It is a universally acknowledged truth—at least by major studio heads—that any successful film reboot must be in want of a sequel. Such is the case for 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a reboot of the original 1995 film starring the late Robin Williams. The first trailer for Jumanji: The Next Level dropped this morning, and initially it looks like it might recapture some of the clever charm of its predecessor.
In the original Jumanji, a young boy in 1969 finds a supernatural board game and begins to play with his neighbor, Sarah. The game unleashes actual jungle hazards into the real world, and the only way to make it go away is to face down your fear and finish the game. Of course, this proves complicated: Alan gets sucked into the game and a panicked Sarah stops playing, leaving it to two young orphans in 1995 to finish the game he and Sarah started 26 years before.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle updated the concept, turning the board game into a video game. In 1996, a disaffected teen named Alex is given the board game by his father, who found it on a beach. He’s not into old school board games, so the game transforms into a video game cartridge. Alex, like Alan before him, also gets sucked into the game for 20 years until four high school students discover the game while serving detention. It was a clever twist, with the teens taking on avatars—a source of much of the film’s humor—tackling the various levels of the game, hoping to finish before losing all their allotted three lives.
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