Having new characters playing the established avatars in Jumanji: The Next Level is a fantastic idea, and I already love the relationship between *new* Dr Smolder Bravestone and *new* Mouse.
Bravestone is now being played by Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) with Moose now Eddie’s friend Milo Walker (Danny Glover) – and their friendship within the game continues (their avatars are played once again by Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart respectively).
Previously Bravestone’s avatar was played by teenager Spencer (Alex Wolff), whose dad had found the old Jumanji video game on a beach, and Mouse’s avatar by Spencer’s classmate, football star Anthony “Fridge” Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain).
2017’s Jumani: Welcome To The Jungle was an unexpected delight; a genuinely funny, often touching and exciting adventure as a disparate group of teens, whose only connection was the high school they went to, found themselves sucked into the game. It was one of the first non-children’s films I took my eldest to (he was 8 then) and he adored it.
This time around Spencer is already somewhere in the game, with Martha (Morgan Turner) declaring that they need to go in and rescue him.
Once again Martha emerges into Jumanji-world as “killer of men” Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). Nick Jonas is back and Awkwafina joins the cast, but though we see her briefly in this trailer it’s not clear who her game character is.
Watch the Jumanji: The Next Level trailer now (more info and images below):
I know it’s confusing, and yes I did have to go back to my previous Jumanji review to remind myself who was playing who was playing who. Here’s a brief update and recap:
Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart) is a zoologist and weapons ace. (Avatar previously played by Fridge, and now played by Milo Walker).
Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) is a martial arts expert and a “killer of men”. (Avatar played by Martha then and now. Martha is the film’s Breakfast Club-esque Ally Sheedy type).
Dr Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) is an adventurer and archaeologist whose special skill is the not-to-be-underrated “smouldering intensity”. (Avatar previously played by Spencer, now played by Grandpa Eddie).
Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (Jack Black) is a palaeontologist. (Avatar previously played by class princess Bethany – now played by Fridge).
With two elderly men in the game I’m looking forward to their actions and interactions now they’ve essentially got a new lease of life (“my hip sure feels good now!” declares Smolder, giving us a swivel). But WHERE is Bethany?
Jake Kasdan is once again on directing duties – Jumanji: The Next Level is out in the UK and USA on 13 December 2019.