If you hadn’t already heard, Sony is remaking Jumanji. The studio heads already hyped a release date (July 28, 2017) as well as locked a director, Jake Kasden (director of Walk Hard and Sex Tape and the spectacular mind behind the underrated flicks Zero Effect and The TV Set), and they may finally have some stars: Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
The duo, having hosted this year’s MTV Movie Awards and starring in the upcoming Central Intelligence, definitely have comedic chemistry, but the internet has not been kind to the idea of these two more or less taking the narrative place of Robin Williams.
In the original 1995 cinematic adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s celebrated children’s book, Williams carried a longing and sadness that dug its way into viewers, ennobling the tale beyond just chaos and hijinks. Following Williams’s 2014 suicide, the next-year announcement of a Jumanji remake was met with generally disagreeable reactions on social media.
The response now seems to be somewhat the same, though many wonder how even remotely similar the remake would be, given the quick and ridiculous back-and-forth the two actors tend to have. With Johnson and Hart onboard, if that proves to be the case (still in talks), it may just go for a wild joyride of silliness, without a deeper level of storytelling. But with Kasden, it’s hard to tell.