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Cinema Dispatch: Jumanji: The Next Level

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Jumanji: The Next Level and all the images you see in this review are owned by Sony Pictures Releasing

Directed by Jake Kasdan

Two years after the Jumanji reboot and I still think it’s a pretty good movie!  I’ve had to of seen it at least twice since seeing it in theaters, and it still holds up pretty well; especially with such a fun and talented cast that could have phoned it in and let the special effects do all the work but instead elevated the material to something far more watchable than you’d expect at first glance!  Now it’s time for a sequel, and… well I don’t know about you but I’d have rather seen a sequel to Baywatch than watch them try to recreate what made that reboot so good.  Seems like a bit of a long shot that we’ll get something halfway decent out of this, but hey!  I was saying the same thing about that first movie before it came out, and look what we got!  Can we go back to the well one more time without the formula feeling stale and apathetic?  Let’s find out!!

After Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany (Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner, and Madison Iseman) had defeated the mysterious Jumanji video game and smashed it to bits with a bowling ball, we pick up on their lives a year or so later where everyone is off doing their own thing but still manage to stay in touch as they even plan on meeting up during the winter break.  However, only three of them show up to the meeting spot so they go to check on Spencer and find that his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) hasn’t seen him since last night, though he hasn’t been paying much attention this morning as he has an unexpected house guest in the form of his former business partner Milo (Danny Glover) who Eddie’s been avoiding for over a decade now due to some conflict that broke them apart and I’m sure will be resolved before the end of the movie.  Anyway, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany go to the basement to find that Spencer not only took the Jumanji pieces home with them but repaired them to the best of his abilities (I don’t know how many MAGIC retro console repair tutorial are on YouTube but I’m pretty sure it’s more than zero) and has managed to get himself back into the game.  With their friend’s life (as well as contractual obligations) hanging over our heroes’ heads, they head back into the game once more time.  However, things don’t go as planned as only Fridge and Martha wake up inside, and while Martha is still in the body of Karen Gillan, Fridge is now in the body of Jack Black.  The ones filling the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart shaped meat sacks turn out to be Eddie and Milo respectively who have no idea what’s going on but don’t seem to disturbed by it; assuming they just died or something.  With only half their team, a brand new game scenario involving some dude named JURGEN THE BRUTAL (Rory McCann), and even some new mechanics including magic fruit and a body switching liquid, can this rag tag group of tired pros and retired noobs find Spencer and beat the game before everyone dies a miserable and painful death?  What will Spencer have to say for himself once they find him and start demanding answers as to why he’s here in the first place?  Will Eddie and Milo be able to resolve their decade’s long rivalry, and will it be half as compelling as the Sunny episode Frank’s Brother!?

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“I’ve got a human meat guy, and if you’re not careful I’ll take you right to him with these giant muscular arms!”     “Yeah, well with this tiny body I’m sure he won’t give you much for me, so ha!”     “What in the heck are they even talking about!?”

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