In Jumanji (1995), two siblings Peter and Judy Shepherd find an old jungle themed board game in the attic of their new home and unknowingly release chaos into their world, solve a decades old missing persons mystery and go on an adventure of a lifetime. The original film directed by Joe Johnston stars Robin Williams, Kristen Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde, David Alan Grier and Bebe Neuwirth. Years after the hit movie became a household name, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) directed by Jake Kasdan, centers around a group of teenagers who get sucked into the video game of Jumanji and have to survive and beat the game in order to return to the real world. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas to name a few. Is this new Jumanji a remake of the original film? YouTuber Andre from his channel Black Nerd Comedy takes a deep dive to compare the two Jumanji films.
What was interesting about the movie was that it really placed itself into pop culture just on its name alone. Any chance someone could get they would say the word Jumanji. There’s just something about that word that rolls off the tongue.
After its release, Jumanji had become a huge pop culture reference related to anything 90’s. Even if you hadn’t seen the movie, you pretty much knew what it was about says the YouTuber who at first though he had seen the film, but later realized that he had seen so many cultural references, movie clips and trailers that even though he knew the premise of the film, he had in fact not actually watched the film in its entirety.
The CGI in this film is “very very 90’s” according to the YouTuber, who uses the monkeys as an example of poor quality, early technology, making them look more like gremlins than monkeys.
Man those monkeys are so CGI I have seen more realistic monkeys in the Ape Escape or Super Monkey Ball or Donkey Kong Country, the cartoon.
The most notable aspect of the movie is the performance from Robin Williams, who plays a grown-up Alan Parish, the boy who gets sucked into the Jumanji board game in 1969, according to Andre. The CGI effects and adventures the characters go on are only enhanced by his performance giving a balance between a naïve man who grew up in a board game and is unfamiliar with the modern world and yet still very aware of the dangers lurking from the Jumanji board game.
But of course, the heart of this movie is Robin Williams, with all the CGI adventure and spectacle, just the performance of Robin Williams makes this movie a little bit stronger.
In the newer film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the story centers around a group of teens who are transported into the Jumanji video game compared to in the original film where the game has poured out into their real world. After watching the second film, the YouTuber realizes there is very little connecting the two movies despite their names.
Yes the movie does drop Jumanji references throughout … there’s a reference to Alan Parish in the movie … one of the Jumanji playing pieces is featured … there’s even a villain in this movie named Van Pelt, but that being said, you can take all of those Jumanji references and elements out of this movie and still it would work as a movie.
This in turn prompts the question: How did Jumanji the board game turn into Jumanji the video game? Apparently in Jumanji logic, it just does, says Andre, who feels this concept is created to appeal to the new generation audiences more familiar with the digital entertainment aspect of games.
Unlike the original film, where the plot consists of the characters trying to play out the rest of the unfinished game while trying to survive near death experiences thrown at them from the board game, the new film’s main message is a satire on video games and focuses more on the video game tropes we are now all familiar with.
A big thing this movie does, which is a good quality of the movie: it is constantly a satire on video games. From the outfits, the characters' names, the strengths and weaknesses of each character, cut scenes, losing lives, even NPC’s … it's constantly making references and jokes about the common video game tropes that we know.
While the original film feels more like a fantasy adventure, the newer film is more of a comedic adventure from the performances from comedic duo Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart. Though the films don’t seem to have any real connection to each other in terms of story and theme other than the name Jumanji, YouTuber Andre finds both films equally as fun and entertaining.
Both films can be found on Amazon Prime Video.
YouTuber Andre from his channel Black Nerd Comedy, rates and reviews movies and TV shows on his channel regularly.