Yesterday, the first official photo of Jumanji made the rounds. It featured The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. Given that when the remake was announced, fans took it like a fart in church. This opinion is based on the fact that they dared try to redo material already done much better than the immortal (figuratively speaking) Robin Williams.
But there is another problem that spawned just recently, inspired by the photo, and this is one of Sexism. Jessica Lachenal wrote an article over at the Mary Sue website criticizing the producers for adorning Gillan in “super sexualized” attire. She also referred to them calling her “Girl” far too many times in promotional material. Now I can’t speak for the sexism in their nomenclature, at least without proper context, but what I can speak about is the outfit that Gillan is wearing. It looks to be attire that would befit any woman out in the jungle. Form-fitting mesh would allow her to skin to breath while an exposed midriff and shorts would work well in a particularly humid climate.
Lachenal also references her “weird-as-all-heck breast straps”. Now this is an odd choice to be sure but as someone who has studied character design I know that the sole reason for them to be there is to bring attention to her breasts. It’s the same reason that the Rock’s character is wearing the Han Solo belt, to bring attention to his, shall we say, junior Johnson. I’m not denying that there is sexism in the film. Sex sells. It always has. What I will say is that it’s not simply aimed at the lone female in the cast. And before you start raging in the comments that the sexism is one-sided, it doesn’t matter. Sexism in general is wrong. The amount is inconsequential.
I choose to wait until the film comes out before I pass judgment on the character and how she is treated in the film. Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, there was fan outrage that there weren’t many female leads to be seen. While the film is mainly a sausage-fest, the main female protagonist proved to be one of the strongest female characters in the entire saga. The less said on Captain Phasma, whose skillset includes looking shiny and nothing else, the better. As a side note, Ruby Roundhouse is one of the greatest names ever written. Alliteration is cool.
At the end of the day, Lachenal has some solid points that need to be addressed by Hollywood in general, although there is something to be said about choosing your battles. This is a film remake based on a board game that comes to life and terrorizes the real world after all.