Our staff is taking time right now to share reviews of some of the books, movies, and music they’re enjoying during their time at home. The views are uniquely their own. Be sure to tell us what you think!
Growing up, I read and greatly enjoyed the imaginative book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. A few years later, after I had kind of forgotten about the book, I saw a trailer for the original Jumanji movie starring the beloved, late actor Robin Williams. I remember as a child being awestruck at the novel idea that a book could be turned into a movie. Decades later as Hollywood has swept us into an era of nostalgia, pulling out gold nuggets from youth since passed into the modern era, I rolled my eyes and sighed heavily at the trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle. This was not something I wanted, nor something I felt we needed. However, I heard only positive things and was pleasantly surprised by how great the first movie was.
So, when the trailer for the most recent installment, The Next Level, came out, I eagerly watched it in anticipation of what this movie would bring us. The trailer looked even funnier than its predecessor. Unfortunately, I think the movie’s greatest weakness is that it gave away so many great jokes and gags in the trailer itself. It’s one of those trailers that makes me want to swear off watching previews for movies I know I’m likely to see anyway.
Though it is a very strong sequel worth watching, it was not quite on par with the first. It also felt very stop and go. It is adventurous and at times the characters seemed to be in genuine danger despite knowing it’s the type of movie that should have a happy ending. It is interesting getting to watch the characters grow both as individuals and in their relationships because they get to experience the game outside of their normal mental/physical boundaries via the avatars.
I really appreciated the increased diversity of the film. Awkwafina does a great job and I’m glad to see her getting a lot of work and being a trailblazer for Asian-American actors. To me, the greatest standout was Kevin’s Hart’s character whom I found to both endearing and absolutely hilarious.
All-in-all, certainly a fun movie worth seeing. The end of the movie leaves it open for another installment, so be sure to watch for one after credits scene. And if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I suggest holding off and just enjoying the movie.