Sign In Login and Sign In

Jumanji (DVD) Review

Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book Jumanji has been given the live action treatment with this epic adventure film. Its premise is simple: kids…

Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book Jumanji has been given the live action treatment with this epic adventure film. Its premise is simple: kids discover an ornately carved game box in the forest and become immersed in its fantasy world of wild monkeys, unruly lions and flying zebras.

Beginning in 19th-century New Hampshire, children bury a game that Alan Parrish (Adam Hann-Byrd) discovers in 1969 at a construction site near his father’s shoe factory and recovers at age 12 years. Recovering it allows him to save his relationship with both parents, save his job at the factory and avoid attending boarding school – all benefits which help prevent family separation.

At its debut at Toronto International Film Festival in 1995, critic Roger Ebert was underwhelmed with the film and described it as one of “the least imaginative and derivative kiddie fantasy films”. However, the movie became an incredible box office success with nearly $900 million worldwide gross. Much of its success can be attributed to Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt and Jonathan Hyde who all star in its cast.

Special effects were widely praised, as its CGI creeping vines, capering monkeys, and attacking alligators appear hyperreal and whimsical – much like Van Allsburg’s original illustrations. Unfortunately, filmmakers failed to use technology effectively by having Jumanji emerge with just one person dressed like an ordinary actor instead of as one of its exotic creatures – creating an overwhelming feeling that felt out of control and led to an array of computer-generated beasts without relevance to plot.

Three years after the debut of Jumanji, four teenagers are sent to detention for misbehaving: self-absorbed popular girl Bethany Walker (Madison Iseman), geeky Spencer Gilpin (Alex Wolff), aggressive footballer Fridge Johnson (Ser’Darius Blain) and bookish Martha Kaply (Morgan Turner). While cleaning out their locker, they discover an old game called Jumanji that they reluctantly begin playing.

As soon as they start playing, their lives become transformed into avatars based on their personalities: Spencer becomes archeologist Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), Bethany becomes jungle warrior Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan), Fridge is transformed into zoologist Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart), while Martha becomes cartographer Professor Shelly Overton (Jack Black).

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Smolder Bravestone makes this updated version of a childhood classic truly captivating, and keeps audiences smiling throughout. His charm, along with that of the cast members, keeps this movie enjoyable from start to finish. Additionally, the setting was more realistic this time around; scenes were shot on location in lush forests, beautiful beaches and mountains near Burnaby Bridge Studios for authenticity and unforgettable scenery – visitors looking for an experience can visit these spots to witness how it all went down; you might even take part in some activities like hiking, fishing and mountain biking around Burnaby Bridge Studios or try doing what characters did such as hiking, fishing or mountain biking around Burnaby Bridge Studios itself!