Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle walks a perilous path to its release date this Christmas. It stands in the shadow of not just the beloved Chris Van Allsburg book it’s based on, but the legacy of the original 1995 film and its dear departed star, Robin Williams. On the other hand, is there anything Dwayne Johnson can’t do? Well, Baywatch come to think of it, but back in an action/adventure mode, Johnson should be in his wheel house, especially alongside his Central Intelligence co-star Kevin Hart (and new cohorts Karen Gillan and Jack Black). Now we get our first look at the new Jumanji, and our first chance to decide if it adds to the legacy, or detracts from it.
In a brand new Jumanji adventure, the tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji’s world – pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles. To survive, they’ll play as characters from the game: meek Spencer becomes a braveexplorer (Dwayne Johnson); hulky jock Fridge becomes a tiny genius (Kevin Hart); It-girl Bethany becomes a bookworm professor (Jack Black); and unathletic Martha becomes an amazonian warrior (Karen Gillan). To beat the game and return to the real world with their lives, they’ll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.
The trailer gives you a pretty good taste for the film, even if we could have lived without the obligatory Guns N’ Roses song, which is overplayed even in trailers for films not called “Welcome to the Jungle.” In looking at this trailer through, it does appear that director Jake Kasdan has gone to considerable pains to make this movie very different from Joe Johnston‘s original, but will the payoff be equally impressive? Stay tuned.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will be in theatres everywhere on December 22.