Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)
|Writer||Chris Van Allsburg|
|Genre||Action, Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy|
|Content Rating||PG-13 (PG-13)|
|Awards||1 win & 12 nominations.|
|Company||Matt Tolmach Productions, Seven Bucks Productions, The Detective Agency|
Jumanji: The Next Level
Jumanji: The Next Level is a 2019 American fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Jake Kasdan and co-written by Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg. It is a sequel to 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the second follow-up to 1995's Jumanji, and is the fourth installment in the Jumanji franchise. It stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser'Darius Blain, and Madison Iseman reprising their roles from the previous film while Awkwafina, Rory McCann, Danny Glover, and Danny DeVito also join the cast. The film's plot takes place two years after Welcome to the Jungle, in which the same group of teenagers, along with an old friend and two unwitting additions, become trapped in Jumanji once again. There, they all find themselves facing new problems and challenges with both old and new avatars while having to save the land from a new villain in order to escape.
Principal photography took place during 2019, between January 21 to May 11 in locations including Atlanta, New Mexico, Alberta, and Hawaii, with much of the cast consisting of those from the previous film reprising their original roles for the sequel.
Jumanji: The Next Level was theatrically released in the United States on December 13, 2019, by Sony Pictures Releasing, under its Columbia Pictures label. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $800 million worldwide against a $125–132 million budget, becoming the tenth highest-grossing film of 2019. A sequel is in development.
Two years after the previous film, Spencer Gilpin, Anthony "Fridge" Johnson, Martha Kaply, and Bethany Walker go to separate colleges, but plan to meet up over Christmas break. The night before, Spencer, feeling despondent, gets out Jumanji. When he doesn't show, his friends visit his mother's, and are greeted by Spencer's grandfather Eddie and visiting Eddie's estranged friend and former business partner Milo Walker. Fridge, Martha and Bethany realize he has gone into the game and follow. Eddie and Milo are also sucked into the game inadvertently while Bethany is left behind.
Inside the game, Martha is Ruby Roundhouse, the same avatar as in the prior movie. Fridge becomes Professor Sheldon Oberon (which had been Bethany previously) while Eddie and Milo become Dr. Smolder Bravestone and Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (which were Spencer and Fridge previously).
Giving Eddie and Milo Jumanji's rules, they encounter non-player character Nigel Billingsley, the game guide, who reveals that Jumanji is suffering from a massive drought. To leave the game, they must end the drought by recovering a magical necklace known as the Falcon Heart, stolen by warlord and Bravestone’s personal rival Jurgen the Brutal. Meanwhile, Bethany, still out of the game and in the real world, finds Jumanji player Alex Vreeke for help.
Transported to a desert to pursue Jurgen, and narrowly escaping a ostrich flock, they encounter Spencer, operating with a new avatar, Ming Fleetfoot, a skilled thief. Apologizing for their predicament, Spencer joins them.
While attempting to escape the desert, they face new challenges and problems, along with collecting a Jumanji Berry, and discovering a pool of glowing green water that allows them to switch avatars. Meanwhile, Eddie bickers with Milo, revealing their friendship ended when Milo sold their diner behind Eddie's back, forcing him into retirement. Traveling to a forest beyond the desert, the group crosses a series of rope bridges, while being attacked by a group of mandrills.
Successfully crossing the bridges, they are reunited with Alex, as his avatar Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough, and Bethany, who is now Cyclone, a black stallion who can only be understood by Finbar. As they rest from their battle with the mandrills, Eddie realizes Milo is terminally ill and wants to make amends before he dies, so they reconcile.
Working together, the group traverses Mt. Zhatmire and finds a river with the same glowing green water, allowing Spencer, Bethany, and Fridge to return in their original avatars Bravestone, Oberon, and Finbar again while Eddie and Milo respectively end up as Ming and Cyclone. Shortly after, Jurgen's men capture Eddie and Milo.
Spencer, Martha, Fridge, Bethany, and Alex split up to infiltrate the fortress, rescue their teammates and get the Falcon Heart. While scaling the ice wall, Martha asks Spencer why he left his old life and her, and he says her success made him insecure. She consoles him, reminding him we need friends when we feel scared and insecure.
There is another battle: Spencer pursues Jurgen to his airship while the others fight his henchmen. Realizing Jurgen is vulnerable to the Jumanji Berry, it incapacitates him long enough for Spencer to steal the Falcon Heart necklace and send him plummeting to his death. He then gives Eddie the necklace, and he and Milo fly into the sky, letting the sunlight hit the necklace, restoring the magic and saving the game.
Returning the Falcon Heart to Nigel, Milo decides to stay behind and protect the land. Upon returning to the real world, Spencer teaches his grandfather about video games. Having gotten over his resentment, Eddie convinces Nora, the owner of his old diner, to hire him as a manager.
In a mid-credits scene, the heating technician Spencer's mother hired shows up. Noticing the game on the desk, he reaches for it, then the flock of ostriches from the game rush past the diner, witnessed by Spencer's group.
- Dwayne Johnson as Dr. Xander "Smolder" Bravestone: Eddie's avatar, later Spencer's again, who unlike previously has a weakness: he cannot escape the wrath of Jumanji NPC Switchblade without dying due to him having hit on Switchblade's wife Flame. Johnson also portrays Bravestone's father in a flashback, where Zachary Tzegaegbe portrayed a young Bravestone while Jennifer Patino portrayed Bravestone's mother.
- Johnson also portrays Bravestone's father in a flashback, where Zachary Tzegaegbe portrayed a young Bravestone while Jennifer Patino portrayed Bravestone's mother.
- Jack Black as Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon: Fridge's avatar, later Martha's, then Fridge's again, and then Bethany's again, who develops a new skill (geometry) and three new weaknesses (heat, sun, and sand; simply for comedic effect as the first level is in a desert).
- Kevin Hart as Franklin "Mouse" Finbar: Milo's avatar, later Fridge's again, who develops a new skill: linguistics, the ability to communicate with animals.
- Karen Gillan as Ruby Roundhouse: Martha's avatar, later Fridge's avatar, then Martha's again, who gets a new skill: nunchuck mastery.
- Nick Jonas as Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough: Alex's avatar again who is an aircraft pilot.
- Awkwafina as Ming Fleetfoot: Spencer's new avatar, later Eddie's, whose background is a thief with skills in burglary, pick-pocketing, and lock picking, and who has a weakness to pollen.
- Rory McCann as Jurgen the Brutal, an iron-fisted and arrogant warlord, responsible for murdering Bravestone's parents years ago. Like the game avatars, he has a list of strengths and a weakness to the Jumanji Berry.
- Alex Wolff as Spencer Gilpin
- Morgan Turner as Martha Kaply
- Ser'Darius Blain as Anthony "Fridge" Johnson
- Madison Iseman as Bethany Walker
- Danny Glover as Milo Walker: Eddie's estranged friend and diner co-owner, before its sale ended their friendship. Milo Walker and Bethany Walker are not related.
- Danny DeVito as Edward "Eddie" Gilpin: Spencer's grandfather. He is retired, following the sale of a diner he owned in Brantford, with little understanding of video games.
- Colin Hanks as Alex Vreeke
- Rhys Darby as Nigel Billingsley, an NPC in Jumanji.
- Bebe Neuwirth as Nora Shepherd, in a cameo reprising her role from the original 1995 film.
Cyclone is a black horse avatar, initially Bethany's new avatar and later Milo's. Cyclone's special ability is to assume wings and fly. Due to Finbar's own special ability to communicate with animals, he is the only person who can understand Cyclone.
In addition, the film also cast a number of actors for supporting roles, which included: Dania Ramirez as Jumanji NPC Flame, a seductive female that Bravestone once kissed; Massi Furlan as Jumanji NPC Switchblade, a crime boss in the oasis and Flame's husband; John Ross Bowie as Cavendish, the butler of Jurgen; DeObia Oparei as Gromm; and Lamorne Morris as a heater repairman. Lucy DeVito portrays Maiden while Marin Hinkle returned from Welcome to the Jungle to reprise her role as Janice Gilpin.
In February 2018, it was announced that Kasdan would direct the sequel, with Rosenberg and Pinkner again writing the script and Johnson, Hart, Black, and Gillan reprising their roles.
On February 22, 2019, Black confirmed the new film as being a fourth Jumanji film because of Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), serving as the second film and sharing continuity with the other films of the series, with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle serving as the third film. According to Kasdan the film used the working title J-19. In July 2019, the film's title was revealed as Jumanji: The Next Level.
In January 2019, Awkwafina, Danny DeVito, and Danny Glover joined the film. In February 2019, Alex Wolff, Ser'Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, and Nick Jonas were announced to reprise their roles. In March 2019, Dania Ramirez joined the cast of the film. That same month, it was announced Rhys Darby would reprise his role in the film. In May 2019, it was announced Colin Hanks would reprise his role.
Filming began on January 21, 2019, and took place in Atlanta, New Mexico, Calgary, Fortress Mountain Resort, Algodones Dunes in California, and Hawaii before wrapping on May 11. Johnson made a reported $23.5 million for his role.
Henry Jackman scored the film after having worked on Welcome to the Jungle.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released on December 13, 2019, in RealD 3D, Dolby Cinema, IMAX, IMAX 3D, 4DX, and ScreenX Formats. The movie was released on December 5, 2019, in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and several other Asian countries (and also in Czechia). In the Nordic countries and the Netherlands, the film premiered in cinemas on December 6, 2019. The film's Australian release date was December 26, 2019.
The film was released on digital by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on March 3, 2020, and was released on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 17, 2020.
Jumanji: The Next Level grossed $320.3 million in the United States and Canada, and $479.7 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $800.1 million, against a production budget of about $125-132 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated, that the net profit of the film was $236 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Black Christmas and Richard Jewell, and was projected to gross $45–55 million from 4,227 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $19.7 million on its first day, including $4.7 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $59.3 million, topping the box office. It made $26.5 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The following weekend the film made $35.3 million (a total of $59.2 million over the five-day Christmas period), then $26.5 million the next, remaining in second behind The Rise of Skywalker both times. After the COVID-19 pandemic, closed most theaters across the U.S. and Canada in March, the film continued to play at drive-ins during the following weeks; it made $217,800 in its 24th weekend and $186,800 in its 25th weekend. The film passed the $800 million mark worldwide on July 7, 2020, thanks to drive-in grosses in the U.S. and theaters re-opening in other countries.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 71% based on 246 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Like many classic games, Jumanji: The Next Level retains core components of what came before while adding enough fresh bits to keep things playable." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100 based on 37 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3.5 out of 5 stars, with 58% saying they would definitely recommend it.
Peter Debruge of Variety wrote: "More often than not, effects-driven blockbusters get dumber as the series goes along, but Jumanji: The Next Level invents some fun ideas to keep things fresh." Debruge calls Johnson's Danny DeVito impression "unintentionally hilarious", and is mildly critical of some of the off color jokes, but concludes "The storytelling may be sloppy in parts, but the cast’s collective charisma more than compensates."Peter Travers of Rolling Stone is positive about the remixing of the characters has "major comedy benefits" and Travers welcomes the introduction of Awkwafina. He found the plot difficult to follow and not worth the effort, but says "What matters are the laughs and the FX".Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote: "What gives Jumanji its likability is that it has the emphases and comedy beats of an animation, but also the performance technique of live action – and the occasional reshuffling of avatars and players lets the actors show off a little bit further. Jumanji’s next level is rather satisfying."
This section does not cite any sources. (October 2021)
|AACTA Awards||Best Visual Effects or Animation||Thomas Elder-Groebe, Mark Breakspear, Glenn Melenhorst and Ineke Majoor||Nominated|
|Georgia Film Critics Association||Breakthrough Award||Awkwafina (also for The Farewell and Paradise Hills)||Nominated|
|Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema||Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg||Nominated|
|Golden Trailer Awards||Best Fantasy/Adventure TV Spot||Jumanji: The Next Level||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie||Jumanji: The Next Level||Nominated|
|Favorite Movie Actor||Kevin Hart||Nominated|
|Favorite Movie Actor||Dwayne Johnson (also for Hobbs & Shaw)||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Film Release||Jumanji: The Next Level||Nominated|
Dwayne Johnson revealed in a December 2019 interview that the villain Jurgen the Brutal is actually an avatar, and would be explored in a potential sequel. In March 2020, Jake Kasdan confirmed early developments for a follow-up film. Kasdan confirmed plans to maintain the core cast of the previous two films. The following month, the filmmaker stated that the story for the next installment is in development.