Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film, directed by Joe Johnston. It is an adaptation of the 1981 children’s book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The film was written by Greg Taylor, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Jim Strain, and stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth. The special effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic for computer graphic elements and Amalgamated Dynamics for animatronics components.
The story centers on 12-year-old Alan Parrish, who becomes trapped in a board game while playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle in 1969. Twenty-six years later, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game and begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolve to finish the game in order to reverse all of the destruction it has caused.
The film was shot in Keene, New Hampshire, though the story is set in the fictional town of Brantford. Additional filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The film was released on December 15, 1995. Despite its lukewarm critical reception, it was a box office success, earning $262,797,249 worldwide on a budget of approximately $65 million and was the 10th highest-grossing movie of 1995.
In 2005, a spiritual sequel to Jumanji titled Zathura was released; it was also adapted from a Van Allsburg book.
In 1869, half a mile outside of Brantford, New Hampshire, two brothers bury a mysterious chest from which the sound of drumbeats can be heard fading, and pray that nobody ever finds it.
In 1969, Alan Parrish escapes from a group of bullies and retreats to a shoe factory owned by his father, Samuel Parrish. When Alan misplaces a shoe that accidentally damages a machine, Carl Bentley, an employee at the factory, is blamed and dismissed. The bullies attack Alan and steal his bicycle. Alan follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site, where he finds a chest containing a board game called Jumanji, and brings the game home.
After an argument with his father about attending a boarding school, Alan plans to run away until his friend Sarah Whittle arrives to return his bicycle, and they begin playing Jumanji. With each roll of the dice, the player’s piece moves by itself and a cryptic message appears in a crystal ball in the center of the board describing the outcome of the roll. Alan’s first roll results in a message telling him that he will spend time in a desolate place until someone rolls 5 or 8. Alan is sucked into the board, and a colony of bats chase Sarah out of the mansion.
In 1995, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the vacant Parrish house with their Aunt Nora, their parents having died in an automobile accident. Judy and Peter hear Jumanji ’s drumbeats and play the game in the attic, causing giant mosquitoes to attack, then a troop of monkeys to wreck the kitchen. The game states that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter’s next roll releases both a lion and an adult Alan. Alan locks the lion in a bedroom and heads to his father’s factory. On the way, he meets Carl, who now works as a police officer. In the now abandoned factory, a homeless man reveals that Samuel was distraught after Alan’s disappearance and abandoned the business, putting all of his time and wealth into searching for him, until his death four years earlier. The factory’s closure has devastated the town’s economy.
While watching Judy and Peter play, Alan soon realizes that they are continuing the game that he and Sarah started, and joins them. Distraught by Jumanji for years, Sarah accepts the trio’s pleas to help them finish. Sarah’s move releases fast-growing human-eating vines, and Alan’s next roll releases a big game hunter named Van Pelt, who hunts Alan until he runs out of ammunition, but he later buys a new gun. Judy’s next roll triggers a stampede and a pelican steals the game. Peter finds the game, transforms into a monkey after trying to cheat, and Alan is arrested by Carl. Later, Van Pelt catches up to Alan’s friends and steals the game. Peter, Sarah, and Judy follow him to a department store where they subsequently assault him, destroying everything and causing chaos in the process, and retrieve the game. When the four return to the mansion — now completely overrun by jungle wildlife — they release one calamity after another, until finally an earthquake destroys the mansion. As Van Pelt corners Alan and prepares to attack him, Alan makes the winning roll, causing everything that has happened as a result of the game to be reversed.
Back in 1969, Alan and Sarah are children once again, but have full memories of the game’s events. Alan reconciles with his father and admits that he, not Carl, damaged the factory’s machine. Carl is rehired, and Sam tells his son that he does not have to attend boarding school. Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river, weighed down with bricks, then kiss.
In an alternate 1995, Alan and Sarah are now married and expecting their first child. They meet Judy, Peter, and their parents Jim and Martha for the first time at a Christmas party, where Alan offers Jim a job, and convinces them to cancel their upcoming ski trip to Canada, thereby preventing their deaths.
On a beach in another part of the world, two young girls hear drumbeats while walking, as Jumanji lies buried in the sand.
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