December 15, 1995
1 hours and 44 minutes (104 minutes)
Samuel Alan Parrish / Van Pelt
David Alan Grier
Carol Anne Parrish
Laura Bell Bundy
Gary Joseph Thorup
Ice Cream Man (uncredited)
Tom Woodruff Jr.
Lion / Crocodile (uncredited)
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Great SFX, average story
By Jack Anderson
on June 8, 2019
A FAMILY MOVIE
Jumanji is the family movie of the 90's by definition. In the same vein as Home Alone or Hook. It has this kind of wonderful magic that only the 90's movies behold, like a secret known by millions. I miss the 90's. I miss the world without Internet. Things were much simpler back then. But I digress.
A LONG INTRODUCTION
The interesting thing about this film is that it has one of the longest introductions ever, running at precisely 30 minutes! It is only after 30 minutes that we are getting introduced to Robin Williams – even though we saw his character as a boy earlier in the film.
Released two years after Jurassic Park, this film was an example at the time of special effects so great that you couldn't quite know that they actually were special effects. Moviegoers were dazzled and impressed by the special effects of that film. If you are born after 2000, you probably will wonder how these special effects
A STORY? WHAT STORY?!
While the special effects are obviously great, the main problem of the film is its story, or the lack of a story. If you think about Jurassic Park, a film with revolutionary special effects released two years before, it had a great and thrilling story. In Jumanji, we simply go from one plague to another, as if this was the ten commandments.
But the problem is that we don't even have clear sections. We go from one to another and while the movie is not a mess, it is not easy to follow.
Here is the list of the plays:
1. Bats and the young Robin Williams' character stuck into the game.
5. The plan
6. The hunter
7. Many animals (elephants, zebras, pelicans)
8. Peter transforms into a monkey
9. Water, lots of it (and a crocodile)
At the end, beyond the special effects, I will remember the emotions, supported by the great soundtrack from James Horner and obviously Robin Williams.
I give it 4 out of 10. Average. Technically mastered, but lacking in terms of the story.
Throw the dice and take a turn, Jumanji made the critics gurn.
Jumanji is directed by Joe Johnston and based on Chris Van Allsburg's short story of the same name. It stars Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce and Jonathan Hyde. The story is about a weird board game that when played unleashes hazards from the jungle with every throw of the dice. Once you have started playing you have to finish the game for normality to be resumed.
Simple in plot and coming off as an excuse to show off some impressive effects -said the critics - Jumanji defied the critics of the time to become a box office winner and a family favourite. Enough of a favourite to spawn a sequel (Zathura 2005), an animated TV series and a board game. In truth the film is reliant on the effects to entertain, with the cast (all competent and enjoyable) merely lurching from one perilous throw of the dice to another. But to call the film shallow is wrong and ignorant. There's flecks of bad parenting, peer pressure, grief and bullying, while the impact of a missing child on one town is a noteworthy addition to the story line. You wonder if those critics actually paid attention during their free viewings?
Yes it's berserker family fun, but it's not without worth in the writing either. Besides which, for the action set pieces and the laughs, they alone mean the film has its merits. 7/10
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