March 28, 2017


'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' Is About a Video Game & Body-Swapping

TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

We're been on seriously crackly eggshells waiting to see how much the newly titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will stick to the 1995 original and how much it'll do its own thing. Today a bunch of those shells are getting flattened, for better or for worse, with the news that the sequel-not-remake is actually about a video game now rather than an aged, mysterious board game. Sony's CinemaCon panel on Monday night screened some footage, and The Hollywood Reporter broke it down. The sneak peek opened on four teenagers serving detention. Then...

"Their teacher orders them to clean out the basement of the school, and they find an old video game console, which features the game Jumanji. You pick a character, and as the teens learn you are that person in the game...which transports you to a jungle. One rather nerdy boy is surprised (and rather pleased) to see he's got the muscles of The Rock. The popular girl in school is horrified to learn she's got the body of Jack Black."

Jumanji originates from a 1981 children's book about a magical board game. Even in the sci-fi sequel Zathura, it's a board game. And yet, says Freaks and Geeks and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story director Jake Kasdan (via Deadline):

Jumanji is the kind of movie that I think people shouldn’t out-and-out remake. To me, a big part of its power is in the unique elements of its original execution. ... It really holds up. You go back and watch it—it’s a very unusual and original kid’s movie. It’s unusually scary and magical, in a way that’s different from a lot of other magical kid’s movies.”

Producer Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man) says the film is inspired by how “the walls between our reality and entertainment are becoming virtually transparent or invisible," and plays with the appeal of leaving behind the world's "troubles and anxieties" to fully enter a game.

Next, watch a New York Comic Con rookie and veteran try to make their way through the convention together: