For whatever reason, the 1995 smash Jumanji is getting the reboot treatment in the near future. Actually, I think the word they're using is "re-imagining," which is just a pompous way of saying "remake." I think "reboot" only applies to franchises. But let me move away from this interesting semantic monologue.
I'm far from morally opposed to remakes -- some of my favourite movies are remakes -- and it's not like the movie-going public gives film studios much of an option. Bloggers and snobs will complain about the dearth of originality in Hollywood, while they and everyone else lines up to spend up to $15.00 on adapted or repackaged material. Remakes simply make the most financial sense. I'm mostly surprised that they landed on Jumanji, a movie I thought most of us had only dim memories of. But Jumanji it is! And I really hope they do this properly.
There are probably two ways to go with this one. (Well, maybe more, but not many more good ones.) You can either stay true to the letter of the original and have Jumanji be a board game again -- and I do belong to the totally cool demographic of 20-somethings who enjoy board games, so this would appeal to me. Or, you could stay true to the spirit of the original, and have Jumanji be a kind of game that kids would find kind of outdated in the face of cooler, newer games. So, board games : 1995 :: Nintendo/Atari : 2012. Yeah, actually, I would love to see a movie about someone who got trapped in a Nintendo game for 20 years. How would he deal with going between a 2D and a 3D world? Would his Jumanji world stay rooted in the 80s-style Nintendo games, despite the evolution of video games in our world? Would there be a rivalry like between black-and-white and colour cartoons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Actually, could we also just re-release Who Framed Roger Rabbit? These are questions.
If we went the video game route, I think we'd need a sufficiently nerdy male lead. Someone who'd be believable as a guy who really knew and loved his video games as a teenager. My first thought is Martin Starr, thanks to his roles as Bill Haverchuck and Roman the Malcontent, and also thanks to his glasses, he has bonafide nerd credentials. Equally important, though -- he has a generally impatient and world-weary edge that would really suit a person who's had to live in a bizarro pixelated world for most of his life.
I already have my heart set on Rachel McAdams as his romantic lead. She has extensive experience playing a woman mildly traumatized by the physical or temporal inconstancy of her lover, so she'd be perfect here. She also seems like the sort of woman who's surprisingly gawky and shy, but also beautiful and fiercely intelligent - the logical grown-up version of Ally Sheedy in War Games. And isn't that the sort of girl who would enchant an archetypal 80s geek?
Now, the most memorable set piece in the original Jumanji, for the most part, was the massive stampede. I can't even remember how it happened, only that it was enormous and loud and insane. It was the full force of the board game world ripping through the fabric of the real world, after the relatively minor threats beforehand (a scourge of giant malaria mosquitos, a troop of "hilarious" monkeys). Wouldn't it be awesome for the reboot if, instead of just a stampede, we had a full-fledged assault from all the dark forces of the Nintendo/Atari world? Goombas from Super Mario, space invaders from Space Invaders, barrels from Donkey Kong, the dog from Paperboy... I'm sure the rights would cost a fortune, but this is the Jumanji reboot we're talking about. We must spare no expense.
I could actually see myself paying to see this, though not in its inevitable 3D iteration. I imagine that whatever they end up making will be much more "family-friendly" than what I have in mind, but I suppose nothing's perfect. There's still ample potential for this movie, so let's not count it out yet.