Play the Game! Live the Fantasy!
The movie ‘Jumanji’ was released in December 1995, and always holds a special place in my heart it is related with my childhood days. I have seen it many times, 1st time in a theater and then many times on CD/TV. Long back, when I was in 7th class, I have watched this movie in theater. That time my city does not have any multiplexes or malls (still it have only 2 multiplexes and only 1 mall), but there are 5 working cinema-halls (the old-fashioned) which have separate level seating of Box, Balcony, Dress Circle. The most famous was named ‘Mayur’ which always played hit or superhit movies, many-a-times you don’t get tickets in 1st attempt, then there was ‘Bruj’ in front of it, which mainly played B films, and then 1 cinemahall is far from my place (at the other end of city) named ‘Nataraj’, so never went to watch movie there during my school days. Then there were 2 more theaters which occasionally played English movies as well (dubbed in Hindi) – ‘Akash’ and ‘Sarovar’. Today only 1 has survived which was taken over by Adlabs (Now, Big Cinemas). This movie I watched in ‘Sarovar’ and watched the Hindi dubbed version. I didn’t know about this movie’s goodness until last day, it was a Thursday and only last 2 show remains. My uncle went with his son to watch and while coming back told me about the movie, and I was instantly hiked, and unable to control my urge to watch it. I was waiting eagerly for my father to come back from office, when he came, me and my brother, we asked him to take us to this movie, and hence we watched ‘Jumanji’ in the last show in my city.
Well, that was a bit of history, lets now get back to the main topic. This movie has everything which a child will love, even deserves a watch for adults as not only its story was different but had very good special effects ahead of its time, and they still look good. It was about a mysterious board game named ‘Jumanji’. The starting scene shows that 2 guys are burying a deadly game and hopes that no one will find that game again. 100 years later near the same place a company is established named “Parrish Shoe Company” headed by Sam Parrish (Jonathan Hyde) who has a son, 12 yr old Alan Parrish (Adam Hann-Byrd) and he was attracted to this buried game which he found while the construction work was going on at the same place. The game has ability; it generates beats which only a child can hear. He took it out from the site and takes it back to his home, and alongwith his friend Sarah (Laura Bell Bundy) started playing it. The game was as follows – 4 players at max can play it, once you start it, you have to end it, you can’t leave it in between, you throw dices, your piece will move that much places ahead and in comes a strange message in a screen provided at the center of the board. Whatever riddle it displays that thing will happened in reality. As a result Alan was absorbed by the game since the game says for the player to wait in the jungle till someone throws a ‘5’ or ‘8’ on dices. Sarah ran away when the home was attacked by bats. 26 years later, everything is changed and the same house was taken on rent by Nora Shepherd (Bebe Neuwirth), and she moved there alongwith 2 children, her nephew Peter (Bradley Pierce) and niece Judy (Kirsten Dunst). They found this abandoned game and started playing it as still 2 more players were allowed to play. They throw the required number and hence the grown-up Alan (Robin Williams) came back to the house, and he comes to know about the changed reality. Now he has to finish the game alongwith the 2 children and the grown-up Sarah (Bonnie Hunt), so that they’ll be able to close all the unimaginable happenings and to come out of the game’s effects. When game ends, everything turns normal again, and Sarah and Alan came back to 1969. They threw away the deadly game in river, only later to be found out by 2 girls, and the film ends.
This film is directed by Joe Johnston who has given us other good movies like ‘Batteries not included’, ‘Honey I shrunk the kids’, ‘Jurassic Park 3’ and ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. He has shown his directorial skills in all these movies and he was in full flow in ‘Jumanji’, a wonderful concept supported by wonderful direction, dialogues, and locations. The movie is based on a children short-story of the same name written by Chris Van Allsburg, whose other short-story on the same theme ‘Zathura’ was also adapted as a movie, that was also a good movie but not as good as this one. An equally good screenplay (Greg Taylor, Jonathan Hensleigh, Jim Strain) which changed the premise of the original story and added new bits. In the original story there were no adult players in the game, but that has been added in the adaptation. Wonderful happenings chain you with your seat throughout the whole duration of the movie. It’s a wonderful adventurous fantasy movie and a treat for them who liked fantasy and adventure. Robin Williams who is known for doing children-fantasy oriented movies is the star of the movie and done a fantastic job and all child actors also complemented the acting department well. The film is around 100 minutes long and is totally enjoyable scene-by-scene. The special effects are good and ahead as per the time and for many of the happenings they used real props, I must say nice art-direction. Background score was perfect and increases the effect. Though the movie got only 50% fresh rating on RT but it did well on BO.
I will say that if you haven’t seen this movie yet, then you’re missing a part of your life, I liked it very much being a memory of my childhood and still loved the movie. Do watch this wonderful presentation, my take 5/5. Play the Game! Live the Fantasy!
Jai Raam ji ki :)