One of the absolute gems of 1990s kids’ movies has to be ‘Jumanji’, the 1995 adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s 1981 Caldecott Medal-winning adventure book starring Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, David Alan Greer, and a young Kirsten Dunst. The film told the tale of two young children that find a mystical board game in their new house. Upon playing the game, they unleash the man that was trapped inside, along with other various creatures from the game as each turn passes. But just like many other beloved films fondly remembered from our childhoods, it looks like this one will be getting a reboot shortly. And though rumors have been circulating since 2012, this time it’s official because a director has just been attached.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘Bad Teacher’ and ‘Sex Tape’ director Jake Kasdan has signed on to helm the upcoming remake for Columbia Pictures that is said to be “a new take on the book”. If the most recent entries to his IMDB page are questionable to you, the rest of Kasdan’s filmography isn’t quite as suspect. The son of legendary screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (not to be confused with his brother Jon who is working on the Han Solo spinoff with their father) has directed episodes of Judd Apatow’s ‘Freaks and Geeks’ and ‘Undeclared’ before working on some solid comedies such as ‘Orange County’, ‘The TV Set’, and ‘Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story’. He’s also worked on some of today’s most popular shows like ‘New Girl’, ‘The Grinder’, and ‘Fresh Off The Boat’.
However, despite his impressive credentials and lineage, the challenge with ‘Jumanji’ for Kasdan will come when he’s meant to meet the release date of December 25, 2016. With less than a year to develop, shoot, and finish a film that will likely be filled with a good amount of complex visual effects, these are less than ideal circumstances for any filmmaker. Hopefully the studio opts to push the release date back so that the whole production team has some time to breathe during the process and not be forced to put out a rushed, subpar final product. Otherwise, it will be interesting to see if he can even pull off a decent, coherent movie with passable CGI under such time constraints.
What do you think about Jake Kasdan directing a remake of ‘Jumanji’? Do you think that the studio will move the release date rather than fast track the project at the risk of producing an inferior movie or driving the entire production crazy? And should there even be a remake of this movie for a new audience when the old one is still perfectly fine? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.