Jumanji, it’s getting you! If you think Jumanji

Jumanji, it’s getting you!

If you think Jumanji is an old-school movie than you’re completely wrong. The filmmakers do everything that’s possible to transform this movie in the blink of an eye to a spectacle from modern times. Complete with avatars (something else than you would expect) is this game going to suck you completely in… who are you?


Jumanji: welcome to the jungle (synopsis)

The movie starts in 1969 when the board game Jumanji is found at the beach while Alex’ father is jogging. When Alex receives it from his father he puts it away because he doesn’t want to play a board game. So the game changes overnight from a board game to a video game.

20 years later Spencer gets sent to detention for helping out his friend Fridge by writing an essay for him. They are joined by Bethany, who was caught calling her friend during a test. Martha, a socially awkward girl, objected to participate in PE class. For detention they need to go to an old storage area were Spencer discovers the console containing the  Jumanji game and convinces the others to play with him. Once they selected their characters they were drawn into the game. In the game, they realized they had turned into their chosen characters. Spencer became Dr. Smolder Bravestone. Fridge is a short zoologist named Franklin “Mouse” Finbar. Martha is a commando and martial art expert named Ruby Roundhouse. And Bethany is an overweight, male cartographer named Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon.

They soon realize that they’re in a video game, and they have 3 lives each. If they lose all 3, they will actually die. Each of their avatars also comes with special skills and weaknesses.

They learn from Nigel, a guide in the game, that the big-game hunter, Russel van Pelt wants to obtain a jewel, the “Jaguar’s Eye”, allowing him to manipulate Jumanji’s animals. To escape the game, the players need to return this jewel to a jaguar statue and call out “Jumanji”. Along the way, they start losing lives by completing game levels.  When the group is in trouble they are rescued by Alex, the fifth player, whose avatar is a pilot named Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. Recuperating in a treehouse built by the previous player Alan Parrish, Alex learns he has been trapped in the game for 20 years.

They fly in a helicopter towards the jaguar statue to return the jewel. When they landed, Alex loses his last life after he was bitten by a mosquito (which was one of his weaknesses), but Bethany performs CPR in time and gives one of her lives to Alex, saving him from dying.  Using their resources and teamwork, the players distract the villains who try to attack them, while Spencer returns the jewel to the statue and calls out the game’s name. The game ends and the players return to their former selves and return to the real world, but discover Alex didn’t come with them. They discover that the Vreeke household has been restored. And an adult Alex appears, he returned to 1996, and history was changed. He is now married and has named his eldest daughter after Bethany out of gratitude for saving his life.


Research questions:

What has changed to the old movie?

The big change was the game itself. It wasn’t a board game anymore but a video game. It was shown in a clever and clear way. The films started while the father of Spencer was jogging on the beach and found the game Jumanji, exactly where it was left in the previous movie. Then he gave it to his son Spencer, but Spencer thought a board game was too old-fashioned. But overnight, the game changed from a board game to a video game.

Another big difference is that in the old movie the game comes into the real world while in the new movie they get sucked into the game. That gives a new experience for us, the viewers, because you get to know the world where Alan Parish used to live in (he lived in the jungle for a very long time in the first movie).

Something which is similar to the old movie is that the same slogan is used. Namely: “An adventure for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind.” This slogan is something you will always remember and therefore it’s a good connection to the old movie.

Also, familiar names were used in the new movie. Carl Bentley who was a police officer in the old movie is turned into principal Bentley in the new movie. Also ‘Van Pelt’ is back in action. In the old movie, he tried to kill the children and Alan by using guns while in the new movie Van Pelt has control of all the people on the motorcycles to kill the 5 players of the game.

But there was also something which the filmmakers did wrong. Namely in the first Jumanji when the game is ended everything goes back to the past and the first players of the game still knew about the game while the other children didn’t know anything about what happened. In the new Jumanji, everyone remembers it after they’re back in the real world.

Of course, Jumanji is based on a real book, but the book doesn’t have a sequel while the film now does. But it’s more imagination combined with knowledge from the story and the older movie.

And what about plot driven or character driven? This movie is actually both in contrast to the old movie. It is plot driven because of all the actions involved in this movie. On every level, they get other trouble but on the other hand, it is character driven because everyone needed to choose his or her own avatar in the movie. Just as the principle explains when they have to go to detention; “Think about who you are and who you want to be”.  This is happening during the whole movie, first, they have to choose who they want to be as an avatar and then they’re discovering what their strengths are and how they can use their weaknesses to become stronger.