Columbia Pictures have hired Zach Helm to pen the new Jumanji reboot. Helm, who garnered acclaim for his debut screenplay Stanger Than Fiction and writing/directing Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, has been chosen to write the not-so-anticipated film.
Rumours about the reboot started cropping up in July, however it’s allegedly already in development stages. Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad said in an interview “We’re going to try and re-imagine Jumanji and update it for the present.” In August producer Matthew Tolmach, who recently produced The Amazing Spider-Man, was confirmed to be on-board working alongside William Teitler, the producer of the original 1995 film. Ted Field and Mike Weber are executive producers on the project.
The plot revolves around a two adventurous kids who happen to stumble across a mystical board game that makes wild animals and other jungle characters materialise upon each player’s move. Incidentally, they release a man who has been trapped in the game for decades, who they ultimately realise can help rid them of all the chaos and return their lives to some degree of normality.
The original 1995 adaption was directed by Joe Johnston, more recently known for directing last year’s superhero blockbuster Captain America: The First Avenger. Originally based on Chris Van Allsburg’s popular 1981 picture book of the same name, it memorably starred the fittingly hairy Robin Williams as Alan; the wild man who emerges from the game’s unseen jungle world. The cast also included a young Kirsten Dunst as the one of the children who is tasked with playing the increasingly enraging game. The film did well at the box office, making $263 million in theatres, however reviews were mediocre at best. Nevertheless, the film has established itself as a classic children’s adventure.
In 2005, the John Favreau film Zathura was released as a sort of sequel, but it contained no material relating to Jumanji, nor did it mention any of the events.
Helm has proven himself to have a whimsical touch with Stranger Than Fiction and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, so from a critical view it seems he’s just about qualified for the job. However the problem lies in the film’s urgency; is a Jumanji reboot really necessary? The Robin Williams version is a childhood classic which should arguably be left alone and repeated on daytime TV for generations to come. It might be too early to tell, so we’ll have to bite our tongues for the meantime.
Helm recently did rewrite work on The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, another comedic adventure movie that stars Ben Stiller and will be released Dec. 25, 2013.