“Jumanji” Still Has Plenty of Game

I cuddled up with a bowl of fried cauliflower at the Alamo Drafthouse in Lake Highlands earlier this week to catch an early viewing of Jumanji: The Next Level and quickly did the math in my head; it had been like 25 years since I last saw Jumanji–I miss Robin Williams. How delightful, another reboot, or so I thought.

At first, things were a little fuzzy. I felt like I missed something. And as I pelted questions at my little brother: Who are these people? Who is Spencer? How old is Danny DeVito? Wasn’t Jumanji a board game? He asked me if I saw the 2017 reboot, Welcome to the Jungle.

Ooops.

If you’re like me and missed Welcome to the Jungle or need a refresher, the reboot was about four high schoolers who discovered an old video game console and were drawn into the game’s jungle setting–becoming the adult avatars they chose. Quickly, though, they found that you couldn’t just play Jumanji; you have to survive it.  Decked with the comedic timing of Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and The Rock–it was enjoyable. Reading some reviews online, a few adults felt some of the language pushed the family-friendly boundaries of the movie. My thoughts; these are teenagers, and I’d be talking about my body too if I went from being a girl to a grown man.

Jumanji: The Next Level starts with Spencer, now in college, returning home for the holidays. He is a bit lost at this new stage of his life and “feels like he doesn’t have it (life) figured out anymore.” At home, he is rooming with his grandpa (DeVito), who also is struggling with being retired. Something we adults can all laugh about (and relate to) is when grandpa tells Spence that life doesn’t get any better, “it’s all downhill from here,” he says.

Then all of a sudden, Spencer remembers the “destroyed” video console in his basement and returns to the game–guess it wasn’t destroyed? And so does grandpa, his former business partner, and the rest of the gang. But for the returning players, it is not what they expected: They land in the game unable to choose their avatars and instead find themselves stuck in bodies that don’t make sense. For example, grandpa is the avatar played by The Rock, Bethany is a horse, and Spencer is a Ming, a little gal who excels at pickpocketing.

Don’t worry, it all changes thanks to some electrifying water.

I honestly cannot compare this movie to the 2017 reboot. I am not going to compare it to the original. But what I can say is that I liked it. I thought the adventures were a lot of fun–the gang battles a flock of outraged ostriches, hungry hyenas, and militant mandrills.

I thought it was super funny! Jack Black was hilarious–duh!

This movie is fun, and it proves that Jumanji has a lot of life left in it.

Jumanji: The Next Level officially opens Dec. 13.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist and former Managing Editor of Park Cities People. She currently serves as a Senior Editor with D Magazine's D CEO publication. You can reach her by email at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @Bianca_TBD. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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