Board game, magical gateway, supernatural jungle adventure; the classic 1995 Jumanji movie got an HD makeover recently in the form of a big budget reboot, and supposedly there’s more to come for fans of the franchise.
From Robin Williams to Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson
Since 1995, Jumanji has been a book, a film, a videogame, it’s been on the sides of lunchboxes, it’s been everywhere. There are actual board games based on the movie version. There are even casino games online based on the franchise. No doubt soon there might be a VR experience based on the franchise, combining the original imaginative idea with reality. Game devs like NetEnt are continuously updating their website and library of titles to the modern day, bringing Jumanji along with them. The idea has a lot of mileage, and the franchise has a decades long history.
What began in 1981 as a children’s novel by author Chris Van Allsburg turned into a worldwide phenomenon just 14 years later when it found its way onto the big screen. With fan favourite Robin Williams as the helm, Jumanji (1995) told the story of a mythic and mysterious board game with the power to bring the jungle to life. Kids Judy and Peter Shepard found themselves taken for the ride of their lives as they rolled, played and made their way around the board in an attempt to save the day.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (1997) polished this classic story for a modern audience just a few years ago, to great success. Not quite a remake, but rather a continuation of the story to have come before, it saw the world of Jumanji transformed into a video game cartridge. Four friends are sucked into the world during a bout of high school detention, and they have just three lives to lose before they’re gone for real.
A box office hit and general success, Welcome to the Jungle paved the way for yet another Jumanji movie, apparently penned for 2019 release.
An Untitled Third Jumanji Film, but No Game?
The stars of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle have discussed the possibility of a sequel on several occasions, tentatively exploring the origins of the game and where the concept might find itself next. In February of 2018 came the official announcement: Jake Kasdan, director of Welcome to the Jungle, was on board for a third movie, signed in fact, alongside the same writers and actors that brought Welcome to the Jungle so much success.
Since then we’ve heard news that Danny Glover (The Color Purple, The Royal Tenenbaums), Danny DeVito ( Batman Returns, Hercules) and Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8) have joined the cast. Jumanji 3 is apparently slated for a December 2019 release, though little else is known about the movie so far.
All this hype, but still no AAA video game? There have been a few attempts at porting Jumanji to consoles and PCs over the years – and while some have been successful, like online casino slots, others have struggled.
With a third Jumanji movie on the horizon and VR tech on the up and up, there seems to be a perfect storm brewing. Perhaps, come December 2019, we’ll know more?