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Jumanji: The Next Level Blu-ray Review – Fun to Collect

Additional cast and new locales make for fun action.

Reviewed by on Mar 17, 2020
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Awkwafina makes a great addition to the Jumanji: The Next Level movie and seeing her in the extras on the Blu-ray is very entertaining. Check out Kidzworld’s review of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital version to take home.

Jumanji: The Next Level reveals that Spencer (Alex Wolff) has kept the broken pieces of the Jumanji video game, semi-repairs it and goes back into the game hoping to re-enter avatar Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson). Friends Bethany (Madison Iseman), Fridge (Ser Darius Blain), and Martha (Morgan Turner) re-enter Jumanji to save him. Spencer's grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) and estranged friend Milo (Danny Glover) are inadvertently sucked into the game. Since nobody has selected an avatar, nobody but Martha (avatar Ruby) is in the same game body. Facing a new quest, the original players must clue in Milo and Eddie and hope to get out alive….again.

Clip - "Back Together: Reuniting the Cast"

 

 

Spencer Feels Wimpy

It’s the holidays, a year after the events of the previous film, and Spencer, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany have gone their separate ways but Spencer is especially feeling like a loser since Martha is so happy at college. He thinks she won’t want wimpy him and their relationship is on hold. The gang makes plans to meet up for the holidays Spencer’s grandpa Eddie seems to have given up on life further depressing Spencer who realizes he was happier when he was hunky, strong Jumanji game avatar Dr. Bravestone. He fixes the game and is zapped back into it!

Spencer wants to be Dr. Bravestone againSpencer wants to be Dr. Bravestone againCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Where is Spencer?

When Spencer doesn’t show up for a group meal at the local diner, Fridge, Martha, and Bethany go to his house where they meet Spencer's grandfather Eddie, who's there while recovering from hip surgery, and his former friend and ex-business partner Milo Walker. The group realizes that Spencer has reassembled the broken game and has been sucked in. They decide to go get him and everyone is sucked in including Eddie and Milo. Only Bethany is left out. She decides to get the aid of original Jumanji player Alex (Colin Hanks) to get into the game.

Seaplane (Nick Jonas) is back in the gameSeaplane (Nick Jonas) is back in the gameCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Next Level

In the game, Martha finds she's back in the Ruby Roundhouse avatar (Karen Gillan) but Fridge winds up in Professor Oberon's form (Jack Black) while Eddie is Bravestone and Milo is Mouse (Kevin Hart). Eddie and Milo's awkward unfamiliarity with the game costs Fridge his first life, Non Player Character guide Nigel Billingsley (Rhys Darby) informs the group that the game world is again in danger. A warlord named Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) recently stole a magical stone called the Falcon's Heart. It had kept the land fertile and prosperous. Now that it is gone, there is drought and poverty. It has been hidden and must “see” the sun again to set things right. They must retrieve it before he sells it to two brothers heading a crime syndicate. They must see that it gets sun and yell “Jumanji” to go home.

Everyone is in a different avatar!Everyone is in a different avatar!Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Chase and the Oasis

After a big dune buggy chase in which the group avoids stampeding ostriches, they arrive at an isolated oasis and find Spencer, now inside avatar Ming (Awkwafina) a thief and lock picker. After Eddie/Bravestone encounters a hot former lover, the group figures out a clue leading them to a strange “Jumanji berry” that is needed to beat baddie Jurgen. Martha and Fridge, temporarily switching avatars retrieve it from a pool of enchanted water. After Spencer, Eddie, and Milo’s avatars steal camels the group moves on through the desert. Due to various shortcomings, the group keeps losing lives! Eddie still blames Milo for retiring early and closing the diner they co-owned.

Camel ride across the desertCamel ride across the desertCourtesy of Sony Pictures

New Adventure

After the group narrowly escapes vicious attacking monkey mandrills on a series of revolving rope bridges, they are joined finally by pilot/adventurer Seaplane (Nick Jonas), actually original player Alex and a gorgeous black horse named Cyclone (Bethany’s new avatar). The group reunites with them and they eventually find a river with water similar to what Fridge and Martha found. Spencer, Fridge, and Bethany get their original avatars back, while Eddie and Milo end up in Ming and Cyclone respectively, but they are captured by Jurgen's men shortly after.

Jack Black to the rescueJack Black to the rescueCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Escape

Fridge and Bethany stall the mercenaries while Spencer, Martha, and Alex rescue Ming and horse Cyclone. While the group holds Jurgen's men off, Spencer now back inside the Bravestone avatar, uses the Jumanji berry (Jurgen's only weakness) to incapacitate him long enough to send him falling to his death. Spencer gets the Falcon's Heart to Eddie and Milo… surprise Cyclone can fly and they expose it to sunlight but will the quest be totally successful? Will everyone return to the real world?

Awkwafina joins the group as Ming Awkwafina joins the group as Ming Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Stay seated a little into the end credits for a scene in which a heating system service guy comes to Spencer’s house, finds Jumanji in the basement, touches it and… next thing we see, a big herd of ostriches run down main street. Whoops! Has the world of Jumanji spread to our world?

Special Extra Features

The Blu-ray disc contains quite a few extras although many are short promotional pieces.

  • Gag Reel – the usual line flubs and goof ups. Fun.
  • Body Swapping: Snapping into Character – Filmmakers and actors talk about swapping game avatars in this sequel. Challenges like learning how to move and talk like fellow actors etc. are discussed. Very interesting and sometimes funny.

Dwayne give the Bloodstone "smoulder"Dwayne give the Bloodstone "smoulder"Courtesy of Sony Pictures
  • Back Together: Reuniting the Cast – The original cast talks the joy of making a sequel, buddy action on set, how their characters have changed etc.
  • Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level – This is obviously the “Making of” featurette and it concentrates on expanding the story and locales, adding amazing animal action, a flying horse and adding new characters and actors. Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Awkwafina and “Game of Thrones” strongman Rory McCann are added and all speak on working with director Jake Kasdan. We could have used a little more on set action but still entertaining.

Dwayne Johnson with Director KasdanDwayne Johnson with Director KasdanCourtesy of Sony Pictures
  • Creating the Scene concentrates on the special visual effects-heavy Ostrich Chase and the Mandrill Bridge sequences.. A very nice “How’d they do that?” extra.
  • Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle - is a silly but cute theme song performed by the actor who plays game “host” Nigel.. cute and short.
  • Awkwafina: Cat Burglar – a very funny short extra in which the actress tells us how she got ready for her cat burglar role by stealing things on set. Hilarious.

Awkwafina is hilarious in extrasAwkwafina is hilarious in extrasCourtesy of Sony Pictures
  • NPC Confessions: Jergen the Brutal is silly fun as actor Rory McCann goes in and out of character as a brutal warlord and a big guy who just wants to have fun…he admits he was scared to both meet “The Rock” and have a battle scene with him. Cute.
  • Grow Up centers on the two Dannys teaching Dwayne and Kevin how to play them in the movie. How can they turn them into grumpy old guys?
  • Telenovela and Trick or Treat are two short promotional pieces for the film; one has the cast “selling” the movie with a scene in Spanish and the other shows kids and Kevin showing up at Dwayne’s house for Halloween. Kevin wears a nerdy costume copying Dwayne’s hilarious ‘80’s outfit with the fanny pack.. Short but sweet.
  • Two Pre-Visualization Scenes are shown split screen with the video storyboards for each of scene (Ostrich Chase and Zeppelin Battle) and the final product. Nice contrast to watch.

Wrapping Up

The Blu-ray for Jumanji: The Next Level looks and sounds crisp and extras are entertaining if not all that in-depth.

As we said when the movie was in theaters, “Jumanji: The Next Level gets a slow start and adding a couple of grandpas to the mix may appeal more to adults than kids and teens. However, the original characters and actors are back and Awkwafina especially is very funny and effective as the Ming avatar.

The original characters are backThe original characters are backCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Challenges are visually fun but having the avatars be “housed” by various players can be a bit confusing. Dwayne Johnson is still great as beefy Dr. Bravestone but putting on the voice and accent of grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) isn’t always convincing. Jack Black is funnier as Bethany than as Fridge (the actor does a better silly female accent than that of a modern black older teen)”.

"The Rock" has to talk like Danny DeVito"The Rock" has to talk like Danny DeVitoCourtesy of Sony Pictures

The film with included home edition extras is certainly worth collecting. We can still award four stars.

Jumanji: The Next Level Blu-ray Rating: 4

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Buy Jumanji: The Next Level now!

Will You Collect This Gamer-Friendly Movie?

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