Plot: What’s it about?
For me, Jumanji was one of those Robin Williams movies that I never really wanted to see in the theater. I mean, come on, it’s about a board game and it was supposed to be for kids. Well, the Special Edition arrived, and I’m a sucker for those, so I decided to check it out. Robin Williams plays Alan Parrish, a boy who has been literally sucked into a board game called “Jumanji”. The experience was so frightening that his frined who was playing at the time, ran away in terror (and later we learn that she had to endure many years of psychotherapy). Terror…Psychotherapy? Do these sound like words that are used in a kids movie? No!
Now we go to the present, two more kids move into what is called “The Old Parrish” house and in the midst of being late for school, start playing the game. What happens, but an 8 is rolled (they would have also accepted a 5). Out pops Robin Williams (a grown up Alan Parrish) and all the madness starts again, this time with more players. Now you would figure that playing a board game is no big deal. Usually mosquitos the size of cats don’t chase you, or a stampede of large African animals don’t stomp through your house, down the street and through the forsest and you really don’t expect the floor to turn to liquid with you standing on it. Welcome to Jumanji! So, how do the kids (one of which is a very young Kirsten Dunst) get Alan to finish the game, find the missing person who watched him get sucked in to begin with to play, and try to avoid getting killed at every turn? You’ll have to watch and find out.
Jumanji was not at all what I expected, it’s a pretty good story, based on an old kids book and had me shaking in my boots more than once. Well, what would you do if you rolled a seven at the craps table (in Vegas) and a killer Lion came at you?! If you’re looking for 104 minutes of good, quality entertainment then you just may have found your movie. Put it this way…you could do a lot worse, like being someone whose actually playing the game!
Video: How’s it look?
Jumanji is one of those titles that’s seen the light of day on DVD on a few occasions and now on Blu-ray on a few occasions. To be sure, the image quality has always better than average. And, after reading my original DVD review of the title, I’d given it a perfect score. Granted that was 15 years ago with the DVD on what I’d consider to now be ancient equipment. This new 20th Anniversary Edition seems to have the same 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer as its 2011 predecessor. That’s not entirely a bad thing as it looked pretty good. Strong contrast and black levels are evident in several scenes throughout the film, bright and colorful scenes exist as well and all look good. There seems to be a bit of softness in a few of the action sequences and the CGI does seem a bit intrusive. Overall it’s a good, albeit not outstanding, transfer which should leave audiences satisfied.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Likewise, the included DTS HD Master Audio mix is the same one that graced its 2011 predecessor. That being said, it’s not a bad-sounding film and, in fact, there are some examples of dynamic range that I’ve used to demo my system to some folks. LFE are present on multiple occasions, making for a front heavy mix. The surrounds are used at just the right time making for some rather interesting surround effects (imagine 3 foot long mosquitos trying to break through your windshield). Vocals are crisp and clear making way for a very immersive mix that’s sure to please.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This anniversary edition does include some new supplements, so if you’ve not yet purchased this as part of your collection, this is certainly the version to get. The original features from the previously-released version are also included.
Previously Released Features
- Making Jumanji: The Realm of Imagination – Somewhat your typical EPK with some interviews with the cast and crew, some behind the scenes footage as well as some interesting tidbits about the production.
- Lions and Monkeys and Pods…Oh My! – Another rather standard featurette with some emphasis on the “critters” that played a part in the film.
- Production Design: Bringing Down the House – A look at the house that played a big part in the film and how it was built (and ultimately demolished).
- Storyboard Comparisons – A few are included: “Bats” , “Rhino Stampede”, “Earthquake”.
- Jungle Adventure: Virtual Board Game – I never really saw the appeal in this. It’s there if you want it, but I doubt anyone does.
New Anniversary Features
- Jumanji Motion Storybook – Read by Author Chris Van Allsburg, this is pretty self-explanatory as the author reads his book.
- Jumanji: The Animated Series – Two episodes are included: “The Price” and “Bargaining for Time”.
- The Cast of Goosebumps Reflects on Jumanji – Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee reflect on Jumanji.
- Goosebumps Sneak Peek – This was actually part of the above supplement and, for whatever reason, is repeated here.
- Original Teasers and Trailers
The Bottom Line
I suppose it’s a bit of a stretch to call Jumanji a “classic”, though it’s hard to believe that it’s been two decades since this came to theaters. This new Anniversary release adds some new features, but nothing mind-blowing. If you don’t already own this disc, this is the version to pick up, though the A/V is identical to the previously-released disc.