I somehow missed the original Jumanji movie (based on a 1981 children's book by Chris Van Allsburg) when it hit theaters in 1995.
Not surprising, considering... I was transitioning out of high school that year and, at the time, a kids' movie about jungle animals that somehow come out of a board game wasn't exactly my thing. Plus, between working, taking classes, and preparing to move across the state to attend college, I didn't have a lot of time for fun stuff. That whole year was kind of a blur...
But when the reboot hit theaters earlier this year, you bet I watched it...in all its big screen, surround sound glory. My hubby and I are big fans of both Jack Black and The Rock, so a movie featuring both actors had to be absolutely fantastic. We were right. It was. And more!
But this got us curious about the original film. I'd never seen it and my husband, being a few years younger, didn't remember much about it except for an elephant crushing a car with a kid inside (spoiler: the kid survived. of course he did). So we checked it out of the library and were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed it! Aside from being a bit dated, we found it to be creative, funny, and just a lot of fun.
The movie begins with two siblings who move to an old house that is rumored to be haunted. While exploring, they discover a jungle-themed board game. They begin playing and, in doing so, begin releasing jungle animals (monkeys and elephants and giant mosquitoes--oh my!). Among the creatures released is Alan Parrish, who has been trapped in the game for nearly 30 years. The three of them, along with Alan's childhood friend, must finish the game in order to return their town and their lives to the way things should be.
Although I liked the reboot much better (we both did, actually), the original Jumanji was still exceptionally enjoyable. Definitely recommended! -- AJB
p.s. Just an observation: Change a few minor plot details and this would make an excellent horror movie. A haunted board game that has a mind of its own and tries to kill its players... It's very The Ring in a way.