When watching the remake of the movie Jumanji I couldn’t help but compare it to Larp like how the original film reminded me of table-top gaming. The movie focuses on a group of teens that must come together to save the world of Jumanji from falling into darkness. Forcing four complete strangers to work together and form new bonds between them.
Rules of The Game
The movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a film that takes place several years after the first film. While cleaning the school’s basement as a means of detention one day after school, Spencer, Martha, Bethany, and Fridge come across an old video game consol. After hitting the start button the four teens are suck into the game where they discover they must return the Jaguar’s Eye to leave the game and return to the real world. While completing the levels of the game they come across Alex would had disappeared from their town twenty years ago.
Spencer Gilpin, played by Alex Wolff, is a nerdy gamer that was bullied into doing Fridge’s homework and has a crush on Martha. Playing as the character Bravestone allows him to deal with anxiety to stand up for himself. Dr. Smolder Bravestone, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is Spencer’s avatar. The leader of the group and a play on the Indiana Jones stereotype.
Bethany Walker, played by Madison Iseman, is the high school Queen Bee and diva caring more about her looks and being popular. She sends all her time on her cell phone before losing it when she enters the game. Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon, played by Jack Black, was picked by Bethany thinking that Shelly was a female avatar. Sheldon is a master of language, cryptos, and the study of maps. He helps solvs the riddles hidden throughout the game.
Anthony “Fridge” Johnson, played by Ser’Darius Blain, is a football player who is trying to gain a college scholarship yet doesn’t want to waste time doing his schoolwork. He gets Spencer to complete the assignments for him until they are caught. Franklin “Mouse” Finbar, played by Kevin Heart, is a zoologist and weapons expert that is a loyal companion to Dr. Braveheart carrying the other’s man’s weapons in his backpack.
Martha Kaply, played by Megan Turner, is the shy quiet type that would prefer to conduct experiments instead of interacting with others. Ruby Roundhouse, played by Karen Gillam, is the Lora Croft of the group using her looks and dance fighting to defeat her foes along with other hand to hand combat training.
Alex Vreeke, played by Masson Guccione, is a teenage rocker that is the local rebel and drummer of a friend created band. He’s given the board game version of Jumanji from his father as a birthday present. He gives the game a try for laughs before being suck into the game. Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough, played by Nick Jonas, is an expert pilot and drink mixer that is on his last life when the other teens come across him. He’s staying in a tree house that was built by Alan a tie to the first film.
A Players insight
When I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, my mind immediacy jumps to a Larp session. The teens were forced to play a game as characters that were the opposite of how they usually act. When creating a Larp character you want them to contain characteristics that you obtain but at the same time you want the character to be completely different from how you normally act.
I would give the film an eight out of ten due to its humor, graphical design, and holding strong connections to the gaming community. The character development could have been better the avatar characters appeared more flushed out compared to how the teens act in the real world. The movie made me rethink how the first film was a form of table-top gaming.
Alan the character played by the late Robin Williams, had to roll dice for his avatar to advance on the board. The spot he landed on created a challenge or mod he had to over come.
Furthermore, both the new and old versions of the film play on a version of playing. Both involve a group of players that must work together to complete the object of the game. They both focus on the interactive gaming concepts that were popular at the time of the films’ release. The films hold a deeper meaning then merely enjoying a game. That the players learn that their avatars allow them to showcase characteristics that were hidden within themselves.
Now, shush. I’m trying to read,