By Natalie Pillai and Hannah Russell
Every once in a while, a story captures the imagination of generations, as creators continue to find new ways to explore its possibilities. Chris Van Allsburg’s Jumanji is one of those stories.
Jumanji began as a beautifully illustrated children’s book published in 1981 about a board game that comes to life, causing elephants and jungle cats to roam a suburban neighborhood.
Over the years it has grown into a multimedia empire. The legendary Robin Williams movie of Jumanji, 1995, followed the plot of the book pretty faithfully, and was a huge success.
Next came Zathura: A Space Adventure, based on another book by Van Allsburg, with a similar concept. Again, there is a board game that comes to life, but the theme this time is space. This one didn’t do as well, though critics think it was a better film.
In 2017, the concept was updated with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. In this version the game became a video game, and instead of it coming to life, the characters were transported into the game. As with the others, the players needed to finish the game to put things back to normal. But this version pulled in some star power with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jack Black.
Now, Johnson and Black, along with costars Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan are back at it again with a brand new adventure. Jumanji: The Next Level, directed by Jake Kasdan, Is the sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The movie was released on December 13, 2019 and many fans were left pleased with the results.
The movie is about Spencer secretly keeping the pieces of the Jumanji video game and one day repairing the system in the basement of his grandfather’s house. When Spencer’s friends Bethany, Fridge, and Martha arrive to his grandfather;s house, they find Spencer missing and the game running. They decide to re-enter Jumanji to save Spencer. However, there is an unexpected glitch in the game. Spencer’s grandfather Eddie and his friend Milo Walker hear the commotion and inadvertently get sucked into the game before any of Spencer’s friends can select their avatars.
With a new quest offered to them by Nigel Billingsley, the teenage friends must help Eddie and Milo get used to their in-game avatars, get them to help find Spencer and Bethany, and escape Jumanji once again.
According to multiple reviews of the movie, many people really enjoyed the sequel and even thought it was better than the first movie.
“I really enjoyed the movie, it made me laugh many times and I loved the adventure as well as suspense in the movie,” said Chelsea Gong, a 7th grader here at Longfellow. “I was really entertained and happy throughout the whole movie and I’m glad I went to see it.”