Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Joe Johnston|
by Chris Van Allsburg
|Music by||James Horner|
|Cinematography||Thomas E. Ackerman|
|Edited by||Robert Dalva|
|Distributed by||Sony Pictures Releasing|
|Box office||$262.8 million|
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy comedy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston. It is loosely based on the 1981 children's book by Chris Van Allsburg and the first installment of the Jumanji franchise. The film was written by Van Allsburg, Greg Taylor, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Jim Strain and stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth.
The story centers on a supernatural board game that releases jungle-based hazards upon its players with every turn they take. As a boy in 1969, Alan Parrish became trapped inside the game itself while playing with his friend Sarah Whittle. Twenty-six years later, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game, begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolves to finish the game in order to reverse all of the destruction it has caused and return to normal.
The film was released on December 15, 1995, to mixed reviews, but was a box office success, grossing $263 million worldwide on a budget of approximately $65 million. It was the 10th highest-grossing film of 1995.
The film spawned an animated television series, which aired from 1996 to 1999, and was followed by a related film, Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and two direct sequels, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), with Columbia Pictures taking over distribution for all subsequent films.
In 1869, near Brantford, New Hampshire, two boys bury a chest with the hopes that it is never dug up again.
A century later in 1969, Alan Parrish escapes a group of bullies and retreats to a shoe company owned by his father, Sam. He meets Carl Bentley, an employee, who reveals a new shoe prototype he made by himself. Alan misplaces the shoe and damages a machine, but Carl takes responsibility and loses his job. After being attacked by the bullies, who also steal his bicycle, Alan follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site. He finds the chest containing a board game called Jumanji and brings it home.
At home, after an argument with his father about attending a boarding school, Alan plans to run away. Sarah Whittle, his friend, arrives to return his bicycle, and Alan shows her Jumanji and invites her to play. With each roll of the dice, the game piece moves by itself and a cryptic message describing the roll's outcome appears in the crystal ball at the center of the board. Sarah rolls her first turn and she and Alan both hear an eerie squeaking sound. Alan then unintentionally rolls the dice after being startled by the chiming clock; a message tells him to wait in a jungle until someone rolls a five or eight, and he is sucked into the game. Afterwards, a swarm of bats appears and chases Sarah out of the mansion.
Twenty-six years later in 1995, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the vacant Parrish mansion with their aunt Nora, after their parents died in an accident on a ski trip in Canada the winter before. The next day, Judy and Peter find Jumanji in the attic and begin playing it. Their first rolls summon big mosquitoes and a swarm of monkeys. The game rules state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter's next roll, a five, releases a lion and an adult Alan. As Alan makes his way out, he meets Carl, who is now working as a police officer. While Carl asks Alan who he is, the monkeys hijack his police cruiser and drive off in it, and he chases after them in hot pursuit. Alan, Judy, and Peter go to the now-abandoned shoe factory where a homeless man tells Alan that Sam abandoned the business to search for Alan after his disappearance, until his death four years prior. Eventually, the factory closed which caused Brantford's economic decline.
Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game, the three locate Sarah, who is now haunted by both Jumanji and Alan's disappearance, and persuade her to join them. Sarah's next roll releases fast-growing carnivorous vine plants that almost eat Peter, and Alan's next roll releases a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, whom Alan first met in the jungle.
Judy's next roll summons a herd of various animals, including rhinoceroses, elephants, and zebras that cause a stampede, and a pelican steals the game. Peter retrieves it from a river, but on the way back to the mansion, Alan is arrested by Carl, who has recovered his car after the monkeys crashed it. Peter tries to finish the game himself but turns into a monkey after attempting to cheat. Later, the stampede wreaks havoc in town, and Van Pelt steals the game. Peter, Sarah, and Judy follow Van Pelt to a discount store, where they battle him and retrieve the game, while Alan, after revealing his identity to Carl, is set free and comes to their rescue.
When the four return to the mansion, it is now completely overrun by jungle wildlife. They are under attack by one calamity released after another until Van Pelt arrives. When Alan drops the dice, he wins the game, which causes everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed, all the way back to just before Alan was first pulled in.
Alan and Sarah find themselves back in 1969 as children but have memories of the events that took place. Alan reconciles with Sam, who tells his son that he does not have to attend boarding school if he doesn’t want to. Alan admits that he was responsible for the shoe that damaged the factory's machine. Alan and Sarah chain up Jumanji and throw it into a river, then share a kiss as they walk off.
In 1995, Alan and Sarah are married and expecting their first child. Alan's parents are still alive and successfully running the family business. He and Sarah see Judy and Peter and their parents Jim and Martha during a Christmas party. Alan offers Jim a job and convinces them to cancel their upcoming ski trip, averting their deaths in the previous timeline.
On a beach, two young French-speaking girls hear drumbeats while walking, as Jumanji lies partially buried in the sand.
- Robin Williams as Alan Parrish
- Adam Hann-Byrd as Young Alan Parrish
- Kirsten Dunst as Judy Shepherd
- Bradley Pierce as Peter Shepherd
- David Alan Grier as Carl Bentley
- Bonnie Hunt as Sarah Whittle
- Laura Bell Bundy as Young Sarah Whittle
- Jonathan Hyde as Samuel Parrish and Van Pelt
- Bebe Neuwirth as Nora Shepherd
- James Handy as The Exterminator
- Patricia Clarkson as Carol-Anne Parrish
- Malcolm Stewart as James Shepherd
- Annabel Kershaw as Martha Shepherd
- Gary Thorup as Billy Jessup
- Frank Welker provides the special vocal effects
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2019)
While Peter Guber was visiting Boston, he invited author Chris Van Allsburg, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, to option his book. Van Allsburg wrote one of the screenplay's drafts, which he described as "sort of trying to imbue the story with a quality of mystery and surrealism". Van Allsburg added that the studio nearly abandoned the project if not for his film treatment, which earned him a story credit given it added story material that was not from the book.
TriStar Pictures agreed to finance the film on the condition that Robin Williams plays the starring role. However, Williams turned down the role based on the first script he was given. Only after director Joe Johnston and screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor and Jim Strain undertook extensive rewrites did Williams accept. Johnston had reservations over casting Williams because of the actor's reputation for improvisation, fearing that he wouldn't adhere to the script. However, Williams understood that it was "a tightly structured story" and filmed the scenes as outlined in the script, often filming duplicate scenes afterwards where he was allowed to improvise with Bonnie Hunt.
Shooting took place in various New England locales, mainly Keene, New Hampshire, which represented the story's fictional town of Brantford, New Hampshire, and North Berwick, Maine, where the Olde Woolen Mill stood in for the Parrish Shoe Factory. Additional filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, where a mock-up of the Parrish house was built.
Special effects were a combination of more traditional techniques like puppetry and animatronics (provided by Amalgamated Dynamics) with state-of-the-art digital effects overseen by Industrial Light & Magic. ILM developed two new software programs specifically for Jumanji, one called iSculpt, which allowed the illustrators to create realistic facial expressions on the computer-generated animals in the film, and another that for the first time created realistic digital hair, used on the monkeys and the lion. Actor Bradley Pierce (Peter) underwent three and a half hours of prosthetic makeup application daily for a period of two and a half months to film the scenes where he transformed into a monkey.
Jumanji was released in theaters on December 15, 1995.
Jumanji was first released on VHS on May 14, 1996, and re-released as a Collector's Series DVD on January 25, 2000. In the UK, the film was also released on DVD as a special edition bundled with the Jumanji board game. The film was first released on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011, and re-released as a 20th Anniversary Edition on September 14, 2015. A restored version was released on December 5, 2017 on Blu-ray and 4K UHD to coincide with the premiere of the sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
|Jumanji: Complete Motion Picture Score|
|Film score (Digital download)/Audio CD by|
|Released||November 21, 1995|
Commercial songs from film, but not on soundtrack
- "Una Voce Poco Fa"
- "Night & Day"
- Written by Cole Porter
- "Serenade in D, Op. 44"
- "Locomotive Breath"
- "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" (Theme from Gilligan's Island)
- "Dark Continent (Native Terror)"
- Composed by James Horner
- " Main theme of The Soundtrack
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2019)
Jumanji did well at the box office, opening at #1 and earning $100.5 million in the United States and Canada and an additional $162.3 million overseas, bringing the worldwide gross to $262.8 million.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 54% from 37 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's consensus reads: "A feast for the eyes with a somewhat shaky plot, Jumanji is a good adventure that still offers a decent amount of fun for the whole family". On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on 18 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.
Roger Ebert rated the film 1.5 out of 4 stars, criticizing its reliance on special effects to convey its story which he felt was lacking. He questioned the decision to rate the film PG rather than PG-13 as he felt that young children would be traumatized by much of the film's imagery, which he said made the film "about as appropriate for smaller children as, say, Jaws". He specifically cited Peter's monkey transformation as making him "look like a Wolf Man [...] with a hairy snout and wicked jaws" that were likely to scare children. Regarding the board game's unleashing one hazard after another at its main characters, Ebert concluded: "It's like those video games where you achieve one level after another by killing and not getting killed. The ultimate level for young viewers will be being able to sit all the way through the movie".
Van Allsburg approved of the film despite the changes from the book and it not being as "idiosyncratic and peculiar", declaring that "the film is faithful in reproducing the chaos level that comes with having a jungle animal in the house. It's a good movie".
Zathura: A Space Adventure
Zathura: A Space Adventure, the spiritual successor that was marketed as being from the same continuity of the Jumanji franchise was released as a feature film in 2005. Unlike the book Zathura, the film makes no references to the previous film outside of the marketing statement. Both films are based on books written by Chris Van Allsburg. With the films being based on books that take place in the same series, the films vaguely make reference to that concept from the novels by having a similar concept and themes.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
A new film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 film. The film contains a whole new set of characters with no original cast from the original film reprising their roles. The film sees four teenagers in 2016 who are stuck in Jumanji video game, where as game avatars must finish the game and save Jumanji. Plans for a sequel started in the late 1990s by Sony Pictures Entertainment and the original director Ken Ralston, a visual effects supervisor of the original film, was hired to direct a film, with Christmas 2000 release date, but Ralston stepped down and the sequel was cancelled. The development of the sequel again emerged in 2010s upon which then-president of Columbia Pictures Doug Belgrad teased a possibility of the project in July 2012; the project was confirmed three years later in August, with a new director Jake Kasdan directing it and starring Dwayne Johnson. The film was released on December 20, 2017 as a tribute to Robin Williams's lead and his character is mentioned within the film.
Jumanji: The Next Level
A fourth film in the franchise titled, Jumanji: The Next Level, a sequel to Welcome to the Jungle was released on December 13, 2019. Bebe Neuwirth reprises her role as Nora Shepherd in a cameo at the end of the film.
In other media
An animated television series was produced between 1996 and 1999. While it borrowed heavily from the film – incorporating various characters, locations and props, and modelling Alan's house and the board game on the way they appeared in the film – the series retcons[jargon] rather than using the film's storyline. In the series version, on each turn, the players are given a "game clue" and then sucked into the jungle until they solve it. Alan is stuck in Jumanji because he has not seen his clue. Judy and Peter try to help him leave the game, providing their motivation during the series, while Sarah is absent from the series.
Jumanji: The Game is a board game originally published by Milton Bradley Company in the US in 1995. An updated version with new colorized artwork was released in 2017 by Cardinal Games. Some of the riddle message texts on the danger cards were changed, especially the unique danger messages. Jumanji: A Jungle Adventure Game Pack is a North American-exclusive game for Microsoft Windows that was released on October 9, 1996. It was developed by Studio Interactive and published by Philips Interactive Media. It contains five different action-arcade-based mini-games that are based on popular scenes from the film. Clips of cutscenes from the film can also be viewed. There are five different mini-games that the player can choose from, with different rules and objectives. Animals from the film provide instructions to the player for each mini-game, except for the Treasure Maze mini-game, where the Jumanji board game spirit provides instructions instead. Notably, players cannot play the actual Jumanji board game from the film. All of these mini-games contain rounds (or levels) and when players reach a goal, that level is cleared and the player advances to a more difficult version of the mini-game. The player must try to score as many points as possible, and set the best high score.
In 2011, Robin Williams recorded an audiobook for Van Allsburg's book's 30th edition to coincide its release.
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