In 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hit theaters. It was a reboot of the 1995 version starring Robin Williams. But gone was Williams and in stepped in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson because he needs to fulfill a his contract to appear in at least a dozen movies a year. Kidding, of course. The movie was a hit, both commercially and critically. And I enjoyed it, so that’s the ultimate praise! It did prove, however, that even though the film was a reboot, that if it was solidly written, acted and directed that audiences wouldn’t mind. And it was. And they didn’t. So it was only a matter of time before we saw a sequel and as the by line above says: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Much like The Hangover films or the 21 and 22 Jump Streets, this sequel employs most of what made the first one work. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So, here we are, can lightning strike twice?
The plot is relatively the same as the first one as we catch up with Spencer (Alex Wolff), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain), Martha (Morgan Turner) and Bethany (Madison Iseman). It’s been three years since their last adventure in Jumanji. The gang is planning to reunite from college and it Spencer is conspicuously absent. So the gang along with Spencer’s grandfather (Danny DeVito) and friend (Danny Glover) determine that Spencer has gone back into Jumanji. Determined to save him, they decide to play again and once again inhibit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Finbar (Kevin Hart), Prof. Oberon (Jack Black) and Ruby (Karen Gillan). There are a few more players this time around and the quest is a bit different: they must get a stone from Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) without getting killed.
See? Rinse, repeat. And that’s OK. What worked in the first film works here, though even with the addition of a few new characters this one feels a bit tired and rehearsed. Yes, I did enjoy the “Smouldering Intensity” that made the leap from the first installment and it’s never a bad thing to look at Karen Gilman, but apart from that – I just found myself scratching my head. Director Jake Kasdan seems at home here and with the principal cast returning, all the pieces were in place. This, of course, begs the question: did we need a sequel? Of course. Movies make money and this one managed to rake in nearly $800 million worldwide. So, yes, we’ll see a third installment. While not “bad” per se, it’s just predictable. But it does have some fun moments that the family is sure to enjoy.
Video: How’s it look?
Sony’s 4K discs are the stuff dreams are made of and the 2.39:1 HEVC 4K image leaves nothing to the imagination, though some of the effects do (intentionally) look a bit fake. That’s good. The entire film takes place inside a video game, so if anything I wish they’d have made it even more so. Still, the HDR and increase color depth of the 4K version really do make the images leap off the screen. And, truthfully, there’s something for everyone to look at, be it Dwayne Johnson’s biceps, Karen Gillan’s curves or the never-ending bundle of energy that is Kevin Hart.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The included Dolby Atmos track (the Blu-ray has a DTS HD Master Audio that’s no slouch) delivers this time around as well. Atmospheric sounds abound and depending on your particular setup, this is one of the most lively action movies I’ve experienced (yes, experienced) in a long time. Vocals, of course, are pure and crisp, directional effects will have your head turning every which way. Suffice it to say that this is a mix that’s sure to please and may even give you a pulled neck muscle or two.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Rhys Darby Wants To Jingle – How do you top Jack Black and Nick Jonas’s unforgettable theme song for the first one? Everyone’s favorite Non Player Character, Rhys Darby is ready to take it to the next, next level.
Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character – In the latest Jumanji adventure, the avatar roles are turned on their heads with new characters and hilarious performances.
Back Together: Reuniting the Cast – Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black are back and better than ever as they share their excitement to reunite.
Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level – From breathtaking scenery, wild adventure, new characters and more- go behind the scenes with the cast and crew as they take Jumanji to the Next Level.
Scene Breakdown: Ostrich Chase – Jump in your dune buggy and go inside the epic ostrich chase scene as the filmmakers and visual effects team breakdown the creation of this memorable scene.
Scene Breakdown: Mandrill Bridges – Moving rope bridges, giant mandrills and incredible stunt work make the mandrills attack one of the most adrenaline pack parts of this film. In this scene breakdown, see how they pulled it off.
Awkwafina Cat Burglar – To prepare for her roles as pickpocket, Ming Fleetwood, superstar Awkwafina got a little too method behind the scenes.
NPC Confessions: Jurgen The Brutal – Being the bad guy isn’t all glory. Jurgen The Brutal gets real in this candid confessional.
Grow Up – Danny DeVito and Danny Glover help Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart get in touch with their inner grumpy old men.
Telenovela – Kevin Hart gets lost in translation in this melodramatic promo.
VFX Pre-Vis: Zeppelin Battle – Compare the detail of the visual effects previsualization reel and the final picture breakdown of the thrilling Zeppelin battle.
VFX Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase – Track the progression from pre-visualization to finished scene in a side by side comparison of the ostrich chase.
AR GAME – The 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD include a collectable map that is fully interactive, employing Augmented Reality to bring Jumanji to life through a smartphone, allowing users to create their own 8-bit Avatar, navigate a series of mini games and much more!
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for more of the same, then this is the film for you. It’s got some clever moments and all the elements that made the first one so enjoyable. Sony’s disc is, of course, spectacular with its audio and video presentations. There’s enough on the supplemental front to warrant a purchase, though I don’t envision watching this one over and over like the first one.