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For the Big Game Hunter of the original Jumanji see: Van Pelt

Bring me that jewel! And slaughter anyone who tries to stop you!
—Professor Van Pelt to his men.

Professor Russell Van Pelt is a corrupted archeological professor and the main antagonist of the Jaguar Shrine Adventure of the Video Game version of "JUMANJI". Instead of the great white hunter from the board game, this Van Pelt is an archaeologist and the leader of a well equipped mercenary army, who seeks the Jaguar's Eye to gain control of the fauna of "JUMANJI".

Biography

Jumanji Bravestone Letter

Nigel's letter to Dr. Bravestone.

Professor Van Pelt was a former colleague, now nemesis, of Dr. Smolder Bravestone, who had a great obsession with finding the Jaguar Shrine, resting place of the sacred Jewel of "JUMANJI". Believing to have finally discovered its whereabouts after years of research, Van Pelt embarked on an expedition, hiring Nigel Billingsley as their field guide to accompany him and his men to find the Shrine, telling Nigel that he wished to document the jewel in his writings. However, upon finding it, he took the jewel for himself and was consumed by a dark power, which granted him dominion over all of creatures and caused a curse to befall "JUMANJI". Nigel pleaded with Van Pelt to return the jewel, but he refused, so while the group was asleep, Nigel snuck up and took the jewel, but Van Pelt's Vulture alerted him and Nigel was forced to run, with Van Pelt ordering his men to retrieve the jewel and slaughter anyone who tries to stop them.

Searching for the eye, Van Pelt was aware that Seaplane McDonough (Alex) had arrived in the game, but Seaplane was able to evade him for some time. When Smolder Bravestone and his crew arrived in "JUMANJI" and were given the eye by Nigel in order to lift the curse, he instructed his men to hunt them to try and regain the eye. Thanks to his faithful Vulture spying on Bravestone and his crew at "The Bazaar", Van Pelt and his army attacked and cornered them at gunpoint, however, the quartet managed to avoid Van Pelt and his men with the help of Seaplane. Van Pelt confronted the force leader about the players escape, assuring that their mistake wouldn't happen again before summoning a Scorpion to execute him for his failure.

Van Pelt's Vulture later tracked the five players to the Jaguar Shrine and left promptly to inform its master, allowing Van Pelt to wait for the adventurers at the Jaguar Statue. Using his ability to mentally control the Jaguars, he captured Shelly Oberon (Bethany) and tried to use him as leverage against Bravestone (Spencer) to get the eye, however, he was thwarted when Mouse Finbar (Fridge) arrives riding an Elephant, with the eye in his hand, which took out the Jaguars. Van Pelt then shot his pistol at the Elephant, which scared it away, throwing Finbar (Fridge) off its back and launching the Eye into a Snake-pit where Ruby Roundhouse (Martha) ran to retrieve it before he could. Shelly (Bethany) and Seaplane (Alex) tried to stall Van Pelt to buy Martha some extra time, but he simply overpowered both of them and attempted to use the Snakes to threaten her. Instead of succumbing to the professor's threats, Martha was too clever for Van Pelt, this had been her plan all along, using her natural weakness to venom, Roundhouse quickly died and subsequently respawned with the Jewel in her hand, falling from the air and threw the Eye to Bravestone, who set it back into the altar. The group all called out the name: "JUMANJI", breaking the curse, and causing Van Pelt to disintegrate into a horde of rats, scorpions, and flies.

There was no mention of him during the Mountain Fortress Adventure, suggesting that Professor Van Pelt has been defeated permanently. This is further evident by him being replaced by Jurgen the Brutal also stealing a precious stone and causing a serious consequence on the world of "JUMANJI".

Abilities

  • Pistol: Like the original incarnation, Van Pelt had a pistol that he used to hold Shelly Oberon (Bethany Walker) captive to force the players to give him the Jaguar's Eye. He also used it to scare off the Elephant that carried Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Anthony Johnson).
  • Zoology Mind Control: Thanks to blinding the Jaguar Colossus by stealing its eye, Van Pelt was imbued with a dark power that allowed empathetic mind control over wildlife. He would typically be surrounded by animals, even summoning a scorpion from within his body that would deliver a fatal blow to any henchmen that disappointed him.
  • Military leadership: While the original Van Pelt tended to live a solitary life, this version had a tough military force that followed his every command.

Trivia

  • Despite sharing names with Van Pelt, the Professor's character is much closer and nearly identical to Ashton Philips from the animated series, as they were both greedy treasure hunters with a disregard for other people's well-being, both dared to blind a big cat statue by stealing the previous stone eyes, causing a string of disasters that followed including someone's death and subsequent resurrection, followed by their own defeat after still intent on claiming riches for themselves.
  • In the closing credits, an illustration of a Scorpion appears next to Bobby Cannavale's credit, referencing the scene where Van Pelt executes his leading soldier with a summoned Scorpion.
  • He also identical to Edgar the Bug from Men In Black (1997), both of them are main antagonists, one of their eyes is discolored, they have soft spots for bugs, both of them are murderers and end up being killed in the end.
  • Like his board game counterpart, Professor Van Pelt was seemingly well aware that "JUMANJI" had the appearance of a game in the outside world, using a traditional term for an unsuccessful gaming climax: "Game Over".
  • Depending on the region in which the film is watched, Van Pelt has a different first name. In certain international releases of the film, he goes by the name of John Hardin Van Pelt.[1][2][3][4]

References

  1. https://screenrant.com/jumanji-welcome-jungle-movie-reviews/
  2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/movie-reviews/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle/plot-spoiler/articleshow/62662198.cms
  3. https://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/1738669/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-review
  4. https://www.cairo360.com/article/film/jumanji-welcome-to-the-jungle-goofy-entertaining-very-different-to-the-original/

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