Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, "Jumanji: The Next Level" catches up with Spencer (Wolff), Fridge (Blain), Martha (Turner) and Bethany (Iseman) three years after their first adventure in Jumanji's mystical video game world. When Spencer goes missing inside the game ahead of the group's planned reunion from college, his friends, along with his grandfather (DeVito) and his grandfather's friend (Glover), once again inhabit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Johnson), "Moose" Finbar (Hart), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan) to rescue him. As they return to Jumanji, they discover that nothing is as they expect. (Gary Reber)
Special features include a gag reel (HD 05:21); 13 featurettes:, "Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character" (HD 05:30), "Back Together: Reuniting The Cast" (HD 04:05), "Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level" (HD 13:33), "Scene Breakdown: Ostrich Chase" (HD 05:40), "Scene Breakdown: Mandrill Bridges" (HD 06:45), "Phys Darby Wants To Jingle" (HD 02:22), "Awkwafina Cat Burgler" (HD 01:43), "NPC Confessions: Jurgen The Brutal" (HD 03:06), "Grow Up" (HD 01:06), "Telenovela" (HD 01:07), "Trick Or Treat" (HD 01:16), "VFX Pre-Vis: Zeppelin Battle" (HD 04:54) and "VFX Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase" (HD 04:28); an AR Game; upfront previews; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.
The 2.39:1 IMAX Enhanced 2160p HEVC/H.265 UltraHD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini camera system and sourced from a 2K (not 4K) master Digital Intermediate format. As the 2K Digital Intermediate has been upconverted to 2160p, there is no real gain in native resolution. While released theatrically in 3D with conversion by DNEG, no 3D Blu-ray Disc was provided for review. The picture exhibits a crisp appearance throughout with numerous stylized settings such as panoramic jungle vistas, a Turkish bazaar, a cave and hut. The nuanced wide color palette is superbly saturated with a very nuanced spectrum of hues. Colors pop spectacularly in every environment and setting with vivid production design and spatial dimensionality. Natural greenery and browns are earthy in hue. The safari-inspired attire displays earthy colors such as greens and beiges. Fleshtones retain naturalness throughout. Resolution is excellent and delivers sharp and pristine imagery in facial features, skin pores, hair, beards, costumes, vegetation and object texture. HDR contrast is excellent throughout with deep blacks, excellent shadow delineation, and bright highlights as exhibited in natural sunlight and set lighting. WOW! segments are from 17:28 to 21:46, 34:05 to 28:02, 01:06:08 to 01:12:40, 01:31:50 to 0:35:38 and 01:42:30 to 01:43:48. This is a terrific-looking picture that is colorful with unusual environments and character renderings that should please fans of the franchise. (Gary Reber)
The IMAX Enhanced DTS:X/DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is enveloping throughout the soundfield. Sonics are aggressive during action scenes with panned and directionalized surround energy that extends discretely to every channel. Sound effects are relentless, including all manner of sonic frenzy. Deep bass is at times exciting and powerful, extending to sub-25 Hz in the .1 LFE channel, as with the stampeding flock of birds. The orchestral score is dynamic sounding and occupies a wide and deep soundstage that envelops the soundfield with extension to the surrounds. However, the music, while enveloping, generally lacks a strong bass foundation. Dialogue is intelligible throughout, though, largely ADR produced.
The Immersive Sound element is comprised of the orchestral/choral score extended to the height layer. As well, various atmospherics and sound effects receive the treatment, such as thunder and rain, swoop sounds, a bell-type sound, rattling sounds, a prop plane flyover, bird squawks, bangs and pounds, subtle wind, an explosion, a clinking sound failing from the sky, a baboon growl and other minor sounds. These sounds are quite spread out. If it wasn't for the extension of the music, this would be a failed effort, with not much to the height layer.
Still, the ear-level soundfield delivers compelling excitement with an aggressive enveloping presence that is well crafted, for a sonic experience that will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)