For the Big Game Hunter of the original Jumanji see: Van Pelt
Professor Russel Van Pelt is a reimagined version of Van Pelt from the Jumanji board game, having reformatted to suit the game's new action-adventure video game aesthetic.
No longer a big game hunter, Van Pelt is now an archaeologist who seeks the Jaguar's Eye to gain control of the fauna of Jumanji, leading a well equipped mercenary army.
Russel 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 begins to hunt them to try and regain the eye, however they managed to avoid his men, with the help of Seaplane.
Van Pelt decided to wait for the adventurers at the Jaguar Statue. Using his ability to control the Jaguars, he captures Shelly Oberon (Bethany) and tried to use him as leverage against Bravestone (Spencer) to get the eye, however, he is thwarted when Mouse Finbar (Fridge) arrives riding an elephant, with the eye in his hand, which takes out Pelt's jaguars. The Eye is launched into a snakepit where Ruby Roundhouse (Martha) retrieves it. Van Pelt attempts to use the snakes to threaten her, however, this had been her plan all along, using her natural weakness to venom, Roundhouse dies and respawns, falling from the air, she throws the Eye to Bravestone, who sets it back into the altar. The group all call out Jumanji's name, breaking the curse, and causing Van Pelt to disintegrate into a horde of rats.
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).
- Empathy: 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.