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You Die in the Jungle, You Die for Real in Latest ‘Jumanji’ Trailer

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Much in the same way that The Emoji Movie sounded the official death knell for the written word (“Words aren’t cool, send an emoji!” says one tween, unaware of just how right he is), the new Jumanji remake is here to seal the coffin of the noble board game. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a title I estimate that no more than four people have said out loud, once again transports a group of unwitting players into the hostile tropical terrain of a riveting survival game. But where the original 1995 film used tired old cards and pieces made of boring paper and dumb cardboard, our new generation will only play Jumanji if it’s in the form of a vintage video game. This is 2017, gramps!

It may seem like a hackneyed way to “update” a concept not even all that rooted to its time, but as the new trailer for Jumanji shows, it freshens up some character dynamics as well. This Jumanji is also a Freaky Friday-style body-switch comedy, as the four delinquent teens tasked with cleaning out an abandoned basement get sucked into the game and reincarnated in unfamiliar — and comically incongruous — forms. The timid loser takes on the rippling musculature of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the jock gets compressed into Kevin Hart’s five hot-tempered feet, and the prissy queen bee is horrified to find herself in the body of Jack Black. Mostly, however, this gives Jack Black the opportunity to act like a teenage girl for the run time of a film. Make of that what you will!

Jumanji bounds into theaters on December 20, at which point the film will make its most valiant effort to explain why Karen Gillan is dressed for an afternoon at the beach while on a rough-and-tumble jungle adventure. Sure, it’s part of the concept, but that doesn’t account for why it is part of the concept!

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