Jumanji was a 1995 family adventure film starring Robin Williams. But you knew that, right? You probably saw it 200 times during your childhood. You had it on DVD or maybe even VHS? Back in the before-times when you needed a “recording” of a movie and a “player” to watch it on. But we’re living in the 21st century now, where everything is newer and shinier and where all the old things are being remade.
JUMANJI 2: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is numerically a sequel, but it is, in fact, a reboot of the Jumanji concept. Quick reminder: Jumanji is the name of a children’s game that has mystical powers over the player. When you start playing you can’t stop until you reach the end and all the hazards and forfeits involve potentially lethal jungle animals. You don’t really play Jumani, you survive it. In 1995, it was a board game and now it’s a computer game.
JUMANJI 2 has a couple of clever additions to its original premise. We begin with a group of teens who are getting a detention that conveniently puts them in a room together, off on their own (just like THE BREAKFAST CLUB). The teens find an old computer game called Jumanji and are drawn into it with some weird science (just like TRON but not WEIRD SCIENCE). In the game, they become adult avatars and that gives them powers to act differently and to perceive the world in new ways. What a tool for self-improvement! And for being bad-ass in a deadly jungle setting.
The avatars are played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. The director is Jake Kasdan (WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY, BAD TEACHER) and the writer is Chris McKenna (episodes of television’s Community and American Dad). This looks like it could be a lot of fun. (Sidebar: Should Hollywood just remake a movie version of Herman’s Head already? Send your answers to the Internet.)
JUMANJI 2 is set for a December 2017 release. Enjoy the trailer.