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Light Wellness 101

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Jumanji - The Next Level !!INSTALL!!

Talk about how the cast of Jumanji: The Next Level must use teamwork, communication, empathy, and courage to conquer each level of the game and ultimately succeed in their mission? Why are those character strengths so important in the game, the movie, and in real life?

Jumanji - The Next Level

Like all good video games, this level is more difficult than the last. The production design by Bill Brzeski is stunning and thrillingly imaginative, while the stirring music from Henry Jackman suggests not just the best in video games but the most fondly remembered classic adventure films. Following the first movie's jungle adventure, this sequel takes them through the desert and to a castle on an icy mountaintop, with hold-your-breath perilous travels by dune buggy, rope bridge, and zeppelin. There's danger from snakes, ostriches, and boobytraps. There's also a new villain, a massive Hun-like conqueror named Jurgan the Brutal (Rory McCann). This level's goal is to capture a jewel that Jurgan stole from gentle indigenous farmers.

The fantasy of the avatars, with their assigned strengths and weaknesses, make it possible for the characters to become more honest with themselves and each other. As with the first film, the humor and excitement are nimbly balanced so it never gets too scary or silly, and the focus is more on friendship than romance. This time, there is a light touch of poignance as well that makes the message about friendship more meaningful. And like all good video games, there's a hint of yet another level at the end for those, like me, who are not yet ready to say Game Over.

Like its predecessors, Jumanji: The Next Level is a breezy, funny and enormously charming adventure romp. It might not be on the same level as Star Wars, but Jumanji has turned out to be a fantasy movie series that plays the game better than the rest.

The gang is back together in Jumanji: The Next Level, but the game has changed. There's a new world of Jumanji to explore in the upcoming movie release and the best way to brave the levels, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, is through an interactive AR experience on your own phone. took augmented reality to the next level so fans could take part in the adventure. With no app required, fans of the franchise directly engaged with the world of Jumanji and enjoyed the opportunity to discover exclusive animation and videos recorded by the cast that included Dwayne Johnson, Nick Jonas and Jack Black. The Web AR experience was also highlighted by press sites including AR Post, AP News, and Yahoo.

As they search for Spencer, the cast of video game characters, who are once more portrayed by Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Kevin Hart, are tasked with a new mission and a new level to defeat before they loose all three of their lives. While Jumanji: The Next Level may feature some of the same components that made Welcome to the Jungle so enjoyable, the film goes beyond its predecessor by exploring new concepts that pose some questions about the way the Jumanji universe operates.

Karen Gillan triumphs with a positive, winning performance despite the way the script and filmmakers treat the Ruby Roundhouse character. It's understood that her character is supposed to be an example of unnecessarily sexualized female video game characters, heroines like Lara Croft who explore dangerous places and fight bad guys all while wearing impractically skimpy clothing. Ruby engages in a lot of stunts and combat dressed in a crop top and short-shorts, putting Gillan on display. Showing off a little skin is something to be expected from major movies, but it seems inappropriate for Jumanji: The Next Level, a family film in which the young female characters are just as viable as warriors and adventurers as the male characters. Making things seem extra sleazy is how Gillan is filmed. There are plenty of shots of her bare midriff and rear end, with next to no comparable exploitative photography of musclebound co-star Dwayne Johnson. And for her first appearance onscreen in the film, the camera creepily and slowly pans up from Gillan's feet, past her legs, and torso to her face.

Awkwafina then takes her performance to, pardon the pun, the next level. In a scene that may open up a tear duct or two, the actress has to portray Eddie ending a feud with, and then saying goodbye forever to, his best friend, Milo... who happens to be inside of a horse avatar at the time. It takes some major acting talent to make that exchange not only not ridiculous, but moving.

There's a whole different level of Jumanji: The Next Level: a gentle satirization of video game conventions and cliches. The film is structured like a video game, arranged into different worlds and areas, including a desert, a seedy village, wooded mountains, and naturally, at the end, a remote and punishing castle. The funniest video game send-up in the film, the one thing that makes viewers realize how ridiculous and unrealistic video games can be, is Nigel Billingsley, an NPC or "non-player character" that serves as a guide to the characters. Comic actor Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows) is all in on his portrayal of the soulless, smiling, helpful Nigel as he moves the action along, urging characters to read instruction-giving letters out loud and congratulating the heroes on a job well done. And when he's in the scene but doesn't have a line, Darby quietly and perfectly stands on the periphery doing and saying absolutely nothing, just like a real (and off-putting) NPC.

From the point that our players re-enter the game, the film follows a somewhat expected, but not unwelcome, path. As our characters go level to level, trying to defeat a new challenge in the world of Jumanji, they are each dealing with their own challenges and personal relationships as they search for Spencer in the game.

The immediate speculation is the obvious one, that the game is now part of the real world in which our human heroes operate, so they will not be able to escape the dangers of Jumanji by defeating a level and going back home. The presence of the ostrich in the world of Spencer, Martha, Bethany and Fridge means that whatever the furnace repairman did, he unleashed chaos into our normal universe.

Is it more complicated than that? Not at the moment, according to Jumanji: The Next Level director and co-writer Jake Kasdan. When we asked him point blank if the final shots embedded into his end credits were meant to imply that in the next movie, the game essentially will be OUT of the game, he told us:

What are your thoughts on the ending of Jumanji: The Next Level? Did you think it was an intriguing set up for the next chapter? Or did the ending take things too far? Hit the comments section and share your opinions on Jumanji: The Next Level and its game-changing ending. 041b061a72


Light wellness is not a fad, nor a hoax. Light cannot change...
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