By DAVID LEE ZAMORA
Special to the PARADE
Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to turn off your brain, sit in front of a big ol’ white screen and see a film that will make you awe at its fun and awesome action scenes, all the while making you slap your hands together in laughter, like a walrus at Seaworld that’s about to be fed fish? Well Jumanji:The Next Level is almost the right film for you.
Jumanji 2 isn’t a bad film: it’s funny at times, with the main characters from the first film having to almost constantly explain to Danny DeVito (Eddie) and Danny Glover (Milo) that they are trapped in a video game. The film also has some fun action scenes due to its crazy plot, such as the group having to fight thousands of baboons on moving bridges or fighting a bunch of evil henchmen in a castle to the song “Baby, I Love Your Way,” by Peter Frampton.
The film starts off with Alex Wolff’s character from the first film (Spencer Gilpin) life after high school. Now sad and depressed, due to no longer being with his friends, he returns home for the holidays, to see his mother and grandfather, Eddie. Once there, he returns to the world of Jumanji. The next day, when his friends, who also returned home for the holidays, go to check on Spencer and meet Eddie and his old friend Milo, they quickly realize what happened and go in to save him. Unfortunately Eddie and Milo get taken to Jumanji as well.
Jumanji: The Next Level has some issues, such as Smolder Bravestone’s (Dwayne Johnson) DeVito impersonation, albeit funny at first, soon gets really annoying. Thankfully, the film fixes that in the end of the film. I also have issues with some of the ways the characters were killed. You see, in the film, everyone has 3 lives in the game, and when they lose their three lives, they die in real life. The film then proceeds to have the characters die in some incredibly dumb ways. I do understand why they did this, but to have all of them stand together out in the desert and get blown up by a rocket showed some of the laziness in the writing.
All this, however, doesn’t add up to the film’s true crime though. This crime, in my honest opinion, should be considered a federal offense. What crime, you say? Well, the crime of under-utilizing both Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. They’re in the film for only 10 or 20 minutes. These two great actors and icons put on the sidelines so two has-beens (Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson) can make a cheap impression of them as a joke. Disgusting.
All jokes aside, I thought Jumanji: The Next Level was a fun, family film that I know, without a doubt, my nephew and father would find hilarious, and I seriously regret not taking them to see the film with me.