Our favourite bickering A-listers are back on the big screen this weekend for ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’. That’s right, friendly foes Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart — as well as Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas — are returning for another wild ride, this time with Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina in tow.
‘The Next Level’ is a sequel to the 2017 fantasy adventure comedy ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’, which was a reboot of Robin William’s 1995 classic. The first instalment was received relatively well by fans and critics — but what does part two have in store, and is it worth your time? Read on to find out.
‘THE NEXT LEVEL’ PICKS OFF WHERE WE LEFT OFF…
To recap, the first movie kicked off with young Alex, who comes across a video game cartridge of Jumanji and unwittingly disappears into the game. Twenty years later, four high-schoolers — Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha — couldn’t be more different than one another, but are brought together by detention. They discover Jumanji and are thrust into a dangerous fantasy world, where their avatars, played by The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan, meet Alex, played by Nick Jonas, and try to help him.
Now, if you remember the ending, the oddball teens — now friends — return to the real world and Fridge wrecks the Jumanji game with a bowling ball to make sure no one else plays it.
But in ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’, Spencer has secretly kept pieces of the game and repairs it in his grandfather’s basement.
When Fridge, Martha and Bethany arrive — now college students — they find the game running and Spencer missing, forcing them to re-enter Jumanji to save him. But there’s a massive twist. Before they can pick their usual avatars, Spencer’s grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) and his friend Milo (Danny Glover) get sucked into the game as well.
What that means is, The Rock now represents DeVito, while Hart represents Glover.
DANNY-ING IT UP
“Capturing the essence and nuances of Danny DeVito was the best time as an actor,” said Johnson. “I had a chance to study him, going back and watching a lot of his old movies and TV shows, all the way back to ‘Taxi’ … And he was very gracious. It was a blast becoming Danny DeVito.”
But while DeVito is known for his high-pitched, in-your-face hilarity, it was Glover’s composure that inspired Hart.
“The older version of Danny Glover in movies just makes me laugh because he’s so calm,” said Hart. “Everything he says is just happy. I thought that could be a very funny place to play with. Like that older man that’s a little more at ease, because I’m very ‘Aahhh!’ all the time.”
The existing avatars also meet with new avatar Ming (Awkwafina), who’s a master of burglary and pickpocketing.
“When we look at superhero movies we see someone who obviously is flawed but has just some kind of insane power. Whereas everyone in Jumanji, they are normal people who become heroes in the game, and I think that resonates with anyone, across any culture,” said Akwafina.
Black in particular sang the ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Oceans 8’ actress’ praises.
“She fit just like a glove on this project. She’s got sass and style and zest — the girl’s got magic! We all just gelled right out of the gate and doing scenes with her has been special,” said Black.
‘DREAM COME TRUE’
For director Jake Kasdan, adding legendary names like DeVito and Glover to the cast from an older generation of Hollywood took the film — well, to the next level.
“There was something really powerful to me about the idea of expanding the world to include characters at different phases in their lives. I love the kids and I love telling their stories,” said Kasdan.
“But the addition of Eddie and Milo felt like discovering a new room in your house. It was totally exciting to me. And Danny and Danny made it a dream come true.”
Don't miss it!
'Jumanji: The Next Level' releases in the UAE on December 12. Watch the trailer below: