For the Big Game Hunter of the original Jumanji see: Van Pelt
Professor Russell Van Pelt is a corrupted archeological Professor and the main antagonist of the Jumanji video game, having been reformatted to suit the game's new action-adventure video game aesthetic. Instead of the great white hunter from the board game, this Van Pelt is an archaeologist who seeks the Jaguar's Eye to gain control of the fauna of Jumanji, leading a well equipped mercenary army.
Professor Russell 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 it's whereabouts, Van Pelt embarked on an expedition, hiring Nigel, a field guide, to accompany him and his men, 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 Jumanji's creatures, and causing a curse to befall Jumanji.
Nigel pleaded with Van Pelt to return the jewel, but he refused, so while the group were asleep, Nigel snuck and took the jewel, but Van Pelt's vulture alerted them and Nigel was forced to run, with Van Pelt ordering his men to retrieve the jewel and slaughter anyone in their way.
Searching for the eye, Van Pelt learned that Seaplane McDonough (Alex) had arrived in Jumanji. However, Seaplane was able to evade him for some time. When Smolder Bravestone and the others 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 Vulture spying on Bravestone and his companions, Van Pelt's army cornered them at the Bazaar, however the quartet managed to avoid Van Pelt and his men, with the help of Seaplane.
Van Pelt's Vulture tracked the five players to the Jaguar Shrine and left promptly to inform its master, allowing Russell 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 Pelt's jaguars. Van Pet then shot his pistol at the Elephant which scared it away, throwing Finbar (Fridge) off its back and the Eye was launched into a snakepit where Ruby Roundhouse (Martha) retrieved it. Van Pelt attempted to use the snakes to threaten her, however, this had been her plan all along, using her natural weakness to venom, Roundhouse died and subsequently respawned, falling from the air and threw the Eye to Bravestone, who set it back into the altar.
The group all called out Jumanji's name, breaking the curse, and causing Van Pelt to disintegrate into a horde of rats, scorpions and flies.
At the end of the film, the four players of Jumanji decided to wreck the game with a bowling ball, thus destroying Russel Van Pelt along with it for good.
- 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 it's eye, Van Pelt was embodied with dark power that allowed empathetic mind control over any animals. He would literary be surrounded by animals, even summoning a Scorpion from within 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.
- Despite sharing names with Van Pelt, Russell'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-beings, 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 soldier with a summoned Scorpion.
- He also represents 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.
|Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle|
|Jumanji||Smolder Bravestone • Ruby Roundhouse • Franklin "Mouse" Finbar • Shelly Oberon • Seaplane McDonough • Nigel Billingsley|
|Brantford||Bethany Walker • Spencer Gilpin • Martha Kaply • Anthony Johnson • Alex Vreeke • Principal Bentley • Coach Webb • Lucinda • "Old Man" Vreeke|
|Antagonists||Russell Van Pelt • Russell Van Pelt's Army|
|Animals||Rhinoceros • Elephant • Monkey • Crocodile • Bat • Mosquito • Spider • Jaguar • Hippopotamus • Zebra • Snake • Vulture • Orangutan|
|Objects||Board Game • Video Game • Jaguar's Eye • Pound Cake|
|Locations||Jumanji Realm • Brantford • Brantford High School • Bazaar • Jaguar Shrine • Parrish Treehouse • Transportation Shed • Vreeke House|