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Jumanji: The Next Level

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Playful gender-bending within the context of a video-game alternate universe mingles with an unexpectedly somber message about approaching death in this follow-up to the 2017 original. Director Jake Kasdan, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg, has made, in spite of the sight gags about physical abilities and regenerated characters, a reflection on adult responsibilities, mortality and self-esteem. Dwayne Johnson and Karen Gillan are the most prominent of the avatars into whom the core cast of the kickoff (Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser'Darius Blain and Madison Iseman), among others, are transformed before embarking on a quest during which they take on the brutal leader (Rory McCann) of a violent empire. An old game, a familiar plot and eternal verities are a potent combination.

 

Watch out for: Intense action sequences, fleeting sexual references, three profanities, occasional crude language.

 

Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: PG-13

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019