If you’ve been on the internet for more than five minutes today, you’ve probably seen a few of the following pieces of
respectable journalism clickbait scroll across your screen: “The New ‘Jumanji’ Has One Huge Difference And Fans Are Super Upset About It”, “The New ‘Jumanji’ Movie Isn’t About ‘Jumanji'”, and my personal favorite: “We Thought The Rock Could Do No Wrong, Then He Gave Jumanji a Modern-Day Twist”
I’ve got a few words to sum up my feelings about these headlines. First of all, fuck all of that noise and the writers who shat it out onto your respective imaginary plates. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy dose of nostalgia, but the bloggers who pooped this nonsense out of their bacteria-sized brains are merely dishing out half-assed takes on Jumanji’s changes to get clicks and ad revenue, not to actually fucking inform you (let’s say, I dunno, by writing) about the movie.
Hold your nose folks, ’cause here comes the deep water. You ready? Alright: Jumanji’s reboot is about the main characters getting sucked into a video game – not a board game. And if you believe anything written by the dipshits I’m quoting above, then this is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you, the Jumanji franchise, or cinema in general. Now without further ado:
Jumanji’s reboot featuring a possessed video game instead of a board game should neither bother nor surprise you. It’s 2017, and although I LOVE tabletop games (I’ve dedicated four hours of my life every Monday for the last two years to explore tabletop games with the same group of pals), a group of kids digging up a haunted game board in 2017 is about as likely as a group of kids actually going outside in 2017. What’s more relatable: a group of teenagers who head to a Mom ‘n Pop electronics shop to pick up a retro game cartridge, or a group of teenagers exploring in the woods who trip over a board game that was sent downriver by the leads of the first Jumanji? Let that question marinate for a few minutes, then head to the next paragraph whenever you’re ready.
The Hollywood Reporter has a great breakdown about the first Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle footage. Basically, four high schoolers in detention are charged with cleaning out the basement of their school, and they find an old video game console with the titular game itself – Jumanji. The teens each pick a character, and are transported to a jungle in the bodies of the avatars they selected. What’s more, the teens’ personalities are shoved into polarizing bodies, as a nerdy teenage boy takes over the body of The Rock, while the most popular girl in school assumes the herculean physique of… Jack Black.
My biggest issue with the takes revolving around Jumanji’s reboot is that people are acting as though video games are a new thing. They aren’t. As a matter of fact, kids were just as likely in 1995 (the year in which the original Jumanji was shot) to be playing video games as they were to be playing board games. The SNES, PS1, Sega Genesis, and the original Game Boy were all over the place by 1995, and as a matter of fact, Nintendo unveiled what would later be known as the Nintendo 64 at a Japanese trade show in that very year. Also, these kids aren’t playing some high-tech Jumanji VR simulator for Xbox One, they’re stumbling upon an old, dusty retro gaming console in a basement – which is probably just as (if not more) likely as them stumbling upon an old board game. Who knows, maybe we’ll get some cryptic links throughout the film that shows the origins of the video game. Maybe someone who stumbled upon the board game was compelled (or forced) to translate Jumanji into a digital format to keep the cursed game going for future generations.
In short, these blogs aren’t only harmful to potential moviegoers, they’re flat out ridiculous and could be corrosive to the film’s reputation before anybody even watches a trailer to see for themselves. To be honest, they’re just a continued perpetuation of the all-too-common “fuck you for not liking what I like” tone that’s so often used in “viral” blog sites eager to get traffic via clickbait. You know the ones. I hope this Jumanji reboot is great, because I absolutely adore the original – it’s a classic in my eyes. Initial impressions of the film’s first footage from CinemaCon are reportedly great, so I have high hopes in The Rock, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart delivering an incredible flick that I can share with my future kids the same way our parents shared the original Jumanji with us.