Friday, December 14, 2012

Jumanji (1995)

In 1969, a young Alan Parrish finds a board game named Jumanji. After taking a beating from a group of bullies, and hiding in his father’s shoe factory, Alan takes the board game home. Alan plans to run away from home after an argument with his father, but things change when Sarah, the girlfriend of the ring leader for the bullies, shows up to return his stolen bike. Alan convinces Sarah to play Jumanji with him, but after a roll of the dice, Alan is sucked into the board game, and Sarah is scared off by a swarm of bats.

Twenty-six years later, two young children named Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce) move into Alan’s childhood home after their parent’s sudden and tragic deaths. Aunt Nora (Bebe Neuwrith) is the guardian, and Nora will have her hands full with a disrespectful niece and a strange nephew. Plus, Jumanji will only complicate Nora’s problems. One day, while snooping around in the attic, Judy and Peter find the Jumanji board game. Unaware of its evil powers, Judy and Peter decide to play Jumanji. After a few rolls of the dice, Judy and Peter free Alan from the board game. Now twenty-six years older, Alan (Robin Williams) will have to find Sarah, and with Peter and Judy’s help, the group will have to finish one game of Jumanji. Finshing the game will restore Alan’s normal life as a child, send the wild jungle animals back to their homes, and stop Jumanji’s magical path of destruction.

Well, I’m burnt out on 2012 stuff right now, so I decided to watch Jumanji. As a kid, I LOVED this movie. Hell, I begged my mother to buy me the board game for my birthday.

It took me a while to realize it, but the kid, who plays Judy is a young Kirsten Dunce. Robin Williams is predictably whacky as usual, and the rest of the cast is solid. Although, David Alan Grier is annoying at times. I used to enjoy his work on Living Color, but with the exception of a flashback at the beginning, his character is so obnoxious and over the top. 

Jumanji was a fun experience as a child, but I’m older now, and this film didn’t do anything for me. The CGI monkeys look so fake, the special effects are horribly outdated, and it’s hard to ignore. The humor is pretty lame, and Johnathan Hyde is a problem here. I’m not complaining about his performances, but Hyde portrays two characters in this film: Alan’s father and Van Pelt, a hunter, who emerges from Jumanji. Even with the beard as Van Pelt, it’s so easy to see the same guy as two characters. There’s no illusion, and Hyde’s double duty just kills any interest in both characters.

I can watch the live action Ninja Turtles films (the first two, because I still despise the third one and the time travel bullshit) and Home Alone 2 now a days, and I’ll still experience those great feelings of nostalgia. I can’t say the same thing about Jumanji. I chuckled a few times, and I enjoyed some of the adventurous action sequences (mainly the flood and man-eating vine attacks in the house towards the end), but overall, Jumanji was too dull for me.

Final Rating: 4/10

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