JUMANJI (1995) Review: A Game Worth Playing? | Lighttrain

Hello, hello! Once again, this is your conductor speaking and tonight we’ll be looking back on Jumanji. Not the recent Dwayne Johnson remake, but the 1995 original starring the late and great Robin Williams. This review, for your information, wasn’t planned. The film I had scheduled I wasn’t able to see yet, so this one is entirely off on a loop. I also suppose this post could be considered the spiritual successor to the Waterworld review earlier this month, as both are cheesy, 90s action flicks that are “just good enough” in my books. Whoops, did I spoil my summary? Oh dear, well, please stick around for a more… in-depth analysis. For those who stayed, thank you bunches and let’s get this show on the road!

A very mysterious — and possibly supernatural — board game titled Jumanji falls into the hands of two young kids, siblings Peter and Judy Shepard. They begin to play this game, simply because of curiosity’s thirst. It’s just a quaint little board game to pass the time with, or is it? They soon release the grizzled Alan Parrish, a man who had been trapped in the jungle world of the game for decades, as well as a bevy of dangerous herds of animals and critters. Will the reluctant bunch finally complete the game and retain the game’s curse?

I definitely like the film’s concept, centering around this supernatural board game. That’s a pretty interesting idea to play around with, so I commend the creativity. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that I wasn’t unsatisfied by the payoff of the directions the plot went, as the fragmented nature of the structure can be a bit jarring. It keeps chopping back and forth between multiple storylines and I simply can’t comprehend every pinpoint precisely. The only possible letdown for some may be that the creatures that the game unleashes are maybe too generic, as if the creators weren’t having enough fun with the idea.

Robin Williams, rest in peace, almost carries the film on his back. If I were to exclude him and interchange actors with, I don’t know, Bruce Willis, a lot of the movie’s charm will dissolve. Thankfully, Williams is such a warm and amusing presence that any plot holes, conveniences, and special effects can be totally washed away. Right? Well, ok, maybe not entirety cleaning off the stain, but still a swell effort. The child actors, similar to the grandkids from Jurassic Park, do the best with what they were given. But indeed, Williams is a national treasure of acting and charisma. Thank you and goodnight everybody!

No, no, or course that isn’t all of it! Couldn’t just curtail the review there. Now, on with the show. The CGI, as understood from being something of a late debut, doesn’t hold up to today’s standards, particularly in the segments involving the monkeys. Sends chills down my spine every time! Perhaps I shouldn’t be ragging on this family feature from the 1990s, Nickelodeon age. For a family movie night with the kiddos, Jumanji will work a-ok, just don’t expect to get much out of the experience.

To be fair, while it may not be my thing, Jumanji holds up as a fast-paced adventure, even if the computer graphics less so. It’s kind of one of those movies that’s a challenge to criticize since it is so fantastical and ludicrous. It’s not meant to be analyzed of deep themes or techniques, it’s just pure entertainment. And if you’re in the mood, grab a Twix, put on a bathrobe, sit back and enjoy.

RATING: 5.5/10


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NEXT THURSDAY | Octerror Begins with a Review of Joe Dante’s Matinee!

13 thoughts on “JUMANJI (1995) Review: A Game Worth Playing? | Lighttrain

  1. I remember this one. This was when the CGI still wasn’t there completely…I did enjoy it…remember the…well it wasn’t the sequel but they were related.. a space version called Zathura?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Fantastic review Gavin! You always get me smiling at the way you word things. Nicely done! Enjoy some cornbread and have a relaxing weekend. ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜€ Oh, and stay safe and stellar!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I had to look up who Terry Gilliam is. *blush* Former member of the Monty Python troupe, huh? Maybe that’s why the name sounded familiar. The hubby likes Monty Python, but it was never my thing. So… I don’t know these things. Well… enjoy your cornbread muffins and Terry Gilliam films! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks. It’s actually a triple feature of Brazil, Time Bandits, and Jabberwocky. They aren’t related to Monty Python at all, besides the sense of humor and the one and only Terry. Ooh, maybe I should watch 12 Monkeys as well… anyways, have a good one!


  3. You know, I’ve never seen this movie. I was pushing 30 when this came out and I just didn’t have any interest. I’ve seen most of the re-make and it is amusing. I’m a fan of The Rock & Karen Gillan.

    I take it there was no trailer video and no bumper?

    And, the artwork. Did you draw that?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s a decent family film, but the remake is probably better because of pure entertainment value. Yeah, the “ad breaks” I do only really show up on bigger posts, rarely ever any reviews. They were originally designed just for Out of Order episodes, but they spread out because I love creating new bumpers for them! Also yes, all the drawings are original pieces. Signed them and keep them all in a box. Trying to get my hands on a binder to keep them in, but the art paper I use is often too big.

      ~~BONUS SCRIPT~~
      Out of Order episodes are the only weekly posts without an original art piece, ignoring update posts at least. It’s a monthly series for me to delve into more obscure topics, to allow commercial blocks, and so I can take a week break from drawing for a post.

      Liked by 1 person

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