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Jumanji: The Next Level (Blu-ray Review)

One of 2017’s big surprises was Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. It featured a fun concept, different from the original with humorous angle for its cast that absolutely nailed it. Even more surprising was hold well it was able to do so well alongside box office juggernaut Star Wars: The Last Jedi as well as the leggy The Greatest Showman. Holiday 2017 seasons was one prosperous time for the accountants at the studios as they counted all them big bucks for these movies. Obviously as sequel was an easy conclusion and it arrived just 2 years later with its victory lap in the form of Jumanji: The Next Level, also a substantial hit film at the box office. That film is on the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray format, which you should definitely go and purchase. But for today, we’ll be talking about the standard Blu-ray version of the film and how it fares on the edition for the outdated format. Pre-order below if you’d like, and know that it is linked to an Amazon Associates account.

Film

When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring him home. But the game is now broken — and fighting back. Everything the friends know about Jumanji is about to change, as they soon discover there’s more obstacles and more danger to overcome.

Jumanji has decided to take a victory lap after the success of the previous film. And, said victory lap was very well earned. The cast is back, the game is back. We get a few new characters in the game. A new villain. And some new environments to have the action take place in. But this time we get a bit of switcheroo with their game roles and also providing a little new function of the game that can allow a changeup of identities to help the movie get to status quo to kick off the third act.

Everything jumps right in as if they never left the first time. That’s all well to settle back into the film, but after about the first act, things start to wane and just feel like you’re watching the first one again, but with a slight difference. Its a safe way to play out a sequel, and its not the first to do it. In fact, some great sequels have followed this outline, but Jumanji is just seemingly happy with being safe, not screwing up and winding up accepting average and “fine” as its goal.

As far as our cast goes, I really dig that this is Karen Gillan’s film and she aces it in carrying the crew. Gillan is silently one of our biggest and best tentpole blockbuster stars right now and its good to see the film giving her that nod. Kevin Hart’s Danny Glover is quite impressive here, but Dwayne Johnson’s Danny DeVito doesn’t quite hash out as well and gets pretty old really fast. However, newcomer Awkwafina does VERY well when its her turn to wield the power of DeVito. Everyone else pretty much is just themselves “at it again”. Which, fun yes, but we have seen it before. For some people that’s enough, and they move on with their lives.

Jumanji: The Next Level does well at providing more of the same, which is nice to an extent and a bit tedious at the same time. The cast is still game here, but there’s not much here to take it to the “next level” aside from a few different environments and little plot convenient game element. Still, this is some solid family fun, and it does well in setting up the potential for something very different and exciting for its next “level” whenever that should arrive.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail:  Know ahead of time that Jumanji: The Next Level was released on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, but we were only sent the standard Blu-ray edition, possibly in favor of somebody who holds up the box on YouTube and says “So, I got this in the mail. Its nice. Okay, next”. As far as how it looks on standard Blu-ray? It looks very good and pretty much the top picture you could hope for on the format. Its sharp, crystal clear, features good color saturation and great attention to details. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best picture you can get for this film as a better format exists.

Depth: As expected, depth of field is pretty top dog here, with good spacing and scale represented in all interiors and exteriors of the film. Character and rapid movements are smooth and natural with no motion distortions present.

Black Levels: Blacks do a solid job with being deep, especially for a digitally shot movie, just a hair lighter than the surround matting lines on the top and bottom. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors prove pretty strong with some of the more natural and desert-like colors. Fabrics showcase a decent pop as well as every kind of magical type beams or lighting.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. They fit whatever color timing an environment demands. Facial features like sweat beads, dried dirt, freckles, wrinkles, facial lines, makeup and more come through very cleanly in any reasonable frame distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio

Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Descriptive Service, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French Audio Descriptive Service, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Sony has decided to give the standard Blu-ray release of Jumanji: The Next Level a mere English 5.1 track while the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray features a much better DTS:X experience. As far as 5.1 goes, this is about the best it gets. The sound is well balanced and mixed that draws you into the film as best it can with great layering and detail. It makes for a fun watch, but with a DTS:X out there, a home theater enthusiast likely is looking for more.

Height: N/A

Low-Frequency Extension: The subwoofer provides some nice impact and helps to contribute a lot to the immersiveness of the action in the film.

Surround Sound Presentation: Speakers showcase varying degrees of unique contributions as well as help bring to life the frames where objects, creatures or action travels anywhere around the room. Its a pretty active and fun mix.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, audible given an degree of danger or silence.

Extras

Jumanji: The Next Level comes with the DVD edition and a digital code.

Gag Reel (HD, 5:21)

Body Swapping: Snapping into Character (HD, 5:30) – Featurette that focuses on the character portrayals and impressions that went on in the sequel.

Back Together: Reuniting the Cast (HD, 4:05) – Featurette focusing on the on-set off-set relationships of the cast and how they were excited to return for another adventure.

Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level (HD, 13:33) – The cast and crew take us through a brief, fluffy journey into making this sequel.

Creating the Scene – This featurette looks at the blending of shooting stunt sequences and blending them with post production computer generated effects.

  • Ostrich Chase (HD, 5:40)
  • Mandrill Bridge (HD, 6:45)

Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle (HD, 2:22) – The actor sets up a conference call and tries to get a dance routine going on the set since he wasn’t on the music video for the first movie.

Awkwafina Cat Burglar (HD, 1:43) – The comedic actress talks about what she can bring to the movie with her talents.

NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal (HD, 3:06) – Rory McCann, in character, discusses his achievements and failures.

Grow Up (HD, 1:06) – Danny DeVito and Danny Glover advise and educate Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart on how to do their roles.

Telenovela (HD, 1:07) – A humorous (Obviously fake) advertisement for the film in Spanish in the vein of their soap operas.

Trick or Treat (HD, 1:16) – Kevin Hart goes trick or treating to Dwayne Johnson’s home.

Select Scene Pre-Vis – A comparison of the previsualization animatic to the finshed product, side by side.

  • Zeppelin Battle (HD, 4:54)
  • Ostritch Chase (HD, 4:28)

Summary

Jumanji: The Next Level isn’t able to full coast of the surprise fun the first one was because the luster has run off and just winds up “more of the same”. It fine family entertainment but didn’t push anywhere interesting. This Blu-ray gives you a fine presentation for the format with some fluffy junk food extras. At the end of the day, don’t buy this version, buy the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray as it offers the best in video and audio while also carrying this same Blu-ray disc.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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