Monday, April 22, 2013

Jumanji (1995)

Number Rolled: 92
Movie Name/Year: Jumanji (1995)
Genre: Children and Family
Length: 104 minutes
Rating: PG
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain, Chris Van Allsburg
Actors: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Hann-Byrd, Laura Bell Bundy, James Handy, Gillian Barber

In the 1960’s, Alan, a young boy plagued by a busy father and many bullies, finds a strange game buried in his family’s factory. He brings it home and convinces his friend, Sarah, to play with him. His turn, however, finds him sucked into the game for over twenty years. Only when two children (Judy and Peter) find the game again, and one of them rolls a five, is Alan freed. Unfortunately, they learn they must finish the game in order to undo the harm that was done by starting it.

This movie got very mixed reviews, but I’m on the side that thinks it’s fantastic. It was just over an hour and a half, but I would swear it was shorter. You might think watching people play a board game would be dull (unless you’re a fan of Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, of course) but it’s got a constant flow of story line that keeps it interesting.

I have an advantage for this particular review. Jumanji is a children’s movie so watching it as an adult only gives me a single perspective. However, the first time I saw this, I was around twelve years old. For this reason, I have the unique ability to review this movie from the perspective of a child as well. I remember watching the movie back then. I didn’t quite get the base moral of the story (at least not consciously) but it fed my imagination and kept me glued to the screen even then. As an adult watching one of my childhood favorites, I’m always worried that it’s going to seem different or bad. A lot of the time, that’s exactly what happened. Not with this movie, though. I found that I still enjoyed it just as much and that there were enough nuances for adults to keep me enthralled.

Long story short, I loved this movie in 1995, as a child as much as I do now, in 2013, as an adult. To be honest, I don’t see why it got mixed reviews. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but I don’t think I could come up with a good reason for it to be marked as “bad.”

Also, not-for-nothing, if this game existed, I would play it. I mean, the board game is available on, but obviously not with the same effects as the one in the movie. I wouldn’t play it often, but I would definitely play it. As it is, I’m contemplating getting a copy of the mundane version for my collection. Board games are not just for kids! If you think they are, you should really go take a look at the more complex games that are out there now-a-days.

Overall Opinion – 4/5

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