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Jumanji: The Next Level


Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Madison Iseman, Colin Hanks, Nat Wolff

Director: Jake Kasdan

What can one say, apart from the fact that this is hardly a level up for the now-established franchise of people trying not to lose three lives when undertaking tasks inside a video game.

I seem to remember this all started as a board game, but times if not standards have moved on. Teenager Spencer (Wolff), bored with living with his grandad (DeVito, best thing in the film) and gramps' old partner (Glover), newly arrived, digs out an old console and in no time at all is transported to the land of Jumanji.

His girlfriend, mate, another girl and the two oldsters swiftly follow suit. Arriving in the game, they all find themselves transformed into 'avatars' of themselves. Gramps, for example, is now brawny Johnson, Glover mini-motormouth Hart, Spencer a Chinese girl pickpocket (Awkwafina) and the 'other girl' a horse. Yes, a horse. Gillan and Black play other incarnations.

'Once again,' says their guide (Jonas) 'Jumanji is in great peril and you're the only ones who can keep it safe.' So away we go. Jungle adventures? Tick. Desert dangers? Tick. Icy mountain hazards? Tick. Chuck in dodgy CGI ostriches, hippos and mandrills and, in one of the more imaginative sequences, crazy rope bridges changing position - although even this idea is pinched from a Harry Potter film.

There are also magic waters that switch identities. You may have trouble keeping up with this. After she left the horse, I lost track of who the 'other girl' became. Still, on the bonus side, Awkwafina does do an amusing impression of DeVito when she inherits his identity.

Outside of its iffy fantasy action, however, the film has little to offer; both dialogue and characters are pretty uninteresting.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour by efilm.
125 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 12 Dec 2019