Movie Review – Jumanji: The Next Level

Movie Review - Jumanji: The Next LevelSo here we go again! If you saw Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle you’ll know what to expect: action, thrills, and humor in abundance, but with enough tweaks to make things interesting.

If you’ve seen the trailers and, to be honest they’ve been difficult not to see, then you’ll know the premise is the same as before: a group of friends get sucked into a game and have to win to get back home.

They’re ascribed avatars with varying strengths and weaknesses, and a lot of the humor comes from the mismatch between the real world person and the character they’ve been landed with. This time around the characters are enhanced by another generation, and this leads to more comic situations.

Once again, the CGI is flawless and the action is very well choreographed. The animals are believable and the fights are exciting. The humor is pitched at the right level so it doesn’t distract from the story.

Enough is the same that you know what’s going on, but enough is different to make it interesting. All in all, it’s a brisk romp and the two hours flies by. I’ll be seeing it again within the week!

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I’ve managed to find a few Peetimes which can either be easily described or appeared in the trailers. Be warned though…there is action throughout this film, and it starts pretty soon after each of these Peetimes!

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Jumanji: The Next Level. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for adventure action, suggestive content and some language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy

Jumanji Character Names and Skills

cast of jumanji 2 and 3
Pretty easy to guess who is who.

Just to get you quickly up to speed, Jumanji 3 will reprise the adult “avatars” from Jumanji 2, although there’s a new twist in the characters who play them. Happily, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black are back. Do you remember the Jumanji skills for each character?

Here’s a reminder of the Jumanji 2 foursome’s skills, strengths, and deadly weaknesses, with some Jumanji 3 updates:

1. Dr. Smolder Bravestone (The Rock)

jumanji 3 the rock
Yeah, yeah. You’re good at everything. We know.

Legendary Adventurer
Explorer
Archaeologist
Hero

Strengths  

Fearless
Strength
Speed
Climbing
Boomerang
Smoldering Intensity (yes, he uses this one the most)

Weaknesses

None known…yet

2. Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan)

karen gillan ruby roundhouse
Who isn’t allergic to venom?

Commando
Deadly Dancefighter

Strengths

Dance Fighting (Seriously… Awesome)
Karate
Tai’Chi
Aikido
Nunchucks

Weaknesses

Venom

3. Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart)

kevin hart jumanji 3
Too bad about that cake.

Zoologist
Expert Weapons Valet (Backpack Man)

Strengths 

Zoology
Weapons Valet
Linguistics

Weaknesses 

Cake (Really!)
Speed
Strength (Strength is his weakness. He doesn’t think that makes sense either. )

4. Professor Shelley Oberon (Jack Black)

jack black jumanji 3
Jack Black playing a young girl in Jumanji 2 was actually awesome.

Renowned Cartographer & Cryptographer

Strengths

Cartography
Archaeology
Paleontology
Geometry

Weaknesses

Heat
Sun
Sand
Endurance

Here’s the scene from Jumanji 2 where the characters discover their strengths and weaknesses — the 3rd film seems to have added a few, if you study the photos above.

Where were the Jumanji house and jungle scenes filmed?

Movie Review – Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

Quiz – Versatile Funny Man Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart is a funny man with a surprising amount of depth. These days you can’t throw a rock without hitting something with Kevin Hart’s name on it. This guy is on the verge of taken over Hollywood.

Let’s see how much you know about this ubiquitous fellow. I’ll describe the plot and you provide the answer.[quiz-cat id=”13376″]

Hope you had fun taking my quiz. I have a great idea — why not challenge one of your know-it-all friends and see who is the champion Kevin Hart fan?

Movie Review – The Upside

Movie Review - The UpsideThe Upside was a mixture of heart and humor. (Pun intended.) Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston were superb together. The dynamics that developed between the two characters were so well acted that I didn’t want the movie to end. I just wanted to keep seeing these two guys growing and learning together.

The laughs don’t stop. I saw the show in a sold out theater and the crowd was loving it. I’m sure there were even more laughs than I heard, but the crowd was roaring in a few spots, making it hard to hear the following lines.

Humor: check!

It’s also touching. Both characters are working on their own personal demons from polar opposite positions. It’s all about how the two very different men help each other.

Touching: check!

I’m used to seeing Kevin Hart play in comedies that — let’s say — lack a certain depth, which is fine; he’s good at that. Hart shines in this movie in a way he never has before.

So yes, Kevin can pull off emotional and sincere characters too. He’s great at that. I want to see him push it even further and see what happens. I think we’d all be pleasantly surprised.

As for Bryan Cranston, he’s always amazing. His talent shined here, even with only being able to use his face for comedic purposes — he hit it out of the park.

I would recommend this movie to friends and family without hesitation. I read a few reviews on The Upside and saw some pretty nasty ones, which shocked me. I think my brain works on a different wavelength than those critics. I feel that if I laugh, don’t get bored, and walk away happy, then I’ll give it a great review!!

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: It was extremely hard finding a few moments where I wasn’t laughing. I chose these 3 after throwing out 3 others, because I simply couldn’t make it through typing them without laughing hysterically.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Upside. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for suggestive content and drug use
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle

This sequel version of Jumanji is adorable and funny. Predictable, yes, but the story is based on a video game plot, so it’s kind of a baked-in thing.

It’s also bit too pat in how each teenage character gets the perfect game avatar to grow as a person, but this is yet another thing that can be explained away in-universe: it’s a magic game, and that’s what it does. So I guess we can make allowances for this too. It’s all in good fun to service the adventure story.

This movie is very like a fantasy-version of The Breakfast Club, updated for the cell-phone/video game era. It’s got detention, stereotypical teens from different cliques, and the theme is an exploration of how their characters learn to work together. They become close through their experiences. So, yeah, the same concept.

The plot is paper-thin, which is, again, part of the conceit. [pullquote]What the film really sells are the sweet character interactions, tons of gorgeous visuals, lots of humor, and the swashbuckling tone. I’ll say it: this could become a lightweight adventure/humor classic. [/pullquote]We’ll see, over time. The audience enjoyed it — they were laughing and clapping throughout. There’s also a good message for young people about tolerance and acceptance. Nothing world-changing, but I’m glad I got to see this.

Everyone in the film was just great — the actors seemed like they had a blast. Jack Black was fantastic, and I normally don’t enjoy his brand of broad humor. He had the obviously funny part, but didn’t oversell it, even when teaching “Martha” how to flirt. Dwayne Johnson was super playful, and pulled off a believably bashful teen. Kevin Hart was a crack-up as the “backpack guy.” Karen Gillan has nice comedic timing, and it was good to see her actual face without the blue makeup of Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy. At some points she still channeled Nebula, but her physicality as a warrior served her well in both roles. Everyone played off each other very well. The ensemble was just too damn cute, and they knew it.

Do you need to see the original Jumanji to follow along? In a word, no. Somehow the old one never pinged on my radar. I think I should catch it now; Jumanji 2 was that much fun. I laughed almost the whole time, and enjoyed these veteran actors doing their campy best of reviving the old “body swap” tale. It made me forget about life for a few hours, and that’s what a movie can do at its best.

Movie Grade: A-

Virgin Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)