Movies

Jumanji is the remake no-one asked for, yet someone thought we needed

This is a roll of the dice that does not pay off...

By Amber Elias
Jumanji remake is unnecessary and terrible

We were anxious (to say the least) when the Jumanji trailer dropped earlier today.

After all, the original film was a beloved family classic and don't you go messing with our cherished memories, Hollywood. But alas, we're devastated to inform you that it looks like another iconic '90s movie has been remade into a shadow of its former self.

Jumanji was first released in 1995 and starred the late, great Robin Williams and a very young Kirsten Dunst. It was a beloved family film (even though critics were surprisingly mean at the time. Weird.).

For a quick refresher (spoilers, but c'mon, you've had 22 years to watch it):

Alan Parrish (Robin Williams) finds a board game called Jumanji, plays it and gets sucked into the game where he lives alone in the jungle until Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter Shepherd find the game twenty six years later, play it and free Alan, who then joins them to finish the game and turn back time to when he was first playing the game.

The *Jumanji* 1995 original cast with Robin Williams
The Jumanji 1995 original cast with Robin Williams

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the 2017 remake, and stars Dwayne Johnson (or The Rock depending on your prerogative), Jack Black and Kevin Hart. Alarm bells were already ringing as this cast arguably only have comedic credentials and the first film was gloriously creepy and suspense-driven.

The original film is set around a board game, but it was deemed too old-fashioned (read: no flashing lights or violent action scenes) for kids these days, so Hollywood decided that the remake would benefit from being based around a video game.

But that's not the only major change.

Instead of the action coming out of the game and into our world, the kids go into the game and the jungle, to finish the game and return home (actually, we aren't sure about this part, the trailer isn't clear and there seems to be no mention further of their objective or of the actual game after the kids enter it).

For a little bit of retro nostalgia for the parents (and fans of the original movie we are guessing) the video game is from the '80s, and has a similarly retro theme song by Guns N' Roses 'Welcome to the Jungle'. Subtle.

And to add another confusing layer, the characters in the movie are actually the characters in the video game, and the kids are playing the video game characters.

We personally preferred the original concept but the trailer (watch it below) will explain the plot slightly better.

But we're forgetting what's the actual worst part (presumably) of the movie.

The very worst part is that they decided to remake the original in the first place.

Sony Pictures decided to take a classic film, and completely change the story. The two films have pretty much nothing in common, and it would be a stretch to actually call it a '"remake".

Remember The Mummy from 1999? Well, it's 2017 "remake" starring Tom Cruise is currently being panned by critics and fans alike.

"The Mummy, with Tom Cruise, deserves a quick burial," remarked New York Times chief film critic A. O. Scott.

Here are a few more classics that unnecessarily got the remake treatment:

~ Dirty Dancing, 1987, remade as a telemovie in 2017
~ Psycho, 1960, remade in 1998 with Vince Vaughn and Julianne Moore
~ Scream, 1996, continued as a franchise, with the most recent installment, Scream 4, in 2011

But this unfortunate trend is not limited to movies, as TV shows have suffered the same fate:

~ Charlie's Angels became a movie in 2000
~ MacGyver was also relaunched as a TV series in 2016

Maybe the biggest question that we, the people should have is: why change it?

To capitalise on an actor's current popularity like The Rock (he in everything at the moment) and Tom Cruise? Maybe that is the cynical way to look at it, but it is hard to believe that it is for the benefit of the audience who missed the movie the first time around.

Don't we, as the fans who pay to see these movies, deserve something more than something we have seen before with a thin, second-rate plot designed to start a trilogy?

And don't even get us started on the debacle surrounding Karen Gillan's sexist attire...

*Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle* 2017 new cast
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2017 new cast

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle opens in Australin cinemas from Boxing Day, 2017, so it's success is yet to be judged, but let's just say the studio has definitely left the door open for sequels.

Side note: We are almost definitely going to watch the sequel regardless. And The Rock is, well, everything. We just want some of our cherished films left alone! Thanks then.

Watch the original (and we're going to say best) Jumanji trailer here: