Jumanji

I think this post might require a little exposition…

I first became acquainted with Chris Van Allsburg’s “Jumanji” when I was in kindergarten.  Although I had owned the book for a couple of years beforehand, I didn’t recall ever reading it.  I think it was one day during our story hour that my teacher Miss Evans (yes, I remember who my teacher was at such a young age; I have what’s known as a “meta-memory”) read the story aloud.  She must have had a good voice for audio books, because my five year-old imagination kicked in and I found myself vividly imagining two kids playing a board game that conjured up who know’s what with a roll of the dice.

Of course, for some months I was apprehensive of getting too close to my Monopoly game, lest the top hat guy should materialize and run me over with his Maxwell like a freaking boss…

So, for many years afterward, Jumanji was always latent in the back of my mind somewhere.  Fast-forward to 1995 when Jumanji was made into a movie.  I decided to go and see it, for curiosity’s sake.  I enjoyed the movie for the most part; naturally Robin Williams’ raw energy and talent (may he rest in peace).  But for me there were a lot of unanswered questions: Who created the game?  What exactly made all the animals and hazards appear?  How was the game able to “think?”

Such questions remained unanswered, and hence were filed away under “Unexplained.”

It was during the two years I lived abroad in South Korea as an ESL teacher that I began to think up ideas for how Jumanji-as-a-movie could be played out.  When I came back to the USA and bought a new computer/printer combo, I began to outline a story, draw up some ideas for “clues,” and come up with an idea for how the game could have first come to be.  It took a few years of writing and rewriting, but finally the fruits of my labors came into full bloom:

Jumanji

A re-imagining of the 1995 film (based on the original story by Chris Van Allsburg).  Two high school friends find a mysterious board game and begin to play. As each roll of the dice conjures bizarre, terrifying challenges, the game’s sinister origin is finally revealed.

As if Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson could do better…

 

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