Every character in Jumanji gets three lives and as noted here the characters would most likely die for real were they to lose those three lives. Whenever any of the characters lose one of these lives, they either explode or disappear, and then respawn into the game by falling from the sky.

After Nick Jonas' character (Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough) gets stung by a mosquito (one of his weaknesses), and is in the process of losing his last life, Jack Black's character (Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon) saves him by performing mouth-to-mouth and simultaneously transferring one of his lives to Nick Jonas' character. The Professor is then a little tired but nothing happens to him.
My question is, since the Professor essentially lost a life, why did he not re-spawn into the game like every other time a character loses a life?

  • 1
    Speculating here, but probably because he didn't lose a life through death. I recall playing a game once like this, can't remember which I'm sure there were a few, but the idea was that the other player could take one of yours provided you had a life to share. It didn't do anything to your character and the other player just spawned in as they would had it been their own extra life.
    – user25738
    Feb 5, 2018 at 20:28
  • Is this title a spoiler? If so can it be obscured in any way?
    – iandotkelly
    Feb 7, 2018 at 17:00
  • how should i modify it? Feb 7, 2018 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


So I'll bring a little bit of programming into this (after all, this is a video game movie) to explain why he didn't explode.

If Jumanji were an actual game, based on the mechanics I would assume the game was programmed in the following way. The below represents the player's life tracker at the beginning of the game, where X represents a life and X* represents the life they're currently using. I've included ID numbers below each life to help make them more distinct.

|     X*   X    X     |

When Oberon is eaten by the hippo at the beginning of the game, whichever life he was using at that time is removed from the game, and he is respawned.

|          X*    X    |

Now, when he begins the life transfer, the game is not transferring his current life, but rather his 'spare' life, resulting in the diagram below.

|          X*         |

The game is set up in such a way that the asplodey respawn is only triggered when the currently used life changes, i.e. when the asterisk notation changes which life it's attached to. In programming lingo, we call this an event handler. The event handler (which has the "make the person in question go kablooey" logic baked into it) is only kicked off when the currently used life changes.

Now, I can't find any clips to back up this logic, and in fact I think I recall that in the movie the life marked as ID 2 in my diagram is the one which fades. In which case I blame the GUI designers for translating my beautiful logic which supports the edge case of life-transferal into something the users can understand superficially, but which masks the true intent of my programming skills.

  • While I think that this is a good guess, I don't think it makes for a good answer as it is just a guess.
    – Ian
    Feb 6, 2018 at 13:54
  • 3
    It is a guess backed up by the context, the evidence in the movie, and as many details as could be found. If there's a better one I'd love to hear it, but this makes sense for me and the asker it appears.
    – Marisa
    Feb 6, 2018 at 14:18
  • As I said, I like your explanation, but SE is a platform that prefers answers based on facts instead of conjecture. IMO, OP prematurely accepted your answer instead of waiting for better ones. In this case, however, there might never be a better answer. I presume, the director just did not think about the issue in that detail.
    – Ian
    Feb 6, 2018 at 15:41

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