They’re all back the core cast Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillian and Jack Black are all returning, as are their young counterparts, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Morgan Turner and Madison Iseman in JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, but it’s not acceptable to just play the game the same way. Director Jake Kasdan and his screenwriters are blowing up the universe of JUMANJI, and that means plenty of massive action.
Trying to follow the previous Jumanji film, which grossed nearly a billion US dollars, was a challenge, says Kasdan. Producers knew they needed to satisfy its fans while offering something different. New players and switching avatars were the answer. Indeed, given how many actual videos games have failed to translate into movies (Max Payne, Need for Speed, Final Fantasy … the list goes on), it’s remarkable how well Jumanji does in conveying the video game experience.
Then there are the action set pieces, which feel entirely consistent with a ladders-and-levels-style game. Jumanji: The Next Level’s stand-out moment is surely when the characters are leaping across a series of moving bridges while being chased by a vicious horde of mandrills. “It’s the kind of sequence you’re working on a little bit every day for a year-and-a-half,” says Kasdan, who estimates “thousands” collaborated on the scene.
Rumours have already swirled that a future film might explore the origins of Jumanji, or even team up with actors from the 1995 film, like Kirsten Dunst. “We always have the mythology in our heads, ideas of where we want to go,” says director. While the title “Next Level” practically begs the idea that there will be another movie to come, Kasdan is being coy. “I think we have to get this one out there and see how the world feels about it.”
We can not wait! JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL will be in theaters everywhere this Friday, December 13, 2019.