There’s a new Jumanji movie on the way. It will star former WWE wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (who is also on production duties and whose character is called, no shit, Dr. Smolder Bravestone), Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan. The 1995 original, starring the late, great comic actor Robin Williams, who tragically took his own life in 2014, centred around a mystical board game that transported players to a magical realm. The new one isn’t out until 2017, but has already caused consternation. Here’s why it looks bad, very bad…
There’s been a sexism row
The Rock, who’s producing the film as well as starring in it, ‘grammed a snap from the set in Hawaii. The people of the internet were quick to ask: where are all of Karen Gillan’s clothes? Kevin Hart: fully clothed. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, a man who spent the first half of his career wearing very few clothes: also fully clothed. Ditto Jack Black. So why does Karen Gillan look like she’s been cast in Barbie Goes Hiking, wearing actual Barbie-sized clothes?
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: #JUMANJI Our dope 90’s vintage costumes will all make sense when our plot’s revealed. Truuuuuust me. The journey continues.. “Moose Finbar” (Kevin Hart). “Ruby Roundhouse” (Karen Gillan). “Professor Shelly Oberon” (Jack Black). “Dr. Smolder Bravestone” ’cause well.. he smolders. Hard workin’ and FUN first day of shooting in the jungle with this talented and crazy motley crew. Jack is brilliant, Karen is bad assery, Kevin is sharply hilarious and I smell good. Extremely hard trying to keep a straight face in these scenes. Too funny. We’re makin’ a good one. More to come.. #JUMANJI #WishFulfillment #TheGameThatPlaysYou
These people typified the response on social media:
Gillan has responded to the criticism, tweeting: “Jumanji! Yes I’m wearing child sized clothes and YES there is a reason! The pay off is worth it, I promise!” Like, fine, but the fact remains that a children’s film has already been accused of sexism before it’s even got off the starting blocks.
It looks cheesy as fuck
Sure, it’s only one photo. But, dear oh dear, what a disastrous photo it is. They look like they’re in an advert for a cheap fancy dress shop. Even without the sexism debate, this image would be lame as fuck, with none of the hokey, homespun charm that made Jumanji so much fun in the first place.
It’s not a sequel. Or a reboot. Or a remake. So what is it?
Jumanji was totally unique and innovative, a stone-cold classic that defined childhood for a whole generation. You can’t just sling in Kevin Hart and expect to recreate the magic. Also, no-one can even agree what the hell it is. A remake? Apparently not, according to The Rock, who posted on Instagram that it’s not even a ‘reboot’, a term that means very little. Is the new Jumanji, then, a sequel? Nah, a it’s “continuation” of the original tale. Sort of sounds like a sequel, doesn’t it?
Finished strong and on to the next. That’s an officially wrap on #FastAndFurious8. Thank you to our director @fgarygray for the vision and execution. Thank you UNIVERSAL for being tremendous partners as always, thank you to all my fellow co-stars for the daily effort and grind. Scott Eastwood you handsome sumbitch! Natalie Emmanuel I have a cold Budweiser ready for you and Tyrese Gibson you still have the biggest smile and forehead I’ve ever seen. And a huge THANK YOU to our hard working production crew – the backbone of our business. Your kind words meant a lot to me last night – thank you! In the end, we all rallied, as great teams do, kicked ass and will deliver an amazing movie to the world. Proud of our entire FAST FAMILY. And now in two weeks I’ll reunite with ol’ friends Kevin Hart & Jack Black and we have the honor to introduce a whole new generation to the amazing world of #JUMANJI. *(for the record we are NOT making a reboot, but rather a continuation of the awesome JUMANJI story). It’s also crazy to me how much me, Kev and Jack look like triplets when we’re together.. Man this is gonna be FUN. #WheelsUp #ThatsAWrap #FromFastAndFurious #StraightIntoJumanji #BigBrownBaldTattooedMan #DarkChocolateComedicRockStar #BrillaintCrazyCurvyCaucasion #TheseHashtagsAreRidiculous #INeedSleepAndCARBS #ButIWillSettleForTequila
Also: they already tried it
Remember Zathura? Nah mate, no-one does. This was the 2005 “spiritual sequel” to Jumanji. It was set in space and was a box-office flop. If you saw it, you probably belong on some kind of rare species list. The film was based on a book by Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg and was sold as “A new adventure from the world of Jumanji“. Not sure that what we need is another woolly, amorphous, sort-of-but-not-quite sequel to that classic movie. Can you smell what The Rock is cooking? Yes we can – a box office flop.
Finally, The Rock is no Robin Williams
The final point is the most obvious. Yeah, everyone loves The Rock. He turned the Fast & Furious from an ailing film franchise into one of the most successful ever. But he’s still nowhere near as beloved as Robin William, whose death weighs heavily on the new Jumanji movie.
And the #JUMANJI magic begins. Excellent meeting with our director Jake Kasdan, producer Matt Tolmach, and our @SevenBucksProd team to work on our new re-imagining of this amazing story. I felt like in order to craft something cool we should begin where it all started. Award winning writer Chris Van Allsburg’s source material of JUMANJI. Chris also wrote THE POLAR EXPRESS (later adapted by Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks) and has a very special & magical way of storytelling. I’m feelin’ good and confident stepping into these shoes as a producer as well as actor to bring you something great that you and your entire fam can enjoy. An important thing that I want to be honest and bring up is Robin Williams. The love and respect I have for this man is boundless. You have my word, we will honor his name and the character of “Alan Parrish” will stand alone and be forever immortalized in the world of JUMANJI in an earnest and cool way. I have an idea of what to do and I think his family will be proud. I also think Robin is somewhere lookin’ down and laughing, remembering the first time we met backstage and I (for the first time ever) was a star struck bumbling idiot that couldn’t even get my words out. Idiot. He literally calmed me down w/ that smile and laugh. But that’s for another fun story down the road. We got a great team assembled already over at our home base of SONY and now we build from here. Here’s another fun part… in the original movie there were three big roles. In our new story there’s now FIVE. Been so damn cool to see all my actor buddies push their projects aside so hopefully they can come play in our world. Should have cool casting announcements this week. Will keep you posted. #TheMagicBegins #JustPressStart #JUMANJI
He’s promised it will honour the late actor, saying on Instagram: “The love and respect I have for this man is boundless… I have an idea of what to do and I think his family will be proud.” His intentions seem good, but you’re still asking for troubling when you take on Williams’ legacy. Even worse, if it’s somehow successful, we’ll probably see The Rock in a Mrs Doubtfire remake. If that happens, Jumanji 2017 will go from ill-conceived to humanitarian crisis.