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Movie Review of Jumanji the Movie (1995 Movie)

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Jumanji movie review

Jumanji movie review

Jumanji movie review

Before reading the Jumanji movie review below, can you guess what the first line of this movie, Jumanji, is?

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. What is the first line of the movie, Jumanji?
    • "Don't worry, it's just a coyote howling."
    • "Don't worry, it's just a pack of wolves."
    • "Don't worry, it's just the wind."
    • "Don't worry, it's just thunder."

Answer Key

  1. "Don't worry, it's just a pack of wolves."

Movie Review of Jumanji the movie

Movie Review of Jumanji the movie

Jumanji the movie is a 1995 movie starring the actor Robin Williams.

The movie Jumanji opens and the very first line of Jumanji the movie is “Don’t worry, it’s just a pack of wolves”. In this, the opening scene of Jumanji the movie, the year is 1869. Two little boys are acting very spooked as they bury a wooden chest. The younger one asks the older boy, “What if someone digs it up” and the older boy responds, “Then, God help [his/her] soul”.

  • Fast forward to 100 years later in the setting of the movie Jumanji, in the year 1969, a little boy is being chased by a pack of bullies on bicycles.
  • In Jumanji the movie, this little boy's father is the wealthy owner of a shoe factory and the boy runs there to escape the bullies. He sheepishly asks his father for a ride home.

Jumanji the movie

1. This is not a place to be playing around

  • His father says that the factory is no place for a little boy to come and play around. It is dangerous and he needs to go back out there and face his bullies like a man.
  • As the boy goes back out there, he gets beat up pretty badly by the other boys. This includes a black eye and a bloody lip.
  • They steal his bike as well and he begins to walk home but before leaving the outdoor premises of the factory, he pulls a wooden chest out of an area where construction is going on, the same wooden chest that was buried 100 years prior!
  • He opens the wooden chest, and finds a board game called Jumanji. He thinks that the game, Jumanji looks really cool. He tucks the Jumanji board game under his arm and takes it home.

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JUMANJI MOVIE REVIEW

2. The boy goes home

The boy goes home, temporarily hides the Jumanji game, and later, eats his dinner all alone at a long dining table while his Mom and Dad get ready to go to a formal attire social function.

His Mom and Dad inform him that they are sending him to a preparatory boarding school where many of the successful people in his family attended. The dormitory where he would live has his last name, Parrish and was named after his grandfather. His father and uncle went to that school as well for example, but the little boy takes the news very poorly.


3. Going to boarding school?

  • He does not want to leave home and tells his parents, “So, you don’t want me to live here anymore?”
  • His Mom does not have many lines in the movie but she seems to empathize with the boy and seems saddened that the news of him being sent off to school makes him unhappy.
  • His father is very stern, frustrated and somewhat agitated by the boy’s reaction to the news that he will be sent away for school.
  • The mother and father leave as the father drives away for the event that they are attending and the mother sits in the front passenger seat of the car.
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So, you don't want me to live here anymore?

— Young Alan to his parents in Jumanji the movie

Young Alan is livid and he makes a plan to leave. He packs up and makes sure to include some snacks when he's packing.

4. Don't forget the snacks

The young boy (Alan Parrish) is livid and begins to pack up, snacks included, as if he is running away from home. As Alan opens the front door of the large house, suitcase in hand, a girl that he has a crush on is standing there to tell him that she brought his bike back home to him. Her boyfriend was one of his bullies from earlier that day. Alan tells her that he did not need any favors and says that he was planning to go get his bike back for himself.

Jumanji the movie

Jumanji the movie (1995 movie)

Jumanji the movie (1995 movie)

5. What's that noise?

Then, they both hear a noise and go into the house. The noise sounds like the beating of drums and it is coming from the board game that Alan hid under the couch in the living room.

Alan tells the girl about the Jumanji game that he found and they open it up to play. She snidely remarks that she “quit playing board games five years ago” and gets up to leave but still she is intrigued as the Jumanji game pieces start moving by themselves at the throw of the dice.

  • They take a couple of turns playing the Jumanji game, the last of which sucks the boy right into the Jumanji board game where he is trapped for 26 years! The girl is attacked by bats that come out of the fireplace and chase her out of the house. She remains traumatized and in therapy for years to come while the boy, Alan lives surviving a jungle atmosphere in the Jumanji board game!
  • Everyone in the community assumes that Alan died probably by murder as he went missing. Various conspiracy theorists even thought that Alan's father might have murdered him as they had such a contentious relationship.


I quit playing board games five years ago.

— The girl that stops by to see a young Alan at his home in Jumanji the movie

In the year, 1995, a woman who is the guardian of two young children (siblings) - a girl (played by Kirsten Dunst) and a boy whose parents have both died in an accident takes them to live in the old Parrish house, so sizeable it can be considered a mansion but by now it is quite a fixer upper of a house. It has been locked up and unoccupied for a long time. The parents of the missing Parrish boy of 26 years prior have also died by this time.

Kirsten Dunst  on the set of Jumanji the movie

Kirsten Dunst on the set of Jumanji the movie

6. The children play the Jumanji game

  1. In Jumanji the movie, the two children especially the older girl, Judy are precocious and ungrateful.
  2. They have no desire to be living in this house.
  3. Their guardian who has spent a lot of time cleaning up much of the house is concerned one day as she is heading out the door.
  4. She wants to double check and make sure that the children will be okay boarding the school bus to go to school.
  5. Judy reassures her that they will be fine and the guardian leaves.
  6. Judy then turns to her little brother to confirm that he is hearing a noise too.
  7. They both run up the staircase toward the sound of beating drums and they find the game, Jumanji.


The Jumanji game creates chaos

The two children start playing this Jumanji game and all chaos breaks loose and with each turn the game sends monkeys, a massive lion and other wild animals. They run and dodge these animals.

Judy reassures her little brother not to worry or be too frightened. She says to him that everything that they are seeing is a hallucination of sorts and that it will all end when they finish playing and they had better follow the strict rules of the Jumanji game- to keep playing until the end. Along the way on one of their turns at the Jumanji game, they release the Parrish boy from the Jumanji game! He is now a grown man looking much like Tarzan of the jungle. He is also unshaven with a very bushy beard and really hairy legs. He is joyful and excited and runs around the house saying “I’m home. I’m home!” He thanks the kids for releasing him from the menacing Jumanji game. He asks where his Mom and Dad are and wants to know if Judy is his little sister. She says no and that she does not know about his parents.

Then, she asks if he is the Parrish boy and he confirms that he is.

Havoc ensues as the monkeys leave the house and go to the street. A police officer checking on things sees the now grown up Parrish boy played by Robin Williams, looking like a wild man and arousing suspicion. Robin Williams is very funny and David Alan Grier also gives a funny performance as the police officer. His facial expressions, like ‘what am I looking at?’ are quite comical.

I'm home! I'm home!

— Alan Parrish, all grown up in Jumanji the movie (1995 movie)

7. Stampedes and more in Jumanji the movie

Jumanji the movie continues on. Jumanji the movie is crazy, chaotic and absurd, sometimes intense and sometimes funny. Along the way, in Jumanji the movie, the grown Parrish boy recognizes the police officer as a man that used to work in his father’s factory 26 years ago (He was fired when he took the blame for something that the boy himself actually did, putting a sneaker that the man designed on a conveyer belt that caused a smoky malfunction in the system.)

In Jumanji the movie, the now grown Parrish boy gets cleaned up and shaven and recognizes that he is going to have to keep playing the Jumanji game along with the children. He also identifies that the 4th Jumanji game piece will also have to continue to be in play. He and the children go searching for the girl, now lady, that he was playing the game with 26 years prior.

When they locate her, she is thrilled to see the grown Parrish boy while at the same time completely paranoid and hysterical and sincerely afraid to get involved in playing the Jumanji game again. She tries to run away from them and they catch up with her and convince her to please join them and get involved in playing the Jumanji game until the end.

She says, “What if [she] gets trapped in the game”. The rest, starting with the grown Parrish boy say that they will never stop playing until the end and they make a pact to not stop playing until they reach the end.

As the four of them play the Jumanji game, all sorts of crazy things happen including a stampede of elephants, zebras and rhinos that they have to run from. The stampede takes it from the house to the streets and terrorizes the whole town. People are running everywhere, businesses including retail stores are abandoned and looting occurs. The police officer’s patrol car is destroyed but he still keeps driving it around, fruitlessly trying to maintain law and order, that is until a huge plant that eats everything (“Little Shop of Horrors” style) takes the patrol car away completely. The police officer, frustrated and defeated says, fine, “Go ahead, take it!” It’s hilarious and ‘over the top’.

Go ahead, take it!

— A police officer to a huge plant that eats his car in Jumanji the movie!

8. The four Jumanji game players

The four Jumanji game players quickly learn the strategy to speed up the Jumanji game because with each player’s turn another travesty occurs. The next Jumanji player rolls the dice to try to stop what happened when the previous Jumanji player rolled but everything is really compounded.

For example, they have to get to high ground when a monsoon wets them down. That higher ground really turns out to be the chandelier of the house! They even have to fight off a crocodile in the waters. Other examples include getting caught in quick sand and dodging the bullets of a hunter.

Somehow after so many adventures, the Jumanji game players make it to the end of the Jumanji game, with the grown Parrish boy being the last Jumanji player to play, the one that is able to declare “Jumanji”, game over! Just as a bullet is coming towards his head, all of it, the treachery and the danger gets sucked back into the Jumanji game. He and the now adult woman that he played the Jumanji game with 26 years prior hug each other and are taken back in time to the same evening when they were playing 26 years prior! They survived the Jumanji game! They are also allowed to continue on with their lives without any lost time, after all!

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  1. The Parrish boy’s father walks back in the door. It turns out that he had forgotten to take something along on his outing and was coming back to get it.
  2. The boy runs to his father and gives him a hug like he has never been happier to see him. His father says, “I was only gone five minutes!” Ha!
  3. The boy makes sure to tell his Dad that the malfunction at the factory earlier in the day was his fault and not the fault of his father’s employee. His father is glad to hear the truth. His father leaves again and the boy and girl talk.
  4. Of course, their experience has seriously bonded them. They throw the Jumanji game away to sink in the bottom of a river. They fall in love and later in life, as adults, they marry each other.

No time lost after all

I was only gone five minutes!

— Alan Parrish's Dad to Alan in Jumanji the movie

9. One day, at a Holiday party

One day, at a Holiday party that they host as a married couple in the big (and well maintained) Parrish house, they “meet” the little boy and girl that they had played the Jumanji game with. They remember them and feel bonded to them as well like they are their own children practically, after everything that they went through together.

The kids are those of their house guests at the party and they have to let on like they are meeting the kids for the first time. They have their memories. They remember the kids but the kids do not remember them.

Judy and her little brother’s parents mention that they might take a vacation and the Parrish couple say "NO!” as it is the same location where they were said to die in an accident leaving Judy and her brother as orphans (remember?). The Parrish couple convince the kids’ parents to forego the vacation and work instead.


The ending of Jumanji the movie

Other people in a faraway land, speaking a foreign language, stumble upon the game, Jumanji buried in the sand by the ocean. Translated, they are saying, “What’s that noise?” and the audience is left to believe that the saga will continue as the Jumanji game goes on to traumatize some other people!

(One can’t help but think that Jumanji is a play on the two words “jungle” and “Ouija” as the game is like a treacherous Ouija board that releases all of these dangerous jungle adventures. Just saying.)

…And so the movie ends.


What's that noise?

— A new group of people about to stumble upon the game, Jumanji.

Jumanji the movie

This Jumanji movie is kind of crazy but also interesting, entertaining and holding audience interest with both funny moments and moments that would be frightening for kids, along the way. Be careful, if a child is not old enough to be watching this Jumanji movie, it might give them a good scare. They might have to be talked through it a little bit and reminded that it is just a movie. This sometimes funny and sometimes intense adventure movie, Jumanji, chock full of special effects, is a good, entertaining watch.


Jumanji, the 1995 movie is rated PG.

Jumanji the movie

Movie trailer for the 1995 movie, Jumanji

© 2018 Nyesha Pagnou MPH

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