35+ Jumanji: The Next Level Reviews – Box Office Sales Measuring Brand Sequel Support?

Jumanji: The Next Level ⭐️½

Is this a brand/franchise you love? CNN is citing an analyst from Comscore that thinks this is the reason audiences are supporting this sequel where others have failed:

2019 was not a kind year to sequels. “Dark Phoenix,” “Men In Black International,” “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” “Terminator: Dark Fate” and “Doctor Sleep” were all disappointments at the box office. But “Next Level” was able to avoid the sequel curse because it’s a “brand that audiences love,” according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore (SCOR).

‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ breaks expectations with big debut for Sony – CNN

Based on my review, I disagree with Mr. Dergarabedian from Comscore. Those that like and recommend the movie — many do — may agree with his opinion.

However, there should be no disagreement that box office sales has anything to do with whether or not a film is good.

It’s all about the storyor lack thereof

The story is what I will either like or dislike, and how many people paid to see and/or support the film is irrelevant in that decision. The two are completely different metrics. Yes, from the standpoint of success in that there might/will be a sequel, the two are very related, but that’s purely financial.

Not everybody does this. and I’ve probably muddied the waters by talking about box office sales and citing how the film did financially. In my defense, it’s human nature to want a film I liked to do well at the box office. I don’t feel the same about movies I dislike. The reason is that studios will make more bad movies if they sell. We’ll end up with more Jumanji’s which, for me anyway, isn’t desirable. Or might not be anyway. Unless they can do something different and new than the last two films.

Since I’m seeing all the new movies I can, regardless if it’s a sequel of a movie where the last one I disliked, it isn’t going to change whether or not I’ll watch another new Jumanji (almost certainly will), but it will make a studio think it is onto a successful formula if box office sales are overwhelmingly strong. This is why we kept getting Transformers movies, long after they should have been sent to the movie junkyard.

Probably guilty of this, too, but think it’s intellectually dishonest to declare great movies like Doctor Sleep ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ a failure because it underperformed at the box office and conversely Jumanji: The Next Level as some great cinematic achievement because it makes a profit at the box office.

Financially, it is open season to talk about a film being successful or not based on the box office. But creatively, when we talk about audience and branding, it’s a whole other issue. I’m a huge fan of the Terminator franchise, but that support from people like me didn’t help it do well at the box office. Same goes for Stephen King. IT did really well, but the sequel IT: Chapter Two ⭐️⭐️½  not as good nor the sequel to The Shining⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Sequels are less exciting because most are inferior to the original

The reality is audiences are programmed not to like sequels based on how many truly lousy sequels there have been in history. People aren’t buying into a sequel because of the brand, they are buying into it because they want to relive the experience of the original movie.

As a fan, I kept seeing Star Wars movies to see another Star Wars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ … and sadly, it never happened. Came very close with The Empire Strikes Back, not even close with the prequels or Disney Star Wars (will see next week how Rise of Skywalker fares).

I keep going because that original experience was brilliant and awe-inspiring. And somehow I’m hoping that I’ll get a story as crazy good as the first one. That’s what returns audiences. Yes, it is partly the brand, but it’s more about reliving the same great experience.

In the case of Doctor Sleep, I think people stayed home because very few thought the movie would measure up to Kubrick’s masterpiece. How could it? The fact that Mike Flanagan even tried to pay homage to it takes some huge stones.

Warning: spoilers exist beyond this point.

… you’ve been warned — SPOILERS ahead …

Summary

I think the main thing I disliked was that it seemed way too much like Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The reggae remix of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way” was a high point in the film for me.

Reviews by Others

Let’s see, so far, what other moviegoers think of Jumanji: The Next Level.

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs. Yes, even those who disagree with my reviews and vice versa.

Recommended

  1. Ben Rudolph (3/5): “…is very funny and entertaining, but lacks the spark of the first. Hart and Black stand out once more, firing off their comedic chops on all cylinders.”
  2. Cinema Spotlight / Jason (4/5): ” I do hope that that if this series is going to continue that the next installment really does make an attempt to push this franchise to the true next level of its potential. For now though, what we got in this follow-up is perfectly fine by me.”
  3. Corbin Stewart / Keithlovesmovies: ” is pretty much on the same level as the previous film. Both serve as refreshing takes on the original film, bolstered by a hilarious cast playing against type. Despite concerns whether or not this film would be able to churn out originality and not ride on the coattails of the first film, The Next Level manages to do both, and that is completely alright going forward if the franchise remains as entertaining as it is right now.”
  4. Darren / The m0vie blog: “The Next Level doesn’t work especially well, but it still works much better than it should. By all accounts, the film should collapse under the weight heaped up on. Instead, it only occasionally comes off the rails.”
  5. Embrace Your Geekness (4.4/5): “The changes they made were refreshing and the adjustment through the movie made perfect sense in storytelling.  The cast is still the selling point of this movie as they are able to show their talents and knowledge of these characters, while clearly having fun making this movie.  A very worthy addition to the Jumanji franchise.”
  6. Film Reviews by the Youngest Film Critic: “In Welcome to the Jungle, he had a generic ‘adventure’ based theme but here he brings a variety of good stuff. The VFX was good and pretty believable. All in all, Jumanji: The Next Level may not be a new product, but it has the fun elements to it.”
  7. Funk’s House of Geekery: “….remains a goofy break from reality and sometimes that’s all we need.”
  8. Gasbag Reviews (3.5/5): “This is perhaps the first trilogy in my memory where each of the sequels has improved on the previous entry. This could be even bigger than either of those films, and it deserves more chances to entertain.”
  9. Hatboy’s Hatstand: “An enjoyable evening out, not exactly a masterpiece of the cínémá but then it doesn’t at any point pretend to be. If you can see it with a giggling, karate-chopping, line-repeating, chair-bouncing nine-year-old, I recommend that as a solid augmentation.”
  10. Let’s Talk About Movies: “…director Jake Kasdan keeps the action going by giving everyone the chance to shine. So yes, while it doesn’t exactly match the cleverness of its predecessor, “The Next Level” is still a fun ride for audiences of all ages. And by the end, we learn that there might be one more sequel to go. I’m in.”
  11. Louisa / Screen Zealots (4/5): “The film gets right to the good stuff without a long or boring setup, and the story is roughly the same as its predecessor. There’s not much new plot-wise, but who cares when a movie is this much of a wild, entertaining ride?”
  12. lukebarnes (5/5): “…is a step up from ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ which was already a great film. Devito, Black, Hart and Johnson are all on terrific form here and, make this one of the best films of the year. The romantic development between Spencer and, Martha, (Morgan Turner) is also incredibly endearing and, the end stinger is definitely one to stick around for. I can’t wait for the next film in this fantastic franchise.”
  13. Major Film Reviews: “Sometimes all a film has to be is fun, that’s fine, and for what it’s worth Jumanji 3 is fun, bags of fun, a fun little adventure with interesting, funny characters, it’s all what it promised to be, and we can’t judge it as anything else.”
  14. Movie Metropolis: “…is that rare sequel that builds and betters its predecessor. With better special effects, a greater sense of scale and some impressive action sequences, it’s a question of when, not if, that next sequel will be released. After all, when the entire cast look like they’re having a blast, it’s hard not to get sucked into the world of Jumanji too.”
  15. Movie Reviews 101 (3.5/4): “…a fun sequel that once again gets stolen by the supporting cast of Karen Gillan, Jack Black and newcomer Awkwafina that get most of the laughs.
  16. nathanzoebl: “…a worthy sequel to one of the more fun, clever, and visually inventive action-comedy franchises. As long as they can maintain this level of quality, I’ll happily pre-order the next edition.”
  17. No More Workhorse: “…does what few sequels can do… make a movie that’s just as good, if not better than the last. They kept what was fun and built on it, with a few hilarious changes. It has some unexpected heart, too.”
  18. Not Left Handed Either Film Guide: “There are only really a couple of reasons for reading film reviews. The first is to find out if a movie is any good and the second is to gain some insight and analysis into the deeper context and meaning of what is played out on screen. Well this is Jumanji so there is no deeper context and meaning. Seriously this film is all surface.”
  19. Ready Steady Cut (3.5/5): “…is a fun adventure comedy that still manages to hold the high standards that were set in Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle and still manages to pay a large amount of respect to the original Jumanji too. The comedy might not click to start with, but once we add instead of change much of the last one, we get back on track to the entertaining levels we expect from the franchise.”
  20. Rose Bonaime: “…is mostly playing the same game a second time, but at least the film has one-up’d what worked from the last one. The comedy pops much better, the action is clearer, and the premise is consistently refreshed by changing up these characters.”
  21. Shaun Wren / The Bear Cave (4/5): “A fantastic sequel and matched by great performances. It’s just a wonderfully fun, funny, action-packed time to spend at the cinemas.”
  22. Seongyongs Private Place (3/4): “…an efficient sequel packed with enough humor and thrill, and it is fairly recommendable on the whole even though it is not particularly necessary in my trivial opinion. They will surely make another sequel if “Jumanji: The Next Level” earns lots of money just like its predecessor, but I will not grumble if the resulting product is as good”
  23. The Film Blog: “Quite clearly, originality isn’t everything with this one. Likeable but only okay.”
  24. The World of Celebrity: “I had no idea how it would be a decent follow-up to Welcome to the Jungle but it easily managed it. This is just such a delightful, enjoyable movie. A real treat!”
  25. Troubled Productions: “…this film is basically the last one, again, but bigger. It’s just as funny, just as great to look at, and the music is really good (something I hadn’t noticed before was how good the score is).”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  1. All Things Movies – Morton: “What doesn’t work however, is just how boring the plot is. The writers, clearly blindsided by the idea of a sequel, have absolutely no idea where to take the potential franchise after the runaway hit of the original. It’s a rushed affair, setting a Usain Bolt pace early on in an attempt to hide a messy rinse & repeat formula, setting you up with our heroes not knowing where they are, finding all their answers in the map and then being chased by something at least 3 times in it’s 2 hour run time.”
  2. Consequence of Sound: “Apart from the old-age angle, though, The Next Level just feels like more of the same, and some of its bigger swings might just even border on the irresponsible. As kids’ fare goes, this series remains weird enough to not totally write it off. But for the next version, they might have to work out some of the bugs.”
  3. Daniel Dunkins: “With a bit more time in development this could have been a lot better than it was. As is, this will kill some time and if it ever came on the TV the i’d probably stop channel hopping but I doubt I’ll remember this film in a week.”
  4. Irish Film Critic: “Here it all feels rapid-fire and haphazard as if the movie was partially written on-set by The Rock, showing off his impression of Danny Devito (subsequently, I’m sure, how this movie got made in the first place.) It’s a cheesy adventure rollercoaster rides, and it functions on some level. It just dysfunctions so much it’s hard to appreciate or even understand. Take kids if they like this thing, but otherwise, pass. You’re not missing much.”
  5. Jay / ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES: “Anyway, there are a few laughs to be had in this Jumanji, but not even enough to fill a 30 second trailer, so multiply that level of discomfort by 246 and you’ll have a general idea of your tolerance for this film.”
  6. Jennifer Heaton / Alternative Lens (6/10): “…the definition of disposable entertainment; fun while it lasts, but nothing you’re particularly going to remember in a few days. It relies far too much on what worked last time around, resulting a product that has very little to offer you couldn’t gain by just watching Welcome to the Jungle.”
  7. Little Frog Scribbles (6.5/10): “I think it’s all pretty forgettable, but enjoyable enough for a mental mini-break. “
  8. Mark Hobin / Fast Film Reviews (2.5/5): “The first half of the movie relies more on the characters so it genially coasts on the talents of its cast but in the 2nd half, the chronicle dwells far too long on a convoluted story.  I just didn’t give a care.  The final 30 minutes is a difficult sit.  The saga runs over two hours when it should’ve been a brisk 90 minutes.”
  9. Rock at the Movies (6.5/10): ” Jake Kasdan tries to push his sequel and follow up the success of the first. It doesn’t feel like its warranted but still makes for an entertaining time to close out a busy year in film. Some of it feels like it goes through the motions but for the most part the charm and work of the actors pushes the film to the finish line. I hope this is the end of it but I think the films success will definitely green light the next installment.”
  10. Society Reviews (2/5): “…feels like a film that was written to justify its existence. If are expecting a fun popcorn flick, it isn’t the worst option, but it definitely isn’t the best.”
  11. tensecondsfromnow / The Film Authority: “There’s a nice idea buried here; only Rhys Darby as the exposition-heavy host captures the right satirical tone for making fun of video-game clichés. Otherwise, there’s some elaborate set-pieces involving ostriches, monkeys, rope bridges and a climactic punch-up set to Baby I Love Your Way. Jumanji: The Next Level passes the time, but there’s nothing new or exciting about it.”
  12. Thatshelf: “Similar to those cellphone apps that advertise themselves as one thing but prove to be a cheap knock off better games, Jumanji: The Next Level is a repetitive and uninspired clone of its predecessor. The only saving grace in this lifeless sequel is the introduction of Awkwafina as the avatar Ming Fleetfoot.”
  13. Trailer Trashed: “A completely unnecessary sequel in my opinion, all be it one with plenty of chuckles and wise cracks.  Doesn’t mean this needs to turn into a franchise though.”

Your turn. The comments area awaits what you think of this movie. If you have reviewed it already, please feel free to share where that review is at along with a brief synopsis of your review.

NOW PLAYING REVIEWS: Richard Jewell, Black Christmas, Jumanji: The Next Level

Weekend #50 12/13/2019 is all about anti-climaxes.

First, we don’t get to watch either Uncut Gems (opens on Christmas Eve in our area) or Bombshell (opens next week in our area). Secondly, we get two fairly underwhelming sequels, one of which isn’t recommended, and another which is maybe recommended (read on!).

At least there is one star with a bit of a shine, and that film is this week’s #1 new film recommendation …

Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

In case you didn’t know by now (I’ve mentioned this several times, so sorry for beating this legend of Hollywood home), Clint Eastwood is behind the camera and we get a tasty helping (again) of Kathy Bates playing a “momma” character like she did to Adam Sandler in The Waterboy. She is good, but it is silly to suggest she win an Oscar for her performance when it isn’t the first time she’s done this character.

Richard Jewell is our top pick for weekend #50 2019

My guess is the box office money is going to go first to the third film on our list, that isn’t recommended, but story-wise, Richard Jewell is the best of the lot.

Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Am already catching crap for this one. Of course it’s from a man. I get it, this is a man-hater’s movie, so why should any man recommend it? You have to watch the video review and read my text review to understand this recommendation comes with all kinds of ifs and buts, but that’s the danger of a star rating. People want to make it personal when they dislike something a critic likes and vice versa.

This bears the name of the original, but it’s all about hating on men — literally and figuratively

Plenty of criticisms for this movie, including the terrible script and characterization, but saw seeds of ideas that had potential and were likable enough to say, consider it. It should never have been given the title it has, but is a better feminist movie than Charlie’s Angels (2019) ⭐️½. .

Jumanji: The Next Level ⭐️½ (ScreenX)

Caught this on Thursday night 12/12 in ScreenX format. Didn’t add much

ScreenX is not the best way to view this movie. Our guess is that this film will win the most box office sales crown this weekend, perhaps based on the strength of the first two movies, but neither Kara or I enjoyed this film. It just felt too sequel fatigued. Stick a fork in this franchise is what we think. If you liked this one, that’s awesome. I’m happy any time somebody loves a movie because they will encourage their friends and others to go see the movie. That’s good for theaters and there are always other movies at the multiplexes.

Want to see what else we recommend NOW PLAYING at the theater?

Here are other movies we’ve seen at the theater recently (maybe they are available in your area still) that are recommended. Any movie rated at least 3-stars is recommended. You should read any 3-star review (click the title), because sometimes we do qualify those recommendations, meaning we were entertained, but it doesn’t mean that it was necessarily that good.

4-star movies are highly recommended and films we rate as 4 1/2 or 5 stars are must see. NOTE: of all 2019 movies seen in theaters (over 55 movies since August 12, 2019), there have been no 4.5 or 5 star movies rated. Zero. Just hasn’t been anything either of us felt was that amazing. Am hoping there will be at least one before the end of the year .. but time is running out.

  1. Ford v Ferrari ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ScreenX
  2. Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. The Good Liar ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Joker ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. Richard Jewell ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Dark Waters ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Last Christmas ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. Hold On ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Black Christmas (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Don’t forget the butter on that popcorn! Have a great time at the movies.

Opening 12-12-2019 in Theaters: Uncut Gems, Bombshell, Jumanji The Next Level, Richard Jewell, Black Christmas

3 of 5 movies released “wide” shown above plus The Polar Express on a one day bonus showing

Wednesday is here and that means … new movies at the theater starting tomorrow!

Yes, more new movies coming to theaters this weekend (Thursday forward). Right now, at least in our area – and via Google search — only three of the five being released “wide” are actually showing as coming soon with presale tickets available.

Or Box Office Mojo is jacked up and these two movies are really “limited” release (which I think is what’s happening) for Uncut Gems and Bombshell, two movies I was most eagerly looking to see out of the five. Check this out (follow the yellow highlight in the screenshot):

Box Office Mojo info by IMDB pro shows Bombshell and Uncut Gems are “wide”, but they are not

If someone like me who actually follows movies and researches when they come out is confused, how is an average or “once in awhile” moviegoer going to sort this out. Come on, IMDBPro, you guys are being IMDB amateurs. Why would anybody pay for this information when you can’t get something basic right on the homepage of your website?

Stay with me. Because there is conflicting info on other major movie info sites.

I know, I know, it’s minor issue. They have tons of great data on the inside … for $20/month or whatever. It’s just annoying that I can’t figure out how and where these limited movies are playing so I can pay to go and see them. Customers should never have to jump through hoops like this. It’s no wonder fewer people are going to movie theaters these days. Some must just throw their hands up and wait for it to show up on streaming.

Rotten Tomatoes has a movie info section which shows Uncut Gems as opening on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019, 13 days from the “wide” date listed by Box Office Mojo by IMDBPro:

Uncut Gems is not opening in our area until December 24 … 11 days after “wide” opening. Sigh

Same source, RT, showing Bombshell as “opening” on December 19, 2019:

See, now you can join me in confusion.

Am sure your zip code is different than what’s shown above, so maybe, just maybe you’ll find Bombshell or Uncut Gems showing somewhere near you. Since they aren’t showing in our area — at least as of this writing — we won’t be seeing them this coming weekend. Unfortunately, there won’t be a review and rating for either of these two movies until on/after the dates mentioned above.

So, let’s get the two movies we (probably) can’t see this weekend out of the way first:

Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems featuring Adam Sandler in a dramatic role is not available for me until December 24

My interest for this movie is pretty high. I’m bummed that I have to wait until Christmas Eve to see this and probably need to skip past numerous spoiler-laden reviews that will be coming between December 13 and December 24. Give me a big brick of cheese to go with my wine.

Anticipation: 9/10

Bombshell

Charlize Theron looks so much like Megyn Kelly to me that almost for that reason alone I’m interested in seeing this film. I’m not sure how critics will receive the movie based on the underlying politics, but am hoping reviewers will rate the movie first and politics second. I certainly will, at least as much as I can from the source material. Just because I may not like what the FOX Network does or doesn’t do should not matter about whether or not the story this movie is telling is entertaining. I’ll have to wait until next week — December 19, or so I’m seeing at the moment — to be able to watch, review and rate this one. If you have it in your area, yes, I’m envious!

Anticipation: 8 / 10

Jumanji: The Next Level

Good to see the cast is back. Jack Black is almost always fun. I have preferred The Rock in more action roles than comedic ones typically but this blended comedy-action movie seems to fit his acting style.

Anticipation: 5 / 10

Richard Jewell

Richard Jewell official trailer

Directed by Clint Eastwood. A dramatic retelling of the 1996 Centenniel Park Olympic bombing hero turned suspect Richard Jewell. I have tried to steer away from learning much about this film because I saw a headline that spoiled an important part of the movie for me. I’d warn others who don’t want key plot points ruined to avoid seeking much coverage on this one. The trailers asks a pretty key question and a simple Google news review of stories about this movie spoils that. Sigh.

Anticipation: 7 / 10.

Black Christmas

Black Christmas official trailer

Reboot of the classic horror movie Black Christmas. Generally not a fan of horror reboots to date, but do enjoy Christmas themed horror movies, so a little mixed on what this one will bring. Trailer is just … OK.

Anticipation: 4 / 10

ANTICIPATION for Week of 12/12/19 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 12-12-2019 movies? Those marked with asterisk are not available in our area this week, so will carryover in future weeks until available to watch in our area.

  1. *Uncut Gems – 9/10
  2. *Bombshell – 8/10
  3. Richard Jewell  – 7/10
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level – 5/10
  5. Black Christmas – 4/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

As noted at the start of this post, Uncut Gems is not available until 12/24 and Bombshell 12/19, the other three are confirmed wide screenings available in our area and the plan is to watch, review and rate all.

FIRST LOOK: Jumanji: The Next Level

Several movies have been using Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” in the trailers lately. An iconic song featuring the blazing guitar work of the late, great Randy Rhoads.

Interestingly, both movies are family friendly, with the first being Jumanji: The Next Level and the second being Trolls World Tour (tentatively opening April 17, 2020).

If you’ve seen any movie in the theater recently, you’ve seen this is one trailer they’re heavily rotating. It looks to be checking off several boxes of mine: comedy, videogames, adventure.

The team is back for Jumanji: The Next Level

Until this writing, I hadn’t seen either of the first two Jumanji movies, so was went in search to see where I could watch at least one of them prior to this coming out. I like the basic concept of the movie for real people transporting inside a videogame.

JustWatch.com reported as of this writing that the original Jumanji is streaming on Amazon Prime, with Starz having the sequel: Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.

I watched, rated and reviewed Jumanji⭐️⭐️⭐️½. The original Jumanji starred Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst. The first one doesn’t use a videogame as a plot device, it is a board game that gets played with a very jungle consequences at each roll of the dice. Robin Williams was good and I’m reminded somewhat sadly that he’s no longer with us.

Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillian, Morgan Turner, Madison Iseman and others are returning from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to star in the third movie in the franchise.

Technically, there is another movie in the franchise, Zathura: A Space Adventure directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ Iron Man 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️½, The Mandalorian, etc), which takes place in the same fictional universe, but has no direct story connection to the other Jumanji movies.

Jumanji: The Next Level opens wide in theaters December 12, 2019.

Are you planning on seeing Jumanji: The Next Level in the theater, waiting for streaming or still undecided if you want to see it at all?