Australian Council on Children and the Media

Jumanji: The Next Level

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Not suitable under 9, parental guidance 9 to 14 (Violence and sexual themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Jumanji: The Next Level
  • a review of Jumanji: The Next Level completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 17 December 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children aged 8 and under Not suitable due to violence and sexual themes.
Children aged 9–14 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and sexual themes.
Children over the age of 14 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Jumanji: The Next Level
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy violence, coarse language and crude humour
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jumanji: The Next Level continues with the characters established in the previous instalment; Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; where a group of teenagers were ‘sucked’ into a computer game and played as their chosen avatars to survive. Following this event, Spencer (Alex Wolff) has become bored with the real world and feels that he can’t live up to the prowess of his Jumanji avatar; Dr Bolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), particularly in order to maintain the affections of his girlfriend, Martha (Morgan Turner). Spencer then locates the partially damaged Jumanji game console and reinserts himself back into the game.

Worried about Spencer’s reclusive habits, his friends (and Jumanji confidants): Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain); Bethany (Madison Iseman) and Martha go to Spencer’s house. There, they are met with Spencer’s grandfather; Eddie (Danny Devito) and his friend; Milo (Danny Glover). Realising that Spencer has returned to Jumanji, the three friends decide to go in and save him. However, Eddie and Milo are also inadvertently sucked into the game as well. Although the same avatars exist in the game (Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon (Jack Black); Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart); Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan); Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough (Nick Jonas) and Dr Bolder Bravestone), the dysfunctionality of the console has mixed up which real life person is playing as which character in the game. The team then must find Spencer, retrieve the Falcon Jewel from the antagonist Jurgen (Rory McCann) and show it to the sun in order to win the game and return to the real world.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Friendship, teamwork, self-esteem, believing in yourself, reconciliation, growing old gracefully.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There are frequent and (suddenly unexpected) violent scenes in this movie. Examples include:

  • A giant snake suddenly bites Shelly from above, covering his head and shoulders, and snatches him up into the trees.
  • Marauders attack a village, beat people with clubs and set huts on fire.
  • Dr Bravestone is killed by a violent Ostrich peck and explodes and disintegrates.
  • There is a violent attack by a large group of Ostriches where they peck off the roof of the fleeing vehicle.
  • Several vicious hyena attacks.
  • The whole team are blown up by a bazooka bomb blast.
  • A woman slaps Dr Bravestone in the face.
  • Spencer (whilst in the avatar of a female) is hit and killed by a flying axe.
  • A fight scene where Dr Bravestone violently hits his enemies and they go flying through walls and are thrown about like rag dolls.
  • During a personal fight, Dr Bravestone violently hits Mouse, causing him to fly back into a rock formation. A large boulder then falls from above, crushing him.
  • The team come across a group of vicious Mandrills (monkeys). The first Mandrill suddenly appears with a close-up of violent growling and hissing – with open mouth, big teeth and drooling. During this scene, Ruby is violently grabbed, held above the Mandrill’s head and thrown into the valley from a massive height.
  • Jurgen threatens to cut off people’s heads whilst holding a huge knife.
  • Dr Bravestone violently hits Jurgen in the face several times.
  • Jurgen grabs Dr Bravestone by the neck and lifts him up off his feet.
  • In a fight scene where Ruby takes on a large number of enemies, she uses nunchucks (a martial arts weapon) to strike at heads and body parts.
  • Seaplane is hit with flying darts and dies several times during the same scene. One of these darts hits him in the neck and he explodes.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • It is conveyed in the movie that Jurgen killed someone’s parents. During this flashback, Jurgen is shown holding a large knife, with the parents cowering below.
  • Jurgen is shown feeding red meat to his savage hyenas – he then explains that the red meat was the man that used to look after the hyenas.
  • The animal attacks are particularly vicious, with aggressive growling and loud ‘intense’ music.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the above-mentioned scenes, particularly the meat eating scene, due to having a better understanding of the implications of mortality and perceiving the meat as being human.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • It is unlikely that children of this age would be scared by the above-mentioned scenes. However, some may be startled by the sudden and unexpected nature of some scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Initial scenes show Spencer working in a supermarket, thus many products can be seen in the background. It is likely that the oral hygiene products would be noticed more as the store manager specifically mentions the word “toothpaste”. Products during this scene include: Crest Toothpaste and Oral B.
  • Nutter Butter
  • NYU.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Open mouthed kissing between Dr Bravestone and a game character
  • After kissing a game character, Dr Bravestone suggestively says, “I’ve got a clue for her!”
  • Fridge swaps avatars and becomes the female, Ruby. He marvels at how good the avatar is, citing that she has, “Boobs”, and uses his hand to present them (through clothing). When the character who used to be Ruby says, “Don’t touch my boobs”, he replies, “Too late, it was pretty much the first thing I did”.
  • A character says, “Go screw yourself”
  • When a character becomes a horse avatar in the game, the team member says, “You should see the size of your….”, before the scene cuts away.
  • In a scene where 2 male characters are posing as brothers, it is indicated that one of the brothers is a eunuch. During this discussion, the word, “Balls”, is used several times, including, “Right, I’ve got no balls”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Ruby’s outfit reveals a lot of skin (little shorts, small crop top revealing stomach and torso).

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • God Damn
  • Shut the front door
  • What the hell
  • No Shit
  • Pain in the ass
  • I’m gonna whoop your ass
  • Pissed off
  • Balls (referring to testicles)
  • Holy Shit.

In a nutshell

Jumanji: The Next Level is about overcoming negative perceptions and reconciling with yourself and others. The beginning of the movie presents Spencer as being depressed and isolating himself from others. This is due to the false belief that he doesn’t live up to the expectations of this girlfriend, Martha, who he coupled with whilst he was his avatar – Dr Bravestone – in the previous movie. When he reunites with Martha in the game, she communicates that this isn’t true at all and she still wants to be together with him. Similarly, Spencer’s Grandfather, Eddie, had a falling out with his close friend, Milo, years ago that was never resolved. Whilst in the game, they work out their differences and discover that the problems were trivial and not worth a lifetime of resentment. Suitable for families with older children.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Perception – looking at things positively; seeing things as they truly are and not being misled by false, negative thoughts.
  • Reconciliation.
  • Growing old gracefully and realising that not everyone is afforded the same gift.
  • Self-Esteem and believing in yourself.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Communicating to others what you think and how you feel. Spencer was depressed because he had a false perception about himself. He then isolated himself from others, likely making himself feel worse. When he communicated this to Martha, he found that his beliefs were not true.
  • Friendship and community. The characters were only able to survive by helping each other. In an ever-growing individualistic society, it is important for children to understand that there is much value in supporting others and investing time and effort into long-term gains. The characters’ bond in this movie was strengthened by the trial they went through together.

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Taking risks. Spencer took a risk by entering the game on his own and not telling anyone. Parents could use this example of the potential danger in taking risks and that you should always let your parents know where you’re going. Furthermore, Ruby also charged into a game area prematurely, without considering the potential dangers, when she could have used the expertise and knowledge of the other team members.
  • Animal education. Animals in this movie are portrayed as things that viciously attack. For younger children particularly, parents could educate their children about the differences between wild and domesticated animals and that whilst caution should be taken with unfamiliar and wild animals that many domesticated animals are non-threatening.
  • Respecting women. The movie does a pretty good job with this already. Ruby is the most articulate fighter in the movie and the group hold no misperceptions about her capabilities and worth as a team member.
  • Online safety. The real-life characters in this film swap avatars at times. Whilst this may cause some confusion for younger children, older children may view swapping avatars (or online identities) as fun – as you can ‘be’ someone else without anyone knowing who you are. This could lead parents into addressing online predators as they often present themselves as young children or teenagers for grooming. Parents could use Jumanji as an example of how easy it is to create a false avatar and present yourself however you like to others.

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