I think either should have been changed or at least explained a bit better. 

The comedy in these films is really effective and works very well. It all comes from the characters traits, personalities, and the situations they find themselves in. It all works pretty well in both films. Moving on to the technical aspects of the films. The effects and action in these films all work well and a pretty good. Delivering some fun adventure action that is kind of rare in modern cinema. The cinematography, lighting, and production design is all good and effective. 

I just love how they both feel like a video game with all the characters having defined traits, the function of life stocks, as well as the use of cutscenes for villains and the use of a respawn jingle. Over-all these are fun films that I think are the right ways to bring back a franchise. These films are both fun watches and would make for a fun night while in these crazy times. Two-Thumbs up !