Culver City,
Calif. — In Columbia Pictures’ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the game has changed as four
teenagers are sucked into the world of Jumanji. Director Jake Kasdan has
introduced many clever twists to the action-adventure, and that created plenty
of opportunities for the film’s sound crew to get creative with sound.  All sound services were completed at Sony
Pictures Post Production Services.
The new film
centers on four high school students who discover an old video game console and
are drawn into the game’s jungle setting. The teens assume the outer form of
their game avatars (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan),
while retaining their adolescent personalities, and contend with a variety of
menaces, including oversized hippos, rhinos and elephants.
The film’s
fanciful visuals required a novel approach toward sound. “The land of Jumanji is fictional,” says Supervising
Sound Editor Joel Shryack, who led the sound team alongside Sound
Designer/Supervising Sound Editor/Re-Recording Mixer Julian Slater and
Re-Recording Mixer Kevin O’Connell. “The environments and animals aren’t
exactly like they are in the real world. That gave us creative freedom, but it
also challenged us to bring this world to life, sonically, in a way that’s
believable and exciting for the audience.”

 The sound
team devoted much of its attention to the huge assortment of jungle creatures
featured in the film. Slater explains that the animals needed to appear both
familiar and larger than life, and that led to some imaginative sound
treatments. “They’re real animals, but they’re 50 percent bigger because this
is Jumanji,” explains Slater. “Many of the animal sounds were designed from
scratch and involved a cocktail of sounds blended together. For the hippos and
rhinos, we blended in the sounds of tigers and even moose. We pitched them down
and put them through filters to make them sound completely different from what
we started with. I also used my own voice quite a bit.”
One of the
film’s most challenging sequences, from a sound perspective, has the four
heroes in a helicopter zooming through a jungle cavern while being pursued by an
angry herd of albino rhinos. The whirr of the copter’s propeller and whine of
its engine alternate with the snorts and pounding hooves of the animals as they
clatter through the brush. At several points, the rhinos bash the helicopter
with their horns. “The shots come fast and include a lot of detail,” notes Shryack.
“Our object is to make the audience imagine they are inside the helicopter with
the actors. It feels like an amusement park ride. You are completely immersed
in the sound design and Henry Jackman’s beautiful score. It’s exciting.”
The sound
team also took a novel approach with human sounds. One scene is set in what
appears to be a crowded bazaar — but because it is happening inside Jumanji,
it wasn’t meant to represent any real-world location. To create the right sense
of geographic ambiguity, Shryack instructed crowd actors taking part in ADR
sessions to speak in an improvised language.
“We brought
in actors who could speak a second language and had them make things up, using
the cadence of Spanish or an African language, but not the words,” Shryack
explains. “The crowds sound foreign, but it’s not a real language.”
The scope and
intricacy of the sound design combined with layered dialogue tracks and buoyant
score made for a complex mix. O’Connell, who won an Academy Award® for his work
on Hacksaw Ridge, said the film’s
veteran crew kept the project on track. “Joel and Julian did a fantastic job in
preparing and organizing the dialogue and sound elements,” he says. “That left
us with a lot of room to get creative with the mix. It was especially
beneficial to have Julian working the sound effects side of the mix console,
since he had designed many of the elements himself.”
Slater agrees
calling the completed soundtrack a collaborative effort, driven by the sound
team’s passionate desire to bring the world of Jumanji to life. “Joel, Kevin
and I are kindred spirits,” he says. “We’ll do whatever is necessary for the
betterment of the movie. We put a lot of time into the sound design, editing
and mixing and when we finished the movie, we all had massive smiles on our
faces because it had been such a fun and positive experience.”
About Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
In the brand-new
adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the game has changed as
four teenagers in detention are sucked into the world of Jumanji.  When
they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of,
they decide to play and are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting,
in the bodies of the avatar characters they chose (Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black,
Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan).  What they discover is that you don’t just
play Jumanji – Jumanji plays you.  To win, they’ll have to go on the most
dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game
forever… Directed by Jake
Kasdan, the screenplay is by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers and Scott
Rosenberg & Jeff Pinkner with a screen story by Chris McKenna, based on the
book Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is produced by Matt Tolmach
and William Teitler.
About Sony Pictures
Pictures Entertainment
(SPE) is a subsidiary of
Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony
Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production,
acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and
distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution;
operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment
products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group includes
film labels Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures
Animation, and Sony Pictures Classics.  For
additional information, visit
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