Jumanji (1995)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Reissue)
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Overall Rating 70%
Overall Rating
Ranked #386
...out of 12,400 movies
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Connections: Jumanji

When siblings Judy and Peter discover an enchanted board game that opens the door to a magical world, they unwittingly invite Alan -- an adult who's been trapped inside the game for 26 years -- into their living room. Alan's only hope for freedom is to finish the game, which proves risky as all three find themselves running from giant rhinoceroses, evil monkeys and other terrifying creatures. --TMDb
Review by Crispy
Added: August 17, 2014
Last week, Robin Williams succumbed to the depression that he's been battling and took his own life. It's an incredible tragedy to note that a man who brought so much laughter to millions of people couldn't climb from the depths of his own mind. Many people are reaching for Hook or Mrs. Doubtfire for their personal memorials; those are both phenomenal movies, but I decided to fire up an old childhood favorite, Jumanji.

Back in 1969, 12-year-old Allan Parish has a bully problem. Seems Billy Huddelston is not a fan of Allan hanging out with his girlfriend, and corners him in his father's shoe factory. However, Mr. Parrish doesn't exactly provide a shoulder to cry on, and with a pep talk about the importance of manning up to your problems, sends him back to out to get his ass kicked. As he's limping home, he hears a tribal drumming coming from a construction site and follows the sound to a board game, Jumanji, buried in the mud. Later that night, Sarah comes by to apologize for her boyfriend being a schmuck and he shows her what he found. She brushes it off as something childish, but there's something strange about this game; the pieces stick to the board and move by themselves. Oh, and it sucks Allan into its center and conjures a cloud of bats to chase Sarah out of the house. Fast forward to 1995, and Nora has just bought Allan's old house after taking custody of her late brother's children. Young Judy and Peter aren't taking the loss that well, and act out in various ways. The game seems to reach out to kids in need, and soon they too hear its drums. As they sit down to play, they release Allan from his twenty-six year imprisonment in Jumanji's vicious jungle. Noting that finishing the game will revert its effects, the trio reconnects with Sarah and sit down to set things right, with one of Jumanji's unique horrors coming out with every turn.

You know, I definitely remember enjoying this one as a kid, but I figured its childish nature wouldn't sit that well to my adult eyes. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a non-stop adventure, and every roll of the dice kept things fresh, from killer mosquitoes to an indoors rainstorm that quickly floods the house to a ruthless big game hunter who's been hunting Allan for over a quarter century. As Jumanji begins taking over the house, utter chaos reigns in short order. Needless to say, it's a lot of fun, and it certainly helped that the special effects that brought these fantastic elements to life were well above par. You can definitely tell where practical effects end and CGI begins, but they were leagues better than what you'd expect to see out of the mid 90s. Well, except the monkeys; admittedly they looked pretty bad, but their antics were entertaining enough to earn a little slack.

At first, this might seem a strange movie to choose for a memorial, because while Robin Williams was damned good in this, it really wasn't the manic persona that people typically associate with him. To be honest though, that's one of the reasons I remember this so fondly, and it's a nice reminder that he could still be funny without having to resort to a hyperactive man-child. His childhood friend Sarah was played by Bonnie Hunt, who had a very nice chemistry with Williams as far as bridging the two adults with Allan's childish mindset, and fortunately the two kids, Bradley Pierce and a young Kirsten Dunst, didn't create too much collateral damage as young stars so often do. Also, special nods to Jonathan Hyde in the dual roles of Allan's father and Jumanji's vicious game hunter and the hysterical David Alan Grier, who handled the more slapstick moments.

I'm sure this one can be found in the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart, and it's certainly a worthy buy. This family-friendly adventure will certainly put a smile on your face. 8/10.

Rest in Peace: Robin Williams (07/21/1951 - 08/11/2014)
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 08/19/2014, 01:56 PM
Oddly enough, picked this up only a few weeks ago on amazon for $8. Still as good as it was when I was 8.

Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 08/19/2014, 09:54 PM
I watched this with my kids the day before he died 8/10
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