If you were a child of the ’90s, chances are Jumanji was one of your faves. It had action, suspense, jokes, board games, silly monkeys and Robin Williams—basically all the things ’90s dreams are made of. So like all beloved movies from our childhood, it’s time to poke holes and make connections and see things differently, now that our brains have matured.
Take, for example, this insane theory: What if Van Pelt, the hunter, was a figment of Alan’s imagination?
Like all crazy TV and movie theories, this one comes to us from Reddit. User CnosOriginality was watching Jumanji on Netflix and got to thinking about the timeline of events. Let’s walk through the logic, step by step.
First, let’s prove that Van Pelt wasn’t a player of the game. The game was buried by two boys in 1869. As far as we know, it was left there untouched until Alan dug it up in 1969, 100 years later. And when he did, there were no pieces on the board, signifying that the previous game was over.
Let’s say Van Pelt played the game prior to 1869. He would have played, escaped and buried the chest for the two boys to find. As we know, time passes at the same rate in the board game and real life. So by 1995, he would be long dead.
But Alan knew Van Pelt by name. It’s clear they met inside of Jumanji—it just isn’t clear how.
“I suggest that Van Pelt is a subconscious rendering of what Alan wanted to be inside the board game,” CnosOriginality says. “VP is a strong, fearless (British) hunter that could be the symbol of sophisticated masculinity, something that Alan lacks as a child and its something his father wants him to have.” Sounds like something from that Psych 101 class we took in college. Totally valid.
Also? Van Pelt was played by the same actor (Jonathan Hyde) who played Sam Parrish —Alan’s dad.
The game’s sequence of events is also very important! Alan rolls the dice. Then, after Sarah’s roll, wild plans appear in the Parrish house. Only then does Van Pelt appear—the illusion of Van Pelt is brought to life by the plants from those wild Jumanji plants.
“A chemical toxin that can take all your fears and insecurities and manifest them into the physical world? That sounds like something that could happen inside the world of Jumanji,” the Redditor reasons.
Sounds pretty spot on to us. Although, I suppose the hunter could have just been a character in the game, too. Either way, we’re totally down with the idea that Van Pelt represents everything Alan is insecure about.
And hallucination or not, we can all agree Van Pelt had some of the funniest scenes in the movie.
Featured image via Tristar Pictures