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||TriStar Pictures|
|Box office||$262.8 million|
Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston. It's a loose adaptation of the 1981 children's book of the same name 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 best 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 back 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.
In 1869, near Brantford, New Hampshire, two boys bury a chest, which produces the sound of tribal drumbeats. A century later, Alan Parrish escapes a group of bullies and retreats to a shoe factory owned by his father, Sam. He finds Carl Bentley, an employee and friend of his, who reveals a new shoe prototype he invented. Alan misplaces the shoe and damages a machine, but Carl takes responsibility and loses his job. The bullies attack and steal Alan's bike upon him leaving the factory, but he soon follows the buried chest's drumbeats to a construction site. He finds the chest, which contains a board game called Jumanji and brings it home, where he gets into an argument with his father regarding attending a boarding school. Alan plans to run away, but is stopped just before leaving by his friend Sarah Whittle returning his bike, Alan then 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 reads the first message on the board and hears an eerie 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. Afterward, a swarm of bats appear and chase Sarah out of the mansion.
Twenty-six years later, 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. Two days later, Judy and Peter find Jumanji in the attic and begin playing it. Their rolls summon giant mosquitoes and a troop of monkeys. The game's instructions state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter's next roll releases a lion and an adult Alan, who locks the lion in a bedroom. As Alan makes his way out, he meets Carl, who is now working as a police officer. Alan, Judy, and Peter go to the now-abandoned shoe factory where a homeless man tells Alan that a heartbroken Sam abandoned the business to search for his missing son. Eventually, the factory closed, which caused Brantford's economic decline, Alan also finds out that both his parents had died a few years before his return. Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game they find she is now traumatized from her past, but they persuade her to join them.
Sarah's first move releases dangerous fast-growing plants, and Alan's next move releases a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, whom Alan first met in the jungle. The next roll summons a stampede of various animals and a pelican steals the game. Peter retrieves it, but Alan is arrested by Carl. Shortly after, Peter begins to slowly transform into a monkey after attempting to cheat. Back in town, the stampede wreaks havoc, and Van Pelt steals the game. Peter, Sarah, and Judy track Van Pelt to a department store, where they set booby traps to subdue him and retrieve the game, while Alan, who after revealing his identity to Carl, is set free. When the four return to the mansion, it is now completely overrun by jungle wildlife. They release one calamity after another until Van Pelt arrives and corners Alan. As Van Pelt prepares to shoot him, Alan drops the dice and lands the winning roll, which causes everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed.
Alan and Sarah return to 1969 as children but have memories of everything that happened. Alan reconciles with Sam, who tells his son that he doesn't have to attend boarding school and finally accepts him for who he is. Before leaving, Sam is informed by Alan that he was responsible for the shoe that damaged the factory's machine. After coming to the realization that Judy and Peter haven't been born yet, Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river, then Sarah gives Alan a kiss saying she would do it before she "feels too much like a kid".
In an alternate 1995, Alan and Sarah are married and expecting their first child. Alan's parents are still alive and successfully running the family business. Alan and Sarah meet Judy, Peter, and their parents for the first time during a Christmas party. Alan offers their father a job and convinces them to cancel their upcoming ski trip, averting their deaths. Elsewhere, two young French-speaking girls hear drumbeats while walking on a beach. Jumanji is seen lying partially buried in the sand.
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.
The filmings began in October 1994 and wrapped up in January 1995.
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
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 54% from 37 reviews, with an average rating of 5.68/10. The site's consensus reads: "A feast for the eyes with a somewhat malnourished plot, Jumanji is an underachieving 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 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's 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, 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.
In July 2012, rumors emerged that a remake of the film was already in development. In a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad said: "We're going to try and reimagine Jumanji and update it for the present." On August 1, 2012, it was confirmed that Matthew Tolmach would be producing the new version alongside William Teitler, who produced the original film.
On August 5, 2015, Sony Pictures Entertainment announced their plans to film a remake and set the release date as December 25, 2016. Internet reception to this announcement was negative, with some posters remarking that this announcement came too soon after the death of Williams. The news was also heavily criticized by Bradley Pierce and E! News, the latter of which stated that they felt that the remake was "unnecessary and kind of insulting". On January 14, 2016, it was announced that Jake Kasdan will direct the remake. On January 20, 2016, it was announced that the remake would be pushed back to July 28, 2017. In April 2016, Dwayne Johnson signed on to produce and star in the remake, while Variety, TheWrap and Deadline.com reported that Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas were in early talks to co-star. In August 2016, Dwayne Johnson confirmed that the film would not be a remake, rather a continuation of the 1995 film and that it would be filmed in Hawaii. In August, Johnson announced on his Instagram that Karen Gillan has been cast in the film. In September 2016, Johnson released a concept art of his character "The Smoldering" Dr. Bravestone. It is served as a direct sequel to the 1995 film.
The film, officially titled Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was released on December 20, 2017.
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. 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.
In 2014, a game board prop from the film was auctioned on eBay and sold for US$60,800.