Welcome back to the world of “Jumanji”!!! After much anticipation we finally have the first trailer for the sequel to the original Robin Williams-led 90s classic, giving us a look at what we can expect from “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”. I’ve watched the trailer a few times and have to say I’m pretty excited, so lets take a closer look shall we?
The trailer begins setting the stage for how the four misfits who will be the subjects of the film come together. Alex Wolff’s health freak Spencer, Ser’Darius Blain’s athletic Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, Madison Iseman’s popular and self centered Bethany, and Morgan Turner’s outcast “normal” girl Martha are all in detention together instructed by their supervising teacher to clean out a cluttered room. The trailer gives us a few glimpses at who these young students are in their world as each character gets an introduction and a flash of light on their personalities outside of school.
The trailer quickly picks up when Fridge finds an Atari-like game system, which the group turns on to find it is a “Jumanji” video game, complete with reading of the famous line “For the of you who seek to find a way to leave their world behind”. The four pick avatars and are quickly sucked into the game, in similar fashion to Alan Parrish getting sucked into the board game in the first film.
I want to point out that this scene is full of slight Easter eggs that will likely play into the film later on as each character is presented with different traits and specialties in the selection screen, as you can see in the screenshot above. As the trailer progresses we learn that these traits will play important roles in the players makign their way through the game so it seems strategy and teamwork will be heavily leaned on to escape the jungle.
After a first person dive into the jungle of “Jumanji” we get to see Dr. Smolder Bravestone, played by Dwayne Johnson, which is the avatar Spencer chose. His appearance is accompanied by the classic drumbeat also featured in the first film. One by one the other avatars are revealed including Fridge’s much shorter avatar Moose Finbar, played by Kevin Heart, Bethany’s overweight middle-aged avatar Professor Shelly Oberon, played by Jack Black, and Martha’s good-looking Lara Croft-like Avatar Ruby Roundhouse, played by Karen Gillan.
It is here that we get a great feel for what we can expect in terms of comedy for this film. Each player, and thus the avatar actors, prove to be self-aware of the ridiculousness of their characters, with Spencer in awe over his new muscles, Fridge complaining about his lack of size, Bethany in shock over her lack of gorgeousness, and Martha making a rather heavy handed jab at early critics of her character’s look by mocking her lack of suitable clothing for a jungle atmosphere. It’s clear “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” is going to lean heavily on body-themed gags, which is fitting considering that the avatars do fit strange stereotypes often criticized in the gaming world and they are in stark contrast to the real world players. Should be interesting and fun to see play out.
As the trailer progresses we learn that each character has an advantage to them, as well as disadvantages. What these are we don’t know yet exactly but the most obvious is that Moose is slow, but likely good with weapons as we saw in the character selection screen, and Ruby Roundhouse is fast and a physical threat (yeah I know I used two Karen Gillan photos in a row, can you blame me?). It seems that this film is going to play off of not only body jokes, but the tropes of video games in general by giving each character ridiculous abilities reminiscent of popular game character of today.
We also get our first looks at the larger world that is “Jumanji”. The one-off shot making most of the rounds is this one above of a large cat-like rock structure that shows us this is more than just a simple jungle. There’s a lot to see in the world of “Jumanji”. We also get a glimpse at motorcyclists attacking our heroes which means technology exists in this world opposed to the world of the board game. Remember Van Pelt, who attacked Alan Parrish in the first film, used an old style firearm. We were led to believe that the world Parrish spent many years in was old fashioned. So the world has seemingly evolved as it became a video game. Just how much we will have to see, but it’s an exciting concept.
Through numerous cut scenes we get looks as Dwayne Johnson kicking some butt and we get looks at some familiar threats from the first film, particularly a heard of CGI rhinos chasing Moose through a cave-like setting. We also get to meet Nick Jonas as Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. Now unless you’ve read spoilers there’s not a lot known about Seaplane yet. He does appear to be an ally to the players, but is that by design of the game or is it because he, too, is trapped in “Jumanji”? The trailer shines little light on his motives really, but we do see him leading the group through some sort of temple and we see him later flying a helicopter away from danger with the four players on board. So at least for a time he will be helping our players through the game.
One interesting shot is this one here of a green item which could be the McGuffin of the film, an item that drives the plot. We don’t know the plot of the actual “Jumanji” video game yet so this could be what our players are after to win. I had to lighten up the picture a bit and I still couldn’t quite make out who this is in the photo holding the item, but his eyes are green suggesting this is not something to mess with. We also see Moose holding the item on the back of an elephant so it’s obvious it will play some part in their completion of the game to escape.
The trailer closes with a comical scene of Jack Black’s Prof. Oberon getting attacked, quite brutally I might add, by a hippo and seeing as it’s a movie partially geared towards kids I doubt that’s the professor’s end. While this scene is meant for comic effect in the trailer it does beg to question how the professor gets out of this mess. It looks as though this is early on in the adventure so this may be a scene that introduces the crew to their new individual player abilities, or maybe introduces the idea of limited lives into the video game.
The trailer is topped off with Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” playing over the action, fitting right? It looks like “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” could be a rather entertaining new take on an old story we all know and love, modernizing it for a new generation and even possibly taking the time to touch on some interesting social and gaming clichés along the way. The movie itself doesn’t come out for another six months, the trailer says Christmas, but hopefully it’s worth the wait. Let me know what you think of our first look at “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and watch the trailer in full below!