Though “The Plot Against America” took its time to get going, it’s full steam ahead for David Simon’s Philip Roth adaptation by Episode 4 — but to what end? With just two episodes to go, the drama has certainly flared up: The Levin familial bonds are being pushed to the brink as Sandy falls increasingly under Lindbergh’s spell, with the help of Aunt Evelyn and her new boyfriend Rabbi Bengelsdorf. The lines have been drawn, and it’s not looking good for either side. While this was by far the most exciting episode so far, it still feels as though Simon is obligingly following Roth’s outline rather than forging his own path.
In both the novel and the series “The Plot Against America,” there’s an unmentioned but implicit rhetorical question reaching out from beyond the page and screen. To borrow from the musical “Cabaret,” one of the only pieces of pop culture to artfully grapple with this unthinkable dilemma: What would you do? If a fascist were elected president of your country, if your sister started dating one of his shills, if your son was secretly sketching his visage by flashlight — how would you behave? Would you flee to Canada, organize the resistance, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best?
The fourth episode hones in on these questions with laser-like precision, enjoying the fruits of the preceding three episodes that felt, both in retrospect and in real time, mostly like set-up. Having returned from his “Just Folks” adventure in Kentucky, a Hitler Youth-esque recruiting tool of Rabbi Bengelsdorf’s John Turturro design, Sandy has quite literally become the poster child for assimilationist Jews. Evelyn Winona Ryder proudly features him in a brochure for the program, against Bess’ Zoe Kazan wishes.
Sandy’s transformation has been building since the pilot episode, which ended with him surreptitiously sketching Charles Lindbergh from of a newspaper clipping. Having planted the seeds deliberately, the show earns its most uncomfortable moment so far when Sandy spits at his parents, calling them “ghetto Jews — narrow-minded ghetto Jews.” His transformation is complete. When Bess slaps him across the face, it’s hard not to let out a silent cheer. Your Jewish firstborn becoming a Nazi sympathizer may be the rare instance when a kid deserves a good wallop.
Less effective is a Shabbas dinner argument between Herman Morgan Spector and Bengelsdorf, where Herman puts aside any last shred of civility to tell the Rabbi what he really thinks of his man Lindbergh. Maybe it’s the fact that only the men are talking while the women make sidelong glances of...
It looks like Jumanji 4 is going to happen. Director Jake Kasdan has revealed that early development started on the sequel before the recent Hollywood shutdown that is expected to last at least a few more weeks, if not longer. Whenever things do return to some semblance of normalcy, it seems this movie is going to be on Sony's priority list.
Jake Kasdan was recently interviewed in honor of Jumanji: The Next Level hitting home video. During the conversation, the filmmaker who helmed both of the recent installments in the series, was asked about the seemingly inevitable fourth entry. Here's what Kasdan had to say about it.'We're just starting to talk about all of that, and the truth is we've barely started. We were just getting into the conversation before this global calamity and we will re-engage it as soon as everybody's settled. We all love working together and we've loved making these. To me, the thing that's always been most critical when talking about a sequel, first in the first movie and now in the possibility of another sequel is, it would have to be exciting on its own two feet in a way that's comparable to what the first two were for me. I would have to love the idea just as much. So I think there will be a third one and it's just the earliest days of trying to figure out what that would be.'
While things seem to be in the earliest days, it seems like Jake Kasdan is happy to return should the project get the green light. Kasdan also recently hinted that he expects the core cast to return, which includes Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart. The ending of The Next Level put some pieces in play that left the door wide open for Jumanji 4, while also changing up the formula that was the driving force behind the more recent movies.
At this point, it's hard to imagine a world in which this movie doesn't get made. The movie business is facing an uncertain future, but studios will be more motivated than ever to proceed with surefire bets. 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a massive blockbuster surprise, bringing in $962 million at the global box office. Last year's follow-up did similarly well, taking in $796 million. Both movies were, generally speaking, met with open arms by critics and audiences.
Taking all of that into account, this seems like a no-brainer. It could just come down to logistics. The main cast members are all very busy people, so scheduling is tricky. There's also the matter of sorting everything out once it's safe for studios to resume regular production schedules. It may be a while before that happens, but whenever it does, expect Sony to get back to work on this one. Jumanji: The Next Level is available now on Digital HD, Blu-ray/DVD and 4K Ultra HD. This news comes to us via Collider.