It’s a Jungle Out There (Inside a Video Game) in the First ‘Jumanji’ Reboot Trailer
Those of us who have dutifully followed Dwayne Johnson’s social-media updates from the set of the Jumanji reboot (fully titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a series of words I will never say out loud) have been hotly anticipating the first official trailer for months now. And after all the online teasing from the Rock about how much excitement audiences can expect from his new revival of the ’90s kids’ classic, he’s finally putting his money where his bulging, oiled-up biceps are. Welcome to the jungle; director Jake Kasdan has fun and games, if by “fun” we mean “a massive FX budget” and if by “games” we mean “body-switching humor.”
The new trailer clarifies the central narrative hook of the new film, which decisively diverges from the original blueprints. A quartet of troublemaking teens — a jock, a nerd, a hot girl, and a girl who is merely kinda cute — get assigned cleanup detail in their school’s basement as punishment. There, they find an NES-looking vintage video game system and decide to boot up the cartridge, a game called “Jumanji.” They’re then sucked into the game, where they assume the physical forms of their chosen avatars, meaning that Jack Black technically portrays a teenage girl in this film. As they get used to their new bodies (and Karen Gillan makes it clear that she thinks her midriff-baring getup is as impractical as you do), they embark on a great jungle adventure to win the game and return home.
There are all the expected CGI spectacles and animal cameos (hippos really seem to have it out for Black’s character), but the surprise is all the body-switching humor. A staple of ’80s studio comedy, it gives Kevin Hart plenty of material, as his “real-life” player happens to be a solid two feet taller than the actor. There’s plenty of digital hot air in the trailer, but underneath it... is that wit and personality? Good to see you both, old friends. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle hits theaters December 22, 2017.