NO DICE

Swap­ping board game for con­sole, the new Ju­manji has some sur­prises in store

Empire (UK) - - PRE.VIEW - WORDS OWEN WIL­LIAMS

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.

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