It’s a spectacular week on the small screen, with eye-popping new adventures from Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham plus Hugh Jackman’s musical extravaganza The Greatest Showman. Prepare to be wowed.
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JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
The budget-busting cast of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas return alongside newcomers Danny DeVito, Danny Glover and Awkwafina for this blockbusting sequel to the 2017 family hit. The plot? Three years after the gang’s last adventure within the magical video game they find themselves drawn back into its alternate reality - a world now even stranger than before.
The plot, of course, is less important than the fun on-screen and THE NEXT LEVEL has entertainment in droves. This is a packed two hours of weird creatures and wonderful landscapes - from ostriches to monkeys, from mountains to dunes - all played at a breathless pace. No wonder kids love it. And if its gags you want then the little and large chemistry between Hart and Johnson is even more chucklesome than in the last film. “This team, forever” the friends agree at the end of their adventure and with another film already planned in the franchise, it’s hard to disagree.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL [12A] is on Sky Cinema and Now TV
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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
The musical phenomenon lands on what feels like its spiritual home of Disney+ and the timing couldn’t be better. If ever someone could save 2020 it’s Hugh Jackman and his band of vivacious outsiders. The story of THE GREATEST SHOWMAN was already well known, with Hugh as the nineteenth-century circus impresario PT Barnum, full of plans to entertain the world. It was the film’s record-breaking success, however, that came as a surprise.
Why was THE GREATEST SHOWMAN such a hit? So many reasons. The songs by La La Land’s Pasek & Paul are instant earworms and the visuals by director Michael Gracey are electrifying. The performances too - especially from Hugh and Michelle Williams (as his wife Charity) - are full of charisma. Perhaps ultimately though it’s the film’s celebration of inclusivity and togetherness that really sticks in your head. Maybe Barnum wasn’t like that in real life but ‘real-life’ is the last thing this wants to be. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is escapism at its most melodic.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN [PG] is on Disney+
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From Jaws to Deep Blue Sea and with a hundred rip-offs in-between, sharks have long been fishy fodder for Hollywood action movies. So what makes THE MEG any different? Well the aquatic killer in question this time is no simple Great White but rather a Megaladon - a giant dinosaur shark long thought extinct. And who better to save the day than stubble-jawed hardman Jason Statham as rescue diver Jonas Taylor. When it comes to Sealife vs The Stath, I know who my money’s on.
It’s the perfect role for Jason, not just because he’s a former Commonwealth Games diver himself but also because THE MEG frequently has a cheeky glint in its eye - a mood Statham’s perfected in The Expendables and Fast & Furious films. While there’s actually room for a bit more silliness (which perhaps we’ll get in the inevitable sequel), THE MEG works because it both never takes itself too seriously yet also delivers solidly on the serious action. Meg-a.
THE MEG  is on Amazon Prime Video