Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Jumanji

posted by rkumar
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Profanity:Non swear-word strong language
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:A lot of peril and action violence
Diversity Issues:Strong, smart girl; all lead characters white
Movie Release Date:1995

People sometimes say that in Hollywood the real art form is the deal, and movies like this make it believable. You can just see a group of people in expensive suits sitting around a table dreaming this up — “Let’s take a brilliant children’s book (with about one paragraph of text) and add some really neat new computerized special effects. And, I know! Let’s get Robin Williams! It doesn’t matter that there are no adults in the book. He’s great at the box office.” The problem is that each of those parts is fine, but all together the movie is inconsistent and disjointed, sometimes disturbingly so.

In 1969, Alan Parrish, the child of a wealthy family, finds a mysterious board game, buried centuries before. He is sucked inside, to emerge 26 years later (as Robin Williams, who is wasted in this role), when the game is found again by two other children. These two children have moved into the old Parrish estate with their aunt, who plans to turn it into a Bed and Breakfast. They live with their aunt, because their parents have been killed.

Alan finds the girl he played with (now grown up, as he is, and played by the terrific Bonnie Hunt), and the game begins again. As each player rolls, some huge and destructive jungle curse descends, a lion, monkeys, bats, a monsoon, poisonous plants, a British hunter (who behaves more like the Terminator), a stampede of rhinos and zebras. But they must complete the game in order to get everything back to normal.

The “Jurassic Park” style computerized special effects are very good, director Joe Johnston (of “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”) keeps things moving, and everyone lives happily ever after in a final scene that clears everything up a bit too hastily (leaving the children I was with asking a lot of questions).

“Jumanji” can be fun for kids who won’t be scared by the chaos and animals or bothered by plot elements like a little boy lost in the jungle for 26 years, a father who seems harsh and unloving, or orphaned children. But expect to talk with them about it afterward.



  • Z.D.S

    I hate this movie. It’s full of child abuse. The boy gets stomped on by an elephant, turns into a monkey, and almost gets eaten by a plant. And then, theres this scene, where the little girl, while these creepy giant spiders attack, gets the dice, and suddenly, for no cause or purpose, a flower pops up and shoots a poison barb into her neck, she pulls it out, be she seemingly dies. She comes back at the end when the timeline changes, but still. What mother would want to see a girl die just like that? The inclusion of that scene makes this the worst movie ever made.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Much appreciated, ZDS. As I noted in my review, the fantasy elements get rather disturbing in the film. I understand your reaction and your comment will be very helpful to parents who are trying to decide whether it is appropriate for their family.

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