"Jumanji" (1995) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #140 Gem Mint 10.0
Director: Joe Johnston
Writer: Chris Van Allsburg (book), Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain
Starring: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Hann-Byrd, Laura Bell Bundy
Rated: PG for menacing fantasy action and some mild language
Runtime: 1h 44min
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Country: United States
Language: English | French
Available: on various VOD platforms
"When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped in it for decades - and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game."
You might like this if you like: Robin Williams, Adventure, Comedy, Family Movies, Fantasy, Kirsten Dunst, Animals, Board Games, Jonathan Hyde, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson, Adam Hann-Byrd, Laura Bell Bundy
Robin Williams in "Jumanji" (1995)
When I heard good things and raving reviews about the new Jumanji sequel I couldn’t help but get a little curious and a whole lotta nostalgic. I had also recently come to love Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson from specifically the remake / film "Baywatch" (2017) and his sweet, witty hosting and heartfelt speech at the "MTV Movie & TV Awards 2016".
I wanted to start from the beginning because it had been a good stack of years since I’d seen the original with my good ol’ fav Robin Williams!
Bonnie Hunt (left), Kirsten Dunst (middle) & Bradley Pierce (right) in "Jumanji" (1995)
The film still stands up to today for me but also went more above and beyond than I could’ve remembered. The CGI (computer generated images), for its time of 1995 and for me, was pretty impressive. I certainly remembered being frightened as a kid by some of those CG animals. But what was even more impressive to me was the use of the mechanical puppets (which is rare in Hollywood these days due to CGI). I always love seeing those. Because you know it’s there. You know the actors are getting to see and feel it too. That’s why John Carpenter’s "The Thing" (1982) is one of my all time favorites. The lion in this movie though was outstanding. The makeup. The effects. The action.
Having recently watched "Back to the Future" (1985) I felt it had the same fairy tale adventure feel to it and couldn’t help but think that "Jumanji" (1995) is also an awesome time travel film. I’m surprised in the slew of time travel references Endgame didn’t make a nod to it.
Speaking of nods and references I couldn’t help notice and LOVE the similarities it had with Netflix’s "Stranger Things" specifically the 'Demagorgan'’s design and that flower in Jumanji looks damn identical... and I love it. A great homage to a great special effects creature 👌.
Everyone in it was fantastic. Robin Williams as expected for me. He was what I remembered the most going in this time. It really had been forever it felt like watching almost for the first time at least with adult eyes.
Kirsten Dunst stood out! I completely forgot she was in this! The brother, played by Bradley Pierce, and Bonnie Hunt were terrific! I really got attached to Robin William’s kid actor we get introduced to in the beginning and the end and I love, love, love that scene with him and his father. His dad’s face when he hears the kid apologizing and that love just rushes over him... beautiful moment. And his dad just says “I’m sorry too”.
My favorite shot of the entire film is the lion’s tail falling on the piano keys.
Bradley Pierce (left) Kirsten Dunst (middle, left), Bonnie Hunt (middle, right) & Robin Williams (right) in "Jumanji" (1995)
The only thing, and I have no problem with it at all, is I was surprised and for some reason remembered incorrectly, that they NEVER let you see the OTHER side. We never get a glimpse into the actual world of Jumanji ... until, 22 years later, in the sequel. It just seemed like an obvious thing to do when rewatching this but again, I loved it no less. In fact I love it more now because that’s what makes it different from these new ones. I’m less comparing and more curious to see what the world of Jumanji is like! But man what a classic. If it hadn’t been for these new ones I may not have rewatched for a very long time. And I’m mad at myself for not rewatching and watching these new ones sooner!
Written by Sam Gall on January 17, 2020
CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0
"With plenty of laughs, action-packed excitement, great music (by James Horner), spectacular sets, and inspirational themes, this film is an absolutely winning adventure." - Mike Massie, Gone With The Twins
"The joy of Jumanji is in how sparingly director Joe Johnston deploys his arsenal of computers, making the tricks and shocks the more real." - Quentin Curtis, Independent on Sunday
"This smart, scary film, is still a favorite to dust off and take from the "vhs" bin" - Emily Blunt, Blunt Review
"A visually impressive and exhilarating adventure that keeps the suspense, thrills and comedy running high through the surprising end and supplies interesting characters with moving plights that keep the audience rooting." - Christine James, Boxoffice Magazine
"Unsatisfied with just being cute, this sucker wound up being both fun and clever." - Widgett Walls, Needcoffee.com
Behind the Scenes: