After Karen Gillan’s skimpy jungle wear showed up in the Jumanji set photo last week, there were constant promises that it would make sense once you saw the film. These new plot rumours actually do explain the outfit, but there’s only one way they might manage to justify it.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) September 23, 2016
Four kids joined the cast late last week. The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Alex Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) plays a boy named Spencer, whose avatar is Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) in a Jumanji video game. The other three adult actors are also video game characters played by the kids, which is why their characters have over-the-top ridiculous names like Moose Finbar, Dr Smolder Bravestone, Ruby Roundhouse and Professor Shelly Oberon.
I’d bet money that one of the girls is stuck as Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black), since his character has a gender-neutral first name. I’d also bet a lot of jokes about a teenage girl stuck in Jack Black’s body will be made.
Slashfilm‘s Ethan Anderton guesses that Gillan’s character isn’t wearing much clothing because she’s the avatar designed by Ser’Darius Blain’s character — and he wanted to make a sexy girl. I’d argue that it’s more likely that one of the girls picked that character. The names make it sound more like these are preset avatars, not ones as customisable as video games get now. Plus, Johnson posted that the adults’ outfits were “dope ’90s vintage costumes”, and we’ve heard that the four kids find an old game console while in detention — which, again, makes it more likely this is an old game with very few avatars available. And if there’s only one female character — or only two with names that sound like female characters — the two girls would likely call dibs.
Now, we’ve also heard that the kids get sucked into the game and into their avatars’ bodies. If that’s correct, then it’s a young girl trapped in the body of an under-dressed woman. If the idea is that there’s a problem when the only character teenage girls have to identify with is an over-sexualised one, the creepy “that’s a kid in that body” thing works. If not… well, then it’s just creepy. (If it’s one of the boys who chooses the Ruby character and then gets zapped into her, then it’s the old “haha, boy in girl’s clothing” joke, and it’s not even close to being funny.)
This is the only approach that actually fulfils Gillan’s statement that “the pay off is worth it, I promise!” Of course, a version of this film that’s a critique of video games is all well and good, but I’m not quite sure how it’s a “continuation” of the original movie. How did a video game version of Jumanji come to be? At least the old board game was represented as, basically, a cursed object that everyone who had contact with it feared. Who ended up making Tron: Jumanji? And why?
This movie is nothing but endless questions.