Surprise: The New Jumanji Movie Isn’t About a Magic Board Game
By Yohana Desta. Photos: Courtesy of Instagram, Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Treasure the Jumanji of yesteryear, because the updated film starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson will be nothing like the original. The reboot of the beloved 1995 film, which starred the late Robin Williams, has made a key change that shows how far society has come since those halcyon days, or something. Though the original film revolves around two kids tangling with a magical board game, the new Jumanji will be about teens playing a 90s video game console that sucks them into the action, per the Wrap.
The change was revealed during Sony Pictures’s presentation at CinemaCon on Monday. In the original, the board game is central to the plot, as the kids must continue playing it in order to reverse the chaos it causes. In the new film, a group of teens discover the console while bored in detention. In the new world of Jumanji, they play as avatars, portrayed by Johnson, Hart, Karen Gillian, and Jack Black—which explains the adult characters’ wonderfully cartoonish names (Dr. Smolder Bravestone and Ruby Roundhouse, anyone?).
As Johnson has previously explained (in a characteristically long, hashtag-laden Instagram caption), the new Jumanji is “NOT” a reboot of the 1995 film, “but rather a continuation of the awesome JUMANJI story.” He also included hashtags like #INeedSleepAndCARBS #ButIWillSettleForTequila in that missive, in case you were wondering. Even 31 weeks later, he is still the only person to ever use those hashtags. We will report more on this important story as it develops.
There had been rumblings of a Jumanji reboot as early as 2012, sparking some irritation in remake-weary audiences—irritation that later evolved into boiling outrage when Sony officially announced the revamp in August 2015, almost exactly one year after the death of Robin Williams.
Backlash was sparked anew when the first stills from the new film showed Gillan, the only lead female character, wearing a tight and revealing costume, despite the fact that the characters are out in the middle of a jungle. Plus, her male costars are well covered up. “There’s a really valid reason why she’s wearing that,” Gillan later explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “My character is really not happy about it!”
The anger over the new Jumanji has simmered down since then, likely thanks to its coterie of beloved stars and its total diversion from the original film. But it still hurts a touch that the board game couldn’t make the cut.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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