In 2017 Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures released a sequel to the 1995 special effects-laden Columbia-TriStar blockbuster “Jumanji” which starred the late Robin Williams. They also took the story in a new “contemporary” direction, where the magical but potentially deadly board game becomes a retro videogame console cartridge that sucks a group of students into its digital environment for a survival game of higher stakes. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” was such a big hit that Sony-Columbia has green-lighted a follow-up movie, among other things. This week, the first trailer for the new “Jumanji” film “The Next Level” came out.
CNET has it that Sony and Columbia Pictures have put up the first trailer for “Jumanji: The Next Level” which introduces a new wilderness fantasy adventure on the heels of its immediate predecessor “Welcome to the Jungle.” The original cast has for the most part returned to reprise their roles and, due to the casting quirk of the movie, end up with new characters playing old characters at the same time. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black all return as the videogame avatars of Jumanji, some of which will be controlled by their original characters or otherwise.
“Welcome to the Jungle” in 2017 ended with the trapped student gamers destroying the Jumanji game cartridge. But one of them, Spencer (Alex Wolff), secretly took the remains and tried to repair it. When he gets sucked into the game just as his friends are visiting from school, they decide to re-enter the Jumanji world to rescue him. But this time they get to surprise new companions. Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito), and his old buddy Milo (Danny Glover) get involved and are taken into the game themselves. And here the new person-game avatar combinations are revealed for great laughs.
Where school jock and Spencer’s childhood friend Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) was zoologist Mouse (Hart), he is now controlling Prof. Sheldon (Black) who was formerly Bethany’s (Madison Iseman). Grandpa Eddie takes control of his grandson’s avatar, archeologist Dr. Bravestone (Johnson). Milo take’s Fridge’s place in control of Mouse, and chubby geek Martha (Morgan Turner) returns to her in-game role as martial artist Roundhouse (Gillan). They discover that Jumanji has changed to a more varied outdoor setting from temperate forests to snowy peaks, and must be guided by NPC explorer Nigel (Rhys Darby) as they search for Spencer and try to escape from the game once more.
Awkwafina also stars while Jake Kasdan, who directed “Welcome to the Jungle,” returns to the helm of “Jumanji: The Next Level,” which is slated to premiere later this year. Sony has also collaborated with Bandai-Namco Entertainment and other developers to create a tie-in videogame, featuring the movie’s avatar characters, releasing November for the PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
Image courtesy of USA Today