Whenever Hollywood studios tap a beloved nostalgic property for some sort of continuation, there is always the fear that they will screw it up. This was certainly the worry for many fans when a remake of the classic 1995 Robin Williams film Jumanji was announced. Movie fans weren’t the only ones who were worried though. Jumanji: The Next Level Actress Karen Gillan admits she initially thought remaking Jumanji was a bad idea, saying:
My initial reaction when I heard they were remaking Jumanji [was], ‘Why would you do that to Jumanji? What are you going to do with one of my favorite childhood movies? Don’t ruin my childhood!’ I kind of had the same reaction as everyone else. And then I read the script, and that changed everything because I knew they’d done something inventive and original while still honoring the original. It was kind of the perfect blend.
When she first heard that Jumanji was getting a remake, Karen Gillan had that instinctual, knee-jerk reaction, echoed by so many fans, that it was a bad idea and no good could come from it. Karen Gillan is 32 and like so many people, she grew up with the Robin Williams film. So her response to the news of a Jumanji remake was not one of excitement, but one of dread.
It’s a feeling expressed by so many fans in these situations, as Karen Gillan felt that Hollywood was trying to ruin her childhood with a bastardization of a beloved film. And who could blame her? It’s a totally understandable reaction from the actress because she loved Jumanji and for all the successful remakes and reboots and the like that Hollywood has made, there is at least an equal number of abominations.
I think these feelings for some may have been particularly keen with Jumanji given the circumstances. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was released in 2017, but word of the project first started circulating in 2012 with the release announcement coming in 2015. Robin Williams died in 2014, so for a generation that grew up with Jumanji and the treasured actor, the whole thing felt a bit too soon.
But everything changed for Karen Gillan when she read the script, as she tells Entertainment Weekly. She realized that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was not a true remake that would inevitably fall short of the original, nor was it disrespectful of the Robin Williams film.
Instead, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was more of a rebootquel/reimagining. It managed to be both inventive and fresh, while still honoring the 1995 film. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle paid tribute while forging its own path, which is the best you can really ever hope for with any sort of continuation of a beloved property. It’s the perfect blend as she calls it, a blend that so many other films fail to achieve.
Seeing that, Karen Gillan’s fears were assuaged. She was then proven right when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle wound up being a critical success and smash hit at the box office. Now Jumanji: The Next Level is following suit. It just goes to show that while our fears are often justified, sometimes things can surprise you.
Jumanji: The Next Level is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all of next year’s biggest movies.