Posted: 02 Jul 2019 05:00 AM PDT
So how do you change the innerworkings of a game-based movie that was such a breakout comedy without gutting the heart of the film that made it all work so well? Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as a reboot was such an improvement over the original film Jumanji from 1995 that it really took audiences by surprise in those late 2017 cold winter months (check out our review here). In the previous film teenagers get sucked into a video game and emerge into the roles of Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Franklin “Moose” Finbar (Kevin Hart in his funniest performance ever), Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), and Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black playing his trademark Jack Black routine). So will returning director Jake Kasdan and writers Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg give us a whole new game or take another approach for the next?
The first trailer for Jumanji: The Next Level might have the most apt of titles. The inside-the-game characters are the same (phew!), but the video game won’t be the same, instead giving the characters and us–the audience–a new level of play. And the real-world players are moved around a bit, with some new twists. All the kids are back, but Spencer’s grandfather, played by Danny DeVito, and his friend, played by Danny Glover, get sucked into the game with Spencer lost somewhere, and Martha stuck with Fridge trying to find him. Martha is still Ruby/Gillan, but everyone else is different: DeVito is Smolder/Johnson, Glover is Moose/Hart, and Fridge is Shelly/Black. So the swap of kids for old men in the bodies of our lead actors is the new conceit.
The next adventure brings back Nigel (Rhys Darby) as gamerunner and somehow Nick Jonas is back, too, as long-time player Alex–or will Alex really be someone entirely new? They could change up all these character roles over and over and we’ll keep coming back for more.
Here’s the great first trailer for Jumanji: The Next Level:
The Era of Dwayne Johnson is truly upon us, with nine movies slated between now and 2022, beginning next month with Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
Look for Jumanji: The Next Level in theaters in time for Christmas. It arrives December 13, 2019.
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