Swapping board game for console, the new Jumanji has some surprises in store
BANISH MEMORIES OF Robin Williams cavorting with CG rhinos, because Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle has fresh surprises in store. That mystical board game has become an 8-bit adventure game, its players are transforming, Tron-like, into adult avatars of themselves, and there are now movie stars galore. A lot can happen in 22 years.
Underpinning this new treatment is some slyly playful casting. “They’re all stylised character archetypes,” explains director Jake Kasdan of his quartet of unwitting jungle adventurers. Karen Gillan plays an all-action commando, Kevin Hart is a panicky zoologist and Dwayne Johnson — “the action hero of his generation, top of a list of one” according to Kasdan — is, well, a wimp. Oh, and Jack Black’s bombastic professor is the avatar of a vain female high-schooler (Madison Iseman). “It could have been a tricky high-wire act,” laughs Kasdan, “but it was clear from the first page at the table read that what Jack was doing was inspired.”
Providing shared DNA with the original is a “mysterious supernatural artefact”. Look out as well for a nod or two to Williams’ man-child, Alan Parrish. “We’ve acknowledged that character,” is the only hint Kasdan will offer. Four new big-name players have entered the game; they’re going to have their hands full with whatever mayhem lies in store.