Jumanji was one of the surprise hits of 1995, combining cutting-edge CGI special effects and the inestimable Robin Williams into a wonderfully adventurous whole. Not to mention that the core idea of a magical board game that begins to affect the real world is brilliantly imaginative. A sequel, Zathura, was released in 2005, though now it’s primarily known as the gig that proved to Marvel that Jon Favreau was the man to helm Iron Man and birth the MCU.
Now, the franchise is set to be rebooted with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. At CinemaCon 2017, Sony screened new footage from the film in addition to confirming some details about the plot. From what we understand, this new version inverts the premise of the original in that rather than elements from the board game wreaking havoc in the real world, the film shows people being sucked into the in-game jungle.
A further departure from the original is that the board game is replaced with a classic video game. A gang of students in detention find it, hook it up and begin playing. Before they know it they’ve been warped into the video game and become their characters – and are subsequently played by Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart and Jack Black. Reports say the footage screened had a couple of nods to the 1995 original, including a scene featuring a stampede of rhinos and various other wildlife nods that recall the zoological hijinks of the original.
Personally, I think this sounds like a great take on the property, hopefully with a number of references for fans of video game trivia (Karen Gillan’s costume is already a non-too-subtle take on Lara Croft). Plus, when has Dwayne Johnson ever not been eminently watchable?
We’ll presumably be seeing this footage ourselves before too long, as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is released on December 22nd, 2017.