Time: 104 mins.
Genre: Action Adventure/Fantasy
I don't normally go out of my way to see movies that are marketed to kids. I like more adult fare, but I have to say the trailers for this film intrigued me. The special effects looked, and are, amazing, with wild animals rampaging as the major draw. Unfortunately, like most other films that have great visual effects, the plot and characterizations are somewhat weak and undeveloped. Will you care all that much? In the case of JUMANJI, not really. The pacing of this film, which is non-stop action, keeps your eyes glued to the screen, even though it doesn't really engage your heart or your brain. Though it's based on a children's classic, it's more roller-coaster ride than a well-rounded novel. It may not have depth, but it does have scare after scare, and it's PG-Rating should be taken somewhat seriously. Nobody plays the board game twice for a reason. It may not be as scary as Freddy, but being chased by crocodiles and lions is no day in the park.
The film opens with the burial of this old board game, which apparently calls to people who are unhappy with their lives. Over a century later, 12-year-old Alan Parrish finds the game buried near his father's workplace. He convinces his neighbor Sarah to play the jungle game only to be sucked into the board on one of his first rolls. Sarah runs for her life when her friend disappears before her eyes. Once the game has been started it must be finished or the creatures unleased from its' magical world will stay in yours forever.
Unfortunately for Alan, the game is put away for 26 years, trapping him within the Jumanji jungle, until two new lonely, dispirited children, Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce) uncover the game. Still dealing with the death of their parents, the youngsters decide to play a round only to rescue a now-adult Alan from his banishment within the game. Of course, in order to properly finish the game they need to find Sarah (Hunt) and convince her to continue rolling the dice, no matter what happens, until somebody wins. Sarah is highly reluctant, but once she sees her old friend again she agrees to participate. What happens next is a series of close calls with various flora, fauna and fanged creatures. All of which they must defeat, not only to stay alive, but to continue on with the game.