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Stranger than fiction: Jumanji to be rewritten by Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium scribe Zach Helm

Dec. 7, 2012by: Alejandro Stepenberg

Jumanji game box header

Riddle me this, Batman. If someone makes an original movie based on an old board game and it flops (BATTLESHIP), and everybody lets their board game-based projects fall into development hell, do you:

A) Learn your lesson and try to stay away from boardgames.

B) Shrug it off, saay "eh, it happened to somebody else," and move ahead with a remake an original movie based on a now-old book about a board game.

if you guessed "B", then you're right on the money (as it were) - Zach Helm (STRANGER THAN FICTION, MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM) has been commissioned to take a crack at adapting anew the 1981 book JUMANJI by Chris Van Alsburg.  Brought to the big screen once before by the directorial touch of Joe Johnston (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER), the movie starred Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst and "told of a board game come to life as two kids discover the supernatural game and release a man trapped in there decades earlier. They also unleash jungle forces and must team up with the man to quell the game’s powerful magic."  The idea is of course that the project will receive, in the words of studio executives, "an update for the present."

Helm also directed MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM, but there's no word yet on whether he'd take on any directorial duties for the new version of JUMANJI. Would you mind if he did, or is there a director out there that you believe could better balance the humor, spectacle, and scare-factor of a story like JUMANJI? And perhaps more importantly, just how sacrosanct is JUMANJI in your eyes?

Extra Tidbit: Am I crazy to remember the JUMANJI board game as actually being a fair bit of fun? Or was it just that I was about ten years old?

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7:17AM on 12/07/2012
Wasn't Zathura already an adequate Jumanji update?
Wasn't Zathura already an adequate Jumanji update?
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7:35AM on 12/07/2012

Well...

Technically I think Zathura is more of a "sidequel" to Jumanji. Both are written by the same author and involve the same concept but have different ideas. But, hey, that's just one guys opinion on things.
Technically I think Zathura is more of a "sidequel" to Jumanji. Both are written by the same author and involve the same concept but have different ideas. But, hey, that's just one guys opinion on things.
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7:42AM on 12/07/2012
From what I understand, you're technically correct Mr. PeterVincent87.
From what I understand, you're technically correct Mr. PeterVincent87.
8:28AM on 12/07/2012
Yeah this could work but the best thing to do is not let it be the exact same story as the last movie. That game is after all something that seems to pass from the hands of one group to another with each having its own adventure. As long as they have no characters and new people than this could work quite nicely. Besides Disney could use a good kids movie that isn't animated.
Yeah this could work but the best thing to do is not let it be the exact same story as the last movie. That game is after all something that seems to pass from the hands of one group to another with each having its own adventure. As long as they have no characters and new people than this could work quite nicely. Besides Disney could use a good kids movie that isn't animated.
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9:10AM on 12/07/2012

What kind of manji?

What a huge fucking waste of time and money. The premise isn't even that good. Kids find board game and it's colonial Africa themed and when they play it zoo animals pop out of nowhere.
Zathura was the sequel. Favreau shot it. The Twilight chick is in it. It's horrid. Everything about this news makes me sad in my pants.
What a huge fucking waste of time and money. The premise isn't even that good. Kids find board game and it's colonial Africa themed and when they play it zoo animals pop out of nowhere.
Zathura was the sequel. Favreau shot it. The Twilight chick is in it. It's horrid. Everything about this news makes me sad in my pants.
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9:15AM on 12/07/2012
I really love the movie! I thought that they may do a sequel, after seeing how the original movie ended. Hope this could be a good remake though.
I really love the movie! I thought that they may do a sequel, after seeing how the original movie ended. Hope this could be a good remake though.
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9:41AM on 12/07/2012

Cmon Hollywood: Enough with the Remake, Create Something NEW!!!

tired of remakes, is there no creativity left in Hollywood?
tired of remakes, is there no creativity left in Hollywood?
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10:31AM on 12/07/2012
There is, but it's being flushed down the toilet by the studio executives...
There is, but it's being flushed down the toilet by the studio executives...
+11
10:15AM on 12/07/2012
I watched Jumanji again a few weeks ago on cable, it was still a fun movie where Robin Williams do what he does best. Being funny and having fun doing it. I don't think it needs any 'update' besides remastering it and completely redo all the bad CGI (bad as in today's standard, I remember the CGI as awesome when I was a kid).
I watched Jumanji again a few weeks ago on cable, it was still a fun movie where Robin Williams do what he does best. Being funny and having fun doing it. I don't think it needs any 'update' besides remastering it and completely redo all the bad CGI (bad as in today's standard, I remember the CGI as awesome when I was a kid).
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10:36AM on 12/07/2012
I'm pretty indifferent towards Jumanji, but I think Zach Helm is one of the most underrated writers in Hollywood. So why the hell not
I'm pretty indifferent towards Jumanji, but I think Zach Helm is one of the most underrated writers in Hollywood. So why the hell not
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+3
11:16AM on 12/07/2012
Riddle me this, Batman. If you lack the ability to understand the difference between making a movie based on a board game and making a movie based on a book, should you really attempt to be snide about anyone else's decision making?

Attempting to claim that making a movie that is about a board game, like Jumanji, is comparable to making a movie that is adapted from a board game, like Battleship (here's a hint because you apparently didn't understand the movie -- the movie actually wasn't
Riddle me this, Batman. If you lack the ability to understand the difference between making a movie based on a board game and making a movie based on a book, should you really attempt to be snide about anyone else's decision making?

Attempting to claim that making a movie that is about a board game, like Jumanji, is comparable to making a movie that is adapted from a board game, like Battleship (here's a hint because you apparently didn't understand the movie -- the movie actually wasn't about a board game), is as outright ridiculous as claiming all movies about robots are adaptations of a toyline simply because Transformers is about robots and an adaptation of a toyline.

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8:14PM on 12/07/2012
Absolutely nothing to do with the article. I just felt the need to comment that Alejandro Stepenberg must be the nicest guy on the planet. It seems every article he writes someone in the comments feels the need to rip him a new asshole (50/50 on whether it's deserved), and he always replies back so graciously, and willing to make adjustments for future articles. Kudo to you Alejandro, kudos to you.
Absolutely nothing to do with the article. I just felt the need to comment that Alejandro Stepenberg must be the nicest guy on the planet. It seems every article he writes someone in the comments feels the need to rip him a new asshole (50/50 on whether it's deserved), and he always replies back so graciously, and willing to make adjustments for future articles. Kudo to you Alejandro, kudos to you.
12:36PM on 12/07/2012
Apologies if my idea wasn't communicated as well as I might have liked - even if based on a book, JUMANJI is still fundamentally a story held together by a board game. So it's almost like it WAS based on a board game, hence my snide connection.

But again, not all jokes work all the time at four in the morning.
Apologies if my idea wasn't communicated as well as I might have liked - even if based on a book, JUMANJI is still fundamentally a story held together by a board game. So it's almost like it WAS based on a board game, hence my snide connection.

But again, not all jokes work all the time at four in the morning.
12:15PM on 12/07/2012
OK, so, there is no reason to do this. I agree. I grew up with the book, which is hardly on its own enough to make a movie out of. The film did incorporate some scenes directly from the book, but included Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt. No biggie. I liked the movie, too. I'm not sure in what way they are planning to make this into another movie. Would it be like an update of the Johnston movie? Or focus more on the kids? So It does sound unneeded, but there's a part of me that doesn't want to
OK, so, there is no reason to do this. I agree. I grew up with the book, which is hardly on its own enough to make a movie out of. The film did incorporate some scenes directly from the book, but included Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt. No biggie. I liked the movie, too. I'm not sure in what way they are planning to make this into another movie. Would it be like an update of the Johnston movie? Or focus more on the kids? So It does sound unneeded, but there's a part of me that doesn't want to cry foul just yet.
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