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Reviewed January 29th, 2000 by John Randall


Jumanji is a unique story about the imagination becoming a reality.

The movie starts out in the 1800’s where you see some children bearing something that they are obviously scared of. Then we move to the 1960’s and see a young boy named Alan Parish who finds the box. Enclosed in the box is a weird looking board game called “Jumanji”. Getting a female friend to play the game with him – the young girl rolls the dice and the mysterious game makes bats appear. Alan then accidentally rolls the dice and actually gets sucked into the game.

We then fade into 26 years latter and two new kids find the game. When they begin to play, strange things appear: like giant mosquitoes, destructive monkeys and even a live lion in their house. Suddenly a strange man appears (Robin Williams) that looks like a bum off the street and scares the children. It is later learned that this strange man is actually Alan Parish who has been trapped inside the game for the past 20+ years. Now Alan and the two kids have to go and find the original woman who played the game originally with Alan all those years ago. All four of them must stick together, survive (floods, animals, hunters, etc.) and finish the most dangerous game together.

This movie is exciting. In fact, even though the movie is only rated PG, some parents might want to watch the movie first before allowing small children to see it. Some of the scenes are very intense.

Robin Willams pulls off the part of the older Alan very well. The supporting cast carries the story along ok, but you don’t get as much background on some people as you may like.

One of the best things about this movie is the special effects. You’ll have to see the movie for more on this, because to go into detail about it – would give too much of the movie away.

The ending couldn’t be any better.

The video is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen format and is 16x9 enhanced. The movie was originally released on DVD in 1997 and this seems to be the same awesome transfer. Colors, black levels, sharpness – everything – is about perfect. Columbia / TriStar did a fine job on this one.

The audio is presented in DD 5.1 and is amazing. When this disc came out the first time, it was one of the best 5.1 soundtracks out and it still is. The sound engulfs you in the movie. Dialogue seems very clear, and the special effect will rock your house. From the highest of highs to the lowest bass – you will hear it loud, clear and it will shake. Very well done.

The new collector’s edition really shines with the extras. They include: a great documentary called “Making Jumanji: The Realm of Imagination”, two more featurettes, commentary by the special effects people, an isolated score soundtrack, production notes and more. This disc’s extras are great.

Overall, this is a great entertaining film. Once again, Columbia / TriStar should get about the same appraise as the movie for this great DVD release. The movie is rated PG and runs about 104 minutes. Highly recommended.


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