Jumanji (2 Movie Collection) (4K UHD & Blu-ray 3D Review)
2017/2019 (September 1, 2021)
Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures (Random Space Media)
- Film/Program Grade: See Below
- Video Grade: See Below
- Audio Grade: See Below
- Extras Grade: C+
- Overall Grade: A-
[Editor’s Note: This is a Region Free Australian import.]
Though 1995’s Jumanji was a major success at the box office and on home video, there wasn’t much in the way of a franchise. An animated TV series was produced, but a sequel wasn’t made until 22 years later. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle got the biggest issue for modern audiences—watching a group of people play a board game—out of the way in the opening scene. A teenager who receives the game says “Who plays board games anymore?” and sets it aside. The game then magically transforms itself into a video game, trapping him inside of it, which is where the story begins.
Four other teenagers—Spencer (Alex Wolff), “Fridge” (Ser’Darius Blain), Bethany (Madison Iseman), and Martha (Morgan Turner)—are in detention where they find the game and are subsequently sucked into it. As such, they inhabit avatars of the characters in the game. Spencer is Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Fridge is Mouse (Kevin Hart), Bethany is Professor Sheldon (Jack Black), and Martha is Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). The game takes place in an oversized jungle where the main villain, Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale), steals a magical jewel known as the Jaguar’s Eye, which brings a curse upon the land Jumanji. The game’s guide, Nigel (Rhys Darby), informs the group that they must retrieve the jewel and put it back in its shrine to lift the curse and finish the game. They each have three lives, and if they lose all three, it’s game over for real. Despite their differences, they learn to work together as a team and utilize their strengths and weaknesses in order to defeat Van Pelt, win Jumanji, and get back to reality.
Helmed by Jake Kasdan, Welcome to the Jungle is surprisingly well-made and effective popcorn entertainment. It’s simple and straightforward with its story, rarely deviating, with a plot that’s set up and paid off well, featuring enjoyable set pieces and characters that are not only likable, but manage to grow over the course of the film. The film is also structured well enough. Despite taking place in a video game and the characters potentially being able to do whatever they want, there are consequences to their actions, raising the stakes and giving the story a firm foothold. The only drawback is that the villain is not that interesting, but it’s more about the world and how it impacts the characters, more so than the game’s plot. The characters are a little thinly-drawn in that they’re stereotypes of one sort or another, but merely in a The Breakfast Club kind of way. They’re not that complex but have enough to them to make them believable and appealing. And although this is an obvious attempt at a studio trying to resurrect a dead intellectual property, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle turned out well and is quite enjoyable.
The sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level, was also successful at the box office when it was released in 2019. It brought back the exact same cast and crew, who were more than game for another adventure (no pun intended).
The story takes place two years later. The video game has been purportedly destroyed and the same group have all been away at college. They come home for the holidays, only to discover that Spencer is missing. Spencer, who has been feeling inadequate in the real world, accidentally winds up back in Jumanji, and it’s up to his friends to go back in and rescue him. Along for the ride is Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie (Danny DeVito), and Eddie’s former business partner, Milo (Danny Glover), who are inadvertently sucked into the game as well. This time, however, they all find themselves inhabiting different avatars, which proves to be reckless with Milo and Eddie involved since they don’t understand what’s happening. Nigel returns to tell them that Jumanji is once again in great peril. The land is in a drought after the villain Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann) stole the necklace known as the Falcon Heart, clouding the lands from sunlight. Their search for the necklace leads them straight to Spencer, who’s inhabiting the avatar of Ming Fleetfoot (Awkwafina), a thief attempting to lift the necklace from Jurgen. Once again, they must all work together in order retrieve the necklace, defeat Jurgen, save Jumanji, and return to reality.
The main draw of Jumanji: The Next Level is seeing all of these characters together again, even if the setup for the story is not as clever. While there’s appreciation for doing something a little different instead of simply repeating the first film verbatim, the results aren’t as successful. The main problem is that there was little to no growth leftover for the four main characters at the end of the first film, so there’s not much that can be done with them. Instead, the story shifts it’s emotional focus to Milo and Eddie, who have been at odds with each other for many years. Some of the humor has been improved, especially from Kevin Hart who steals the show doing a Danny Glover impression, but there’s a bit too much repetition, particularly with the old people jokes. The film also plays faster and looser with the rules of Jumanji, and there’s a few too many conveniences that feel contrived, especially the discovered ability to trade avatars at a crucial moment in the story. Things can also get confusing when characters pretending to be other characters pretend to be other characters. That said, The Next Level still has some fun set pieces, including the mandrill bridge sequence, and the addition of Awkwafina is icing on the cake. Minor flaws aside, it’s great to have another adventure with these characters.
Random Space Media has put together a very nice package of these two Jumanji films, which is a 6-Disc combo pack on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D, and Blu-ray.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was captured by cinematographer Gyula Pados digitally in the ARRIRAW (3.4K) codec using Arri Alexa Mini and XT cameras and Cooke S4 and Angenieux zoom lenses, and finished as as 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Random Space Media’s 4K Ultra HD presentation is upsampled from the 2K DI and graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are available). It’s an excellent presentation with nice textures and visual eccentricities, including tiny bits of dust and hair floating in the air. The real world’s detail and color palette are both stark with less dimension, but the video game-based environments are often outstanding with wide open vistas and a variety of hues. The HDR10 grade certainly widens the gamut, but the Dolby Vision handles some of the finer nuances in the costumes and environments a little better. There’s strong detailing on clothing with excellent facial textures and deep, velvety blacks. Shadows and darker areas of the frame are also richer in the video-game based environments, especially at night. Distant background objects are a tad soft, but the majority of the presentation is quite pleasant.
The 3D presentation, which is post-converted, isn’t totally immersive, but it never appears out of register. The depth in the visuals is lacking and there aren’t any moments of anything jutting at the camera, much less flying past it. So it’s a bit flat in that regard, but the one thing that it does well is help blend some of the dodgier CGI elements a little better.
Audio is included on the 4K UHD in English Dolby Atmos (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible). Other options include English Audio Descriptive Service; Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Spanish, Thai, and Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital; and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The Atmos track is powerful with dynamic staging and aggressive surround activity, which includes the overheads. Low end activity is potent during big action moments and there’s careful placement all around the soundstage, including the quieter ambient moments. It’s reference quality. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Malaysian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese.
Audio is included on the Blu-ray 3D in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Other options include English Audio Descriptive Service, and Italian and Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The 5.1 track offers plenty of immersion and bombasity, including strong low frequency activity, as well as nice panning and placement. The Guns N’ Roses song during the end credits plays a little flat, and the overall track is not nearly as powerful as the Atmos track on the UHD, but it’s still a serviceable surround experience. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Italian, and Spanish.
Audio is included on the Blu-ray in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which is identical to the Blu-ray 3-D. Other options include English Audio Descriptive Service; Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital; and Italian and Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, and Turkish.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Video/Audio (UHD): A/A+
Video/Audio (BD3D): B/A-
Video/Audio (BD): A-/A-
Jumanji: The Next Level was captured by cinematographer Gyula Pados digitally in the ARRIRAW (3.4K) codec using Arri Alexa Mini and XT cameras and Panavision T-Series lenses, and finished as as 2K Digital Intermediate at the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Random Space Media’s 4K Ultra HD presentation is upsampled from the 2K DI and graded for high dynamic range (HDR10 is the only option). It’s another quality presentation that, despite the lack of Dolby Vision, excels when it comes to shadow detail and color. It’s incredibly rich with fine texturing, in both the real world and in the video game-based environments. Both the desert and jungle landscapes are abundant with deep textures, while Spencer’s basement offers multiple layers of shadows and shafts of light. The gamut is wide open compared to the Blu-ray, improving upon brightness and blacks, the latter of which are deep and velvety. One can’t help but wonder how much more Dolby Vision would push the finer nuances of this presentation, but it’s quite stunning without it.
The 3D presentation, which is also post-converted, is more immersive than the first film with more depth to the image, even in some of the non-action oriented scenes. Also like the first film, there isn’t much in the way of objects flying at or past the camera, but cinematography definitely allows the presentation to have more of a three dimensional impact.
Audio is included on the 4K UHD in English DTS:X Master Audio, with additional options in English and French Audio Descriptive Service; and French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The DTS:X track is just as powerful as its Atmos predecessor in nearly every category with window-rattling low end and terrific staging, especially for the overheads. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible, as to be expected, and all of the action-oriented moments are staged perfectly all around the space. It’s quite powerful. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Dutch (Flemish), Dutch (Nederlands), and French.
Audio is included on the Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Other audio options include English Audio Descriptive Service; Czech, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Polish, Tamil, and Telugu 5.1 Dolby Digital. Like its predecessor, it offers excellent placement, panning, and strong LFE. It’s obviously not nearly as powerful as the DTS:X track on the UHD, but it’s nevertheless potent as a surround experience. Subtitle options include English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, and Turkish.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
Video/Audio (UHD): A/A+
Video/Audio (BD3D): B+/A-
Video/Audio (BD): A-/A-
The following extras are included on each disc:
DISC ONE: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (UHD)
DISC TWO: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (BD3D)
DISC THREE: JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (BD)
- Gag Reel (2:25)
- Journey Through the Jungle: The Making of Jumanji (14:54)
- Meet the Players: The Heroic Cast (7:08)
- Surviving the Jungle: Spectacular Stunts! (5:47)
- Attack of the Rhinos! (3:56)
- Book to Board Game to Big Screen & Beyond! Celebrating the Legacy of Jumanji (4:44)
- Jumanji, Jumanji Music Video (3:35)
DISC FOUR: JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (UHD)
DISC FIVE: JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (BD3D)
DISC SIX: JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL (BD)
- Gag Reel (5:21)
- Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character (5:30)
- Back Together: Reuniting the Cast (4:05)
- Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level (13:33)
- Creating the Scene: Ostrich Chase (5:40)
- Creating the Scene: Mandrill Bridge (6:45)
- Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle (2:22)
- Awkwafina Cat Burglar (1:43)
- NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal (3:06)
- Grow Up (1:06)
- Telenovela (1:07)
- Select Scene Pre-Vis: Zeppelin Battle (4:54)
- Select Scene Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase (4:28)
Most of the extras are made up of glossy, EPK-style material, but there are a few enjoyable surprises to be had as well. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, a couple of outtakes among the various featurettes, and a few humorous moments, including Awkwafina stealing various items from the cast and crew, and Danny DeVito and Danny Glover teaching Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart how to be old. There are also glimpses of storyboards and pre-visualizations, but unfortunately, no deleted scenes or audio commentaries. Most of the main cast and crew are interviewed and they’re very supportive of the film. The less than 15-minute making ofs are the most educational, as brief as they are, but it’s clear that everyone had a great time making these films, and that really comes across in these extras. One hopes for something more in depth sometime down the road, possibly when the third film is eventually made and released.
For anyone wanting the total sensory experience when it comes to the Jumanji sequels, this is the best package overall. It has every possible way to experience the film on home video, as well as all of the available extras. It’s definitely worth picking up if you don’t already own these films.
– Tim Salmons