Cert 12A Stars 4
This rip-roaring blockbuster comedy sequel builds on the box office smash success of 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, by reuniting the cast for more fast-paced fantasy action and adding new faces, locations and villains to keep everything fresh.
Karen Gillan, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black return to be buoyed by veterans Danny Glover and Danny DeVito, as well as the rapper and actress Awkwafina, who was nominated for a Golden Globe this week for her starring role in comedy drama, The Farewell.
The quartet of high school students of the first film are now at university, but plans for a Christmas reunion go awry when one disappears into the magical Jumanji video game, and the others must follow to rescue him.
Battling a barrel of angry mandrills among other hazards, they have to rescue a precious jewel from an axe wielding barbarian horde in order to return home.
The mountains, forests, jungles and deserts give it an epic sweep, with the latter providing the opportunity for a cheeky riff on the majestic soundtrack from David Lean’s 1962 classic, Lawrence of Arabia.
Full of cartoon style violence and some brief kissing, the script milks its character swapping concept for all its worth, mixing up the ethnicity, age, gender and even species of its characters with merry abandon and inventively comic results.
Plus the resurgent Sony Pictures uses this film to fire across the bows of a rival studio by having characters talk to the animals, ahead of Universal Studio’s huge budget remake of Dr Doolittle, which opens in February and stars Robert Downy Robert Downy Jr.
His Avengers: Endgame co-star Gillan makes this franchise her own with her stern, smart and funny authority, and it’s great to have the grumpy and combative joys of DeVito back on the big screen.
And he proves even OAP’s can enjoy video games, just don’t try and tell that to my nine year old.