How Video Games From The 1990s Are Influencing Jumanji, According To The Rock

The Rock in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

While some folks still enjoy spending an evening playing board games, it is safe to say that they don't have quite the same popularity as they did in the mid 90s when the original Jumanji was released. So it made sense that, during the development of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, the decision was made that its cast of characters would enter into the world through a video, rather than board, game.

When the four teenage characters do just that they are instantly transformed into avatars, played by Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Dwayne Johnson. Last October we were lucky enough to visit the set of Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. During our trip Dwayne Johnson insisted that the impending blockbuster will still be heavily inspired by the 1990s, explaining that the spirit of the video games of that decade is present throughout Welcome To The Jungle. Rocky told us:

Really, these are just the video games of the 90s. So in the spirit of the board game of Jumanji, which was in the 90s, you'll be in the creative device that we've used within the movie, which morphs the board game into a video game. But it still has the spirit of the 90s. So it is characters like that, which are very stereotypical characters from the 90s.

When answering a question about the different type of stunts in the film, Dwayne Johnson expanded upon this answer, even providing an example of how the spirit of video games will be incorporated into Welcome To The Jungle. Dwayne Johnson explained,

I don't know if there are stunts in this movie that I've never done before, but it is how we are executing them, and the variables that we are placing around them that make them different. In our world of Jumanji the animals are bigger, meaner, faster. And then there's the fact that I am doing all these stunts as a 16-year old kid, so there's a really cool wish fulfillment factor that happens. Because when I was 16 I would have really loved to have become my favorite characters, especially with video games. We have a really cool dynamic, that I hope we pull off, where as I am in these fight scenes, because I am playing a video game turbo geek, there's a really cool element where I am calling out the moves before I am doing it. If we do it right, it should be really fun.

And as is usually the case in a video game, the four characters sucked into the world of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle come with a finite number of lives (we actually saw Kevin Hart's character explode at the end of the latest trailer, proving that he "uses" at least one life while on the adventure). During a chat with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle director Jake Kasdan, we asked him if this means that -- as in a video game -- the characters also respawn, and he elaborated:

Yeah, like in a video game, they respawn. [Laughs] And like in a video game, it's like they have a finite number of lives until it's game over. And so that tension of having to complete the game [and] get to the end of the adventure before they run out of lives, and help each other do that, is the central... those are the stakes. How do you get to the end without expiring permanently? It was also a part of it that I loved when I first read the script -- and a lot of people worked on it over time -- but it was Chris McKenna who came up with the idea originally, and I just thought it was such a fun, cool part of his idea, the idea of multiple lives, and the respawning.

A little of this even made its way into the trailer for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, which you can watch in all of its glory below.

We don't have long to wait for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, too, as the action, adventure, fantasy, comedy will be released into cinemas on December 20. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for lots more coverage from the set of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

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Gregory Wakeman