Ever since the first still for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle dropped, there has been a lot of talk about Karen Gillan‘s very revealing costume. It caused a bit of an uproar, and now two members of the team have spoken to Screen Rant about the costume and the point they are trying to make with it. Producer Matt Tolmach says that the reaction was exactly what they expected:
“We’re all very aware of that, and without giving away what I love… Yes, there’s a very real consciousness and idea there. When all the noise came out it was like, this is exactly what we anticipated, and is very definitely spoken to in the movie… Super aware of what we were doing there, and it’s addressed in the movie.”
Director Jake Kasdan pointed out that the character is more than just her looks in the film, despite being a literal avatar.
“I mean taken on its own, I guess it’s… But I knew what we were doing, and I know what the character is. I love her character. I think it’s something I’ve never seen before in a movie, it’s one of the parts of the movie I’ve been most excited about since I signed onto it. So if anything, I was just sort of like ‘People are gonna go crazy when they get what we’re doing here,’ in a good way. They’re gonna love it.
So… you can tell what they’re looking at from a still, from a– you know what I mean? I love what she’s doing in the movie. So I wasn’t that worried about it.”
The overall point they’re trying to make is that many female video game characters are dressed in skimpy outfits, and they are calling attention to that. However, just hanging a lampshade on the sexism of video games isn’t enough to call it satire. If they point out the outfit then have her change, maybe even making a joke at the expense of costume changes in a game, that might make sense. But as it currently appears to stand, they are pointing out the sexism, but we’re supposed to give it a pass since they are self-aware about it. Gillan spoke to The Hollywood Reporter back in January about the outfit:
“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. 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!”
That reason could be this joke they are trying to make, but even then, it’s not really going to work unless the movie does more than just draw attention to her outfit.