Jumanji: The Next Level Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

In this follow up to 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji and, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game in order to bring him home. But the game is now broken — and fighting back. Ralph Potts reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray Release of Jumanji: The Next Level from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

94


Details:

Studio and Year: Sony Pictures – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 123 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC @
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio, French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Awkwafina, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Alex Wolff
Directed by: Jake Kasdan
Music by: Henry Jackman
Written by: Jake Kasdan, Scott Rosenberg, Jeff Pinkner
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 17, 2020

“Next Level”

Synopsis:

“When Spencer goes back into the fantastical world of Jumanji, pals Martha, Fridge and Bethany re-enter the game to bring him home. But the game is now broken — and fighting back.” – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

My Take:

Jumanji: The Next Level reunites the four teenagers who survived the trials of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as they return home to Brantford, New Hampshire from their respective colleges for the holiday break. Now college students, they’re trying to navigate the next level in their individual lives. When Spencer goes missing inside the game ahead of the group’s planned reunion, his friends, along with his grandfather (Danny DeVito) and his grandfather’s friend (Danny Glover), once again inhabit the avatars of Dr. Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), “Mouse” Finbar (Kevin Hart), Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan) to rescue him.

But the game is broken, and is fighting back. Everything they know about Jumanji is about to change, as they discover that there’s more to it than just a jungle; it’s bigger, more dangerous, and has more thrilling obstacles to overcome. This means that anything can happen so expect the unexpected!

I will start off this review with some of my comments from my review of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle:

I am a big fan of the original Jumanji, starring the late great Robin Williams, which is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. When I first saw the trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle I was initially put off by the idea of a sequel, but, the trailer looked quite good, and the cast, even more intriguing. Unfortunately, I never got out to see it in the theater, but, heard lots of good reports from friends that had. It arrived the day before street date, and I sat down with my wife to watch it. Yeah, it was worth the wait.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle brings the story up to date, effectively picking up, at the same time frame, as the original ends, then fast forwarding to today. Once game play starts, rather than its elements being brought into this world, the players, like Alan Parrish, are drawn into Jumanji’s world, where we get to see what it must have been like for Alan, including his old shelter. I thought that, among a few other similar things, that were tossed in, was a nice touch, that didn’t feel forced.

Jumanji: The Next Level has much the same feel as the original, as the characters return to the game for more adventure and a few little twists that they clearly didn’t expect. Like the first movie the plot works across the board as the archetypes serving the characters are spot on, and the elements of action, adventure, and humor, work hand in hand, delivering rousing, good natured, fun poking, and well-balanced comedy that doesn’t attempt to reach beyond its limits.

Once again, I really enjoyed the performances by the four primary cast members in Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart and Jack Black, each of whom adds an enriching, and at times hilarious element to the proceedings. Watching Hart and Johnson in their interpretations of Danny DeVito and Danny Glover’s characters is priceless. I could watch Jack Black’s take on the social media teen queen, Bethany, anytime. I am fast becoming a big Awkwafina fan and thought that she added just the right touch to the cast and film here.

The action is fun and the production elements are solid. I found Jumanji: The Next Level to be every bit as entertaining as its predecessor, which in my book, is paying it a very big compliment. All in all, two hours that were well spent.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for adventure action, suggestive content and some language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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DTS:X Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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Jumanji: The Next Level comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS:X/7.1 Master Audio sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Jumanji: The Next Level was derived from a 3.4K source, rendered from a 2K DI, and up-converted to 4K. The 1080p transfer for Jumanji: The Next Level looks great and this Ultra HD rendering takes it up a notch with a discernible increase in detail, emboldened contrast, and a noticeably sharper image. The film has a multitude of sequences containing streaming/cascading light, and mixed light dark elements, that simply look terrific. On occasion this can be a somewhat darkish film, and its low-level sequences had excellent depth and dimension.

Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue, red, and green appearing richer, even a bit more delineated. Secondary hues look great as well, especially in the sequences that take place in Brantford. The use of HDR was on the reserved side for the most part. On occasion there was use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements, such as the scene where Bravestone takes on the multitude of hoods in the village followed by the decimating rocket launcher explosion. The use of shadows mixed with light looked very natural (the scenes that take place in Jurgen the Brutal’s keep for example). The sun splashed sequences in the desert benefitted from the HDR application, appearing vibrant and visually engaging.

Resolution received a boost although the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings aren’t quite night and day. Close-ups tend to look amazing, with resolvable texture visible in the various interior/exterior sets, physical features, and CGI backgrounds being quite obvious. Having not seen this film’s theatrical presentation, I can’t be certain but, I believe that what we are seeing is a faithful rendering of the film’s elements. Jumanji: The Next Level in Ultra HD presents extremely well and is the best way to experience the film on home video.

DTS:X:

Jumanji: The Next Level has a very solid 5.1 channel surround mix on Blu-ray, so I wondered how much the immersive experience would improve upon it. In listening to the DTS:X surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects, and music. This is applied in an enriching and complimentary fashion, creating a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field (the ostrich encounter in the desert!).

This continues with the film’s action-based sequences as they convey the breadth/expanse of exterior venues, which bristle with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects. The extended battle with the Mandrills on the rope bridges is one of the presentation’s highlights, containing a host of sounds that utilize the entire platform, creating an immersive and fun listening experience.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Jumanji: The Next Level comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.

This film looks great on Blu-ray and features excellent video quality that exhibits high level detail, stable sharpness and revealing definition. Close ups are noticeably refined and revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid-level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. When called for, colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the spectrum of secondary hues. Contrast is boldly applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and drives brightly lit scenes without whitewashing detail. Blacks are gradational and deep which emboldens sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure that enhances depth perception. This is a solid presentation that looked terrific on my big screen.

The 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does a great job presenting the track’s recorded elements. This soundtrack runs the gamut between passages of spoken dialog and music to engaging sequences that deliver enriching surround sound. Dialog rendering is terrific as it holds sway over the front soundstage. Dynamic range is excellent as the active elements within the surround mix resound with superior clarity and palpable deep bass transients. The music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and is wonderfully transparent and three dimensional. Clarity is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of envelopment that is appreciably involving as effects are seamlessly blended to create a stable and detail rich sound field. I had a great time with this soundtrack and appreciated the attention to detail that went into its design.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Jumanji: The Next Level Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Jumanji: The Next Level Blu-ray
    • Gag Reel
    • “Rhys Darby Wants To Jingle”: How do you top Jack Black and Nick Jonas’s unforgettable theme song for the first one? Everyone’s favorite Non Player Character, Rhys Darby is ready to take it to the next, next level.
    • “Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character”: “In the latest Jumanji adventure, the avatar roles are turned on their heads with new characters and hilarious performances.”
    • “Back Together: Reuniting the Cast”: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black are back and better than ever as they share their excitement to reunite.
    • “Level Up: Making Jumanji: The Next Level”: From breathtaking scenery, wild adventure, new characters and more- go behind the scenes with the cast and crew as they take Jumanji to the Next Level.
    • “Scene Breakdown: Ostrich Chase”: Jump in your dune buggy and go inside the epic ostrich chase scene as the filmmakers and visual effects team breakdown the creation of this memorable scene.
    • “Scene Breakdown: Mandrill Bridges”: Moving rope bridges, giant mandrills and incredible stunt work make the mandrills attack one of the most adrenaline pack parts of this film. In this scene breakdown, see how they pulled it off.
    • “Awkwafina Cat Burglar”: To prepare for her roles as pick pocket, Ming Fleetwood, superstar Awkwafina got a little too method behind the scenes.
    • “NPC Confessions: Jurgen The Brutal”: Being the bad guy isn’t all glory. Jurgen The Brutal gets real in this candid confessional.
    • “Grow Up:” Danny DeVito and Danny Glover help Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart get in touch with their inner grumpy old men.
    • “Telenovela”: Kevin Hart gets lost in translation in this melodramatic promo.
    • “VFX Pre-Vis: Zeppelin Battle”: Compare the detail of the visual effects pre visualization reel and the final picture breakdown of the thrilling Zeppelin battle.
    • “VFX Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase”: Track the progression from pre-visualization to finished scene in a side by side comparison of the ostrich chase.
    • AR GAME: The 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD include a collectable map that is fully interactive, employing Augmented Reality to bring Jumanji to life through a smart phone, allowing users to create their own 8-bit Avatar, navigate a series of mini games and much more!
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg Jumanji: The Next Level is a successful and entertaining follow up to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. It comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack featuring sparkling Ultra HD video, engaging lossless sound, including a well-crafted Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a fan friendly assortment of extras, plus a fully interactive augmented reality game experience via smart phone. Like its predecessor Jumanji: The Next Level is a great bit of escapism that has found a place in my video library. I look forward to revisiting it!

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems


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