At last, the trailer for Jumanji is out, and it answers our most burning question about the sequel to the 1995 Robin Williams film: why Karen Gillan's character is in a ridiculous Lara Croft-esque skimpy outfit while everyone else is in more appropriate jungle attire. Or, well, it doesn't actually answer that question as much as it asks it again.
"Why am I wearing half a shirt and short shorts in the jungle?" Gillan's Martha/Ruby Roundhouse asks.
The Jumanji trailer, which dropped on Thursday morning, gives us the back story: Four high school students serving detention discover an ancient (OK, '90s-era) video game console and cartridge. They choose the avatars they think sound best, hit play, and then — woosh! — they're sucked into the game itself. Once in this alternate reality, they look just like movie stars Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Gillan. The funny thing is, none of those avatars actually suits their personalities. Nerdy Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Johnson), jock Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) becomes diminutive Frankin "Moose" Finbar, popular beauty Bethany (Madison Iseman) swaps both gender and body type to become Professor Shelly Oberon (Black), and smart girl Martha (Morgan Turner) is badass Ruby Roundhouse.
You can tell off the bat that these incongruities are played for the broadest laughs, particularly by Black and Johnson. The trailer doesn't show much more of Martha's reaction to becoming the stereotypical female video game heroine. We're hoping that's because she grapples with it in a nuanced and intellectual way that just wasn't good trailer fodder, not because that one line is the only time the movie addresses the gaming industry's sexism.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, producer Matt Tolmach promised more on this. "[The character is] very knowing about what's happening and calls it out, like, 'What is it about these games? Why do people look like this and dress like this?'" he said. "There are so many people who know this world of video games, and it's really great to be able to have fun with some of the tropes."
Following the initial backlash over her outfit in movie stills, Gillan told the Hollywood Reporter that she wouldn't have worn the costume without this rationale.
"I've experienced something similar when I worked on Doctor Who and there was such an uproar about my costume when that was first revealed, so I thought it was happening all over again," she told the magazine. "But I have to say, I'd never take on a role that was truly gratuitous for no reason. There's a really valid reason why she's wearing that. My character is really not happy about it!"