All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Jumanji

Starring: Robin Williams, Bradley Pierce
Director: Joe Johnston
Rated: PG
RunTime: 104 Minutes
Release Date: December 1995
Genres: Kids, Family, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

*Also starring: Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, Jonathan Hyde, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Hann-Byrd, Laura Bell Bundy

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Dragan Antulov read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

After electronically surveying friends and coworkers about whether JUMANJI would scare the daylights out of my son Jeffrey (soon to be 7), we finally agreed it was time to give it a try. The voting before we went was running about two to one that we should take him, but there was a vocal minority warning us that since Jeffrey can frighten easily, we should not get anywhere near the show. Since Jeffrey is a big movie buff like his Daddy, in the end he decided to go, so the whole family went on President's Day. Five minutes into the movie, Jeffrey was in my lap declaring, "We should have gone to MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND." Notwithstanding his periodic fear during the film, we all three loved it immensely. It is a great mixture of action, humor, special effects, and poignancy.

As JUMANJI starts, it is a dark, foggy, and spooky night in New Bedford, Massachusetts in the year 1869, and the coyotes are wailing away. Two children are burying a box. A hundred years later, a boy named Alan Parrish (Adam Hann-Byrd), finds this box and inside is a board game called Jumanji. He and his friend Sarah (Laura Bell Bundy) decide to play the game. When they throw the dice, the pieces move by themselves so Sarah figures "it must be magnets".

Soon the game turns out to be pretty terrifying. After each turn, ferocious jungle animals come out to attack them. After one turn, Alan gets the message, "In the jungle you must wait until the dice read five or eight." He is thereupon sucked into the game, and Sarah runs screaming out of the room since she is now scared out of her wits.

The story skips ahead to 1995. The old abandoned Parrish house is being occupied by a new set of young children, Peter (Bradley Michael Pierce) and Judy (Kirsten Dunst), along with their Aunt Nora (Bebe Neuwirth). The kids find Jumanji, and again, the pieces move by themselves which causes Judy to comment "it must be microchips." Soon however, all hell is unleashed on the town, but at least the first throw of the correct number frees Alan (now played by Robin Williams). To save the community from the destruction, they have to finish the game and to do this they must find Sarah (now played by Bonnie Hunt) and get her to play too.

The logo for this show should have been a whirlwind. Getting sucked into the game is pictured as a whirlwind, and the frantic and marvelous pacing by director Joe Johnston sweeps the audience in as well. A wonderful roller coaster of a good time at the movies to use another metaphor. And funny. The script by Jonathan Hensleigh, Jim Strain, and Greg Taylor, which is based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, is naturally hilarious with great sight gags. Among my many favorites were the monkeys driving the police motorcycle and the one of the flood, but there were many more. The beauty of the story itself is that it naturally sets an horrific pace. Be sure and take everyone to the bathroom before entering, you will not be able to miss a minute of this.

After the story, the director is the one who deserves the most credit. He had his actors in control and everything set up perfectly. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and executed precisely. The cinematography (Thomas Ackerman) with the dark and shadowy interiors was excellent at evoking a far away jungle. Usually extraordinary special effects, as these are, dazzle the audience and focuses the audience's attention on the mechanics of the effects. Here, the special effects, i.e., all of the animals, were great, but they complimented the story rather than dominating it.

All of the actors were fine albeit not on par with the story or the directing. My favorite was Kirsten Dunst's performance of the little girl who told one tall tale after another. Robin Williams was well cast as a serious and sad character, and the director keep him in control so that Williams did slip into his comedic role.

JUMANJI runs a blazing fast 1:40. It is rated PG for violence, e.g., a stampede of rhinos, but no one gets killed in the show. There is no sex, nudity, smoking, etc. Except for the violence, and that is a big except, this would have been a G rated show. There are no swear words in the show, a minor miracle today. Jeffrey says he would recommend it for kids 5 or 6 and up, and he enthusiastically gives it two thumbs up. His dad recommends the movie, but still would caution parents of kids under 10 that the special effects can be terrifyingly real. What if you walked into your bedroom now and a real lion roared at you from your bed? Would you be scared? Finally, I award it ***.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

More reviews:    Main  2   3   Next >>
Lord of the Rings
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us