Jumanji: The Next Level – Blu-ray Review

Jumanji: The Next Level

The filmmakers behind Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle could’ve easily rehashed the same concept for its sequel Jumanji: The Next Level (see: The Hangover). Luckily, The Next Level tries to switch it up by changing some things around. At the same time, it amps up the action and takes our characters into some bigger set pieces and worlds. Unfortunately, bigger is not always better. The film doesn’t quite have the same flow and consistency as the original.

Now, the idea of swapping bodies is a wonderful solution for switching things up for the sequel. Especially if you realize that Dwayne Johnson will be playing Danny DeVito, Kevin Hart will be playing Danny Glover, and Jack Black will be playing Ser’Darius Blain (Fridge). It’s a great idea until it begins to change the dynamic of the film. Dwayne Johnson as Danny DeVito looks good on paper, but his obnoxious attitude and Johnson’s forced accent, doesn’t quite mesh together well.

At the same time, the plotline to get everyone to switch back into their original bodies feels like a cop-out. It never feels like it’s being set up as an integral part of the story, but something that’s shoehorned into the story. It’s just introduced and never brought up again until later. Because of that, the film feels disjointed.

Yet the film still has that same amount of energy and laughs as the first film. Of course, that’s easy when you have Awkwafina, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart in your cast. With the kind of cast that this film has, it’s extremely easy to get laughs. The comedic timing and chemistry between everyone are spectacular.

Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is a film that suffers from the sequel curse. It’s still a solid film but many of the new ideas in this film doesn’t quite pan out. Nevertheless, families who enjoyed Welcome to the Jungle will surely still enjoy this.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms


Jumanji: The Next Level - Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, and Karen Gillan

Jumanji: The Next Level hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Because of the picture’s high contrast, there’s a Stark contrast between the light and dark areas. The brightness gives way to some super bright whites—something you can see in the snow at Jurgen’s fortress. On the other hand, the picture also has a handful of deep solid blacks that has a good amount of details lost in the shadows.

The colorful world of Jumanji comes to life with some bold color saturation. Also, the overall picture and film grain are clear but it does come with some slight issues. There’s a slight over-sharpening that’s occurring in the edge details. Not to mention, some of the CGI elements are a little fuzzy around these edges. Despite these issues, this is still a solid video transfer.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms


Jumanji: The Next Level - Awkwafina and Nick Jonas

Jumanji: The Next Level hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Thanks to the mix’s dynamic movement of sound effects, the mix is very playful and fun. You can hear it throughout the film but you can especially hear it when everyone is being sucked into the game. The sound placement is very distinct and accurate too. The atmospheric sound effects also range from audible to subtle. It’s something you can hear with the definite rainfall to the subtle sound of the desert winds.

Unfortunately, Henry Jackman’s score is statically playing across the soundstage. Nevertheless, it still makes its presence felt with the way it envelops the soundstage. Thankfully, the dialogue is still audible even among the chaos of the film. There’s so much to the mix that even the subwoofer shows up when The Rock lands those punches. Overall, this is a super fun mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Jumanji: The Next Level - Kevin Hart and Jack Black

Jumanji: The Next Level‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Gag Reel
  • Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character
  • Back Together: Reuniting the Cast
  • Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level
  • Creating the Scene
    • Ostrich Chase
    • Mandrill Bridge
  • Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle
  • Awkwafina Cat Burglar
  • NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal
  • Grow Up
  • Telenovela
  • Trick or Treat
  • Select Scene Pre-Vis
    • Zeppelin Battle
    • Ostrich Chase

With a cast like this, it’s only fitting that the gag reel is one of the funniest gag reels in recent memory. “Body Swapping” has director Jake Kasdan and the cast talk about swapping bodies. They don’t go in-depth with this featurette but they do talk about the challenges and fun behind playing someone else. As the name suggests, “Back Together” takes a look at the cast’s excitement in getting back together. It’s one of those “love fest” featurettes, but at least, you’ll get to see the fun that everyone had while making the film.

“Level Up” is the release’s behind-the-scenes featurette. It does cover a ton of subjects at a quick pace. But the “camels” section of the featurette is truly the best part of the entire featurette. A lot of that has to do with seeing everyone react to the camel standing up while the actors are riding them. “Level Up” is the first in-depth featurettes that you’ll encounter in this release. From the visual effects work to the soundstage work, you’ll learn quite a bit about how these action sequences were made.

The rest of the features are kind of fun videos that you may or may not have seen during the marketing campaign for the film. “Rhys Darby” is a silly (or super awesome) mini-music video/skit where Rhys Darby sings. Of course, that in itself is amazing. “Awkwafina” and “Jurgen the Brutal” is another fun skit where both Awkwafina and Rory McCann dive deeper into their characters in awesome ways. “Grow Up” is a funny Comedy Central skit where everyone wants to be old like Danny DeVito and Danny Glover.

“Telenovela” is another marketing skit where the main actors are being dubbed in Spanish. Meanwhile, Kevin Hart is speaking English and has no idea why he’s not being dubbed in Spanish. Now, the one video I know you probably have seen before is the “Trick or Treat” promo where Kevin Hart dresses like fanny pack Rock. Even after watching it a hundred plus times, it still never fails in making me laugh. The “Pre-Vis” is a split-screen feature that has the pre-visual animation run alongside the theatrical version of the scene.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Overall, Jumanji: The Next Level is a fun but flawed sequel that doesn’t quite reach the same level of entertainment as the first film. The video transfer does have some issues, but at least the release’s audio mix makes up for it. The special features don’t have a ton of great featurettes but it does, however, have a lot of the fun skits that came out during the marketing campaign.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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