ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning: The following might just change the way you see beloved '90s movie 'Jumanji' forever, so it's probably best to proceed with whatever level of caution your childhood self suggests.)

Now, looking back on beloved movies from your childhood can be a risky business at the best of times — with what seemed like the greatest movie of all time when you were 8 years old suddenly seeming like a giant pile of steaming trash to your adult eyes (I'm looking at you, Super Mario Bros.).

Some, though, not only hold up, but can actually improve with later viewing — with the Star Wars saga being the classic example. Others still, though, manage to somehow be both at once simultaneously still awesome, but completely changed by a sudden realization born of watching them through adult eyes.

A perfect example of that? The soon to be rebooted, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson-starring Jumanji.

Jumanji Is Hiding Something Seriously Disturbing Beneath The Surface

And I don't mean under Robin Williams's glorious, sadly missed beard. Instead, I'm talking about the pretty darned mind-blowing suggestion made recently by intrepid Redditor CnosOriginality, who pointed out that...

A Key Character In Jumanji Was A Figment Of Robin Williams's Character Alan's Imagination

Specifically, that guy. Van Pelt, the movie's main villain.

Who, as CnosOriginality, points out, shouldn't exist.

Y'see, Van Pelt seems to have originated in the 19th century — since he asks a clerk at a gun store for bullets that haven't existed since 1903 — which would suggest that he entered the game back in 1869, when the board game was buried (and remained so until Alan dug it up in 1969). The only problem? He would have aged within the game's internal world, much as Alan did — meaning he would have long since died by the film's 1990s setting.

The even bigger clue that something's a little off, though?

Van Pelt Was Played By The Same Actor Who Played Alan's Dad, Sam Parrish

Yup, that's right, both characters were played by Jonathan Hyde, suggesting a close connection between the two — one centered around Alan.

CnosOriginality's suggestion?

Van Pelt is, in fact, a creation of Alan's subconscious — a sketchily realized version of the sort of "man's man" that Alan's father wanted him to be. That's why he looks like his father, because he was imagined that way.

Which Is Where Things Get Really Weird

After all, Van Pelt being a creation of Alan's subconscious isn't, on its own, enough to explain why he was able to arrive in the real world. After all, if Alan simply imagined him — presumably as a coping mechanism for the trauma of being stranded in the game — then he wouldn't actually exist, right?

Well, that's where the plants come in.

Van Pelt notably doesn't appear until after the film's mansion is invaded by plants — which initially seems completely coincidental. Until, that is, you consider Alan's line to the kids while in the kitchen:

"I've seen things you've only seen in your nightmares... things you can't even see..."

Suggesting, it seems, that there's more to the world of Jumanji than meets the eye. Specifically, CnosOriginality suggests:

The Plants Created Van Pelt Themselves

Yup. That's right. The plants.

After all, in a world in which a board game can fundamentally alter time and reality, it's not too difficult to imagine that a certain species of plant could take a young boy's fears and insecurities, and create a living, breathing physical embodiment of them in the form of Van Pelt.

Which, when you think about it, kind of makes the plants the villains all along – and suggests that they might even be dastardly sentient beings, who were behind the whole Jumanji game in the first place. Or, y'know, that the whole movie was basically just Alan having a seriously bad trip back in 1969, caused by fumes from the long-buried board game.

Either way — nicely played CnosOriginality. Nicely played.

You can also head over here to find out how well you'd fair against the creepy critters from Jumanji.

What do you think, though?

via Reddit


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