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Jumanji Remake Gets a Writer

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Remember that movie, starring Robin Williams, called Jumanji? If you don’t, then perhaps you will remember it soon because, according to THR, Columbia is planning to reimagine the film for the modern audiences — despite the fact that the original was released in 1995, which makes it less than twenty years old.

The new version is being produced by Matt Tolmach and Bill Teitler with Ted Field and Mike Weber acting as executive producers. The screenplay will be written by screenwriter Zach Helm, who is known for his work on Stranger Than Fiction, which was released in 2006 and starred Will Ferrel. Just like the original film, the new Jumanji will be an adaptation of a children’s story by American author Chris Van Allsburg.

The story of Jumanji follows a group of kids who begin playing a jungle-set board game and soon discover that the various beasts and perils from the game manifest themselves in reality. Those dangers range from giant mosquitoes to floods and earthquakes — something that you would want to interfere with your game.

The remake was actually mentioned this summer when Columbia’s Doug Belgrad said that the studio wanted to “try and reimagine Jumanji and update it for the present.”

It makes sense then as to why Columbia has picked Zach Helm to pen the screenplay for the reimagining since both of his previous films, Stranger Than Fiction and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, were critically acclaimed and featured a little bit of magic. Mr. Magrorium’s Wonder Emporium was also a children’s movie, which seems to indicate that Mr. Helm knows how to write for the younger audiences.

Yet in spite of all that, one question remains — is a Jumanji remake necessary? After all, the older version is not even that old. Aside from slightly outdated visuals, the 1995 Jumanji is still very watchable — it was a very decent blend of humour, horror, and adventure. The new film would have to try and truly reinvent the story in order to differ from the original Jumanji because otherwise it would become quickly dismissed as yet another worthless remakes.

There are some good remakes out there, like the 2007 version of 3:10 to Yuma or the 2010 version of True Grit, but there are also many terrible ones, like this year’s Red Dawn. I am hoping that the Jumanji remake would surprise me because so far it looks completely unnecessary.

By: Taras Trofimov

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