Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

I’d like to think I’ve been pretty lucky with sequels in recent years.  Many have been good.  It really hasn’t been since Home Alone that a sequel basically repeated itself so blatantly.

I’m not really sure what I was expecting with Jumanji:  The Next Level.  When Welcome to the Jungle was made, it made the leap from board game to video game and even had new characters.  The Next Level has Fridge, Bethany, Martha and Spencer back that same video game.  The only new additions are Grandpa Eddie and his former business partner, Milo.

Even if you haven’t seen Welcome to the Jungle, you can see many of the jokes coming, at least from the coming attractions.  Eddie and Milo get to play to the elderly stereotypes.  They don’t really understand how a video game works.  They are happy that they can move without stiffness.  Other than that, they mostly serve to rehash the rules for new viewers.

Here’s my issue, though.  Even with Zathura, it was a new board game and a new setting with new characters.  From Jumanji to Welcome to the Jungle was the same thing.  Newness all around.  This seems like what Home Alone 2 was to Home Alone, in that it’s a thinly veiled rehash of the previous movie.  The Next Level didn’t really do much to contribute to the franchise.

Granted, I’m not sure where you can go with it.  Virtual Reality might seem too literal.  Even the Internet might not be different enough.  At best, one might hope for some hints as to where the games came from, but it’s hard to do so without giving away too much.

I think people that have seen the previous installment will be disappointed with this one.  I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be a Jumanji: Welcome to the Next Sequel.  I’m just suggesting that, if there is, the writers might want to take a hard look at what the script is doing with the material.  It’s an interesting premise, but it’s getting difficult to really work with it from here on out.

No comments :