Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy adventure film directed by Joe Johnston.
It's a loose adaptation of the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg and the first installment of the Jumanji franchise. The film was written by Van Allsburg, Greg Taylor, Jonathan Hensleigh, and Jim Strain and stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce, Jonathan Hyde, and Bebe Neuwirth.
The story centers on a supernatural board game that releases jungle-based hazards upon its players with every turn they take. As a boy in 1969, Alan Parrish became trapped inside the game itself while playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle. Twenty-six years later, in 1995, siblings Judy and Peter Shepherd find the game, begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolves to finish the game in order to reverse all of the destruction it has caused and return back to normal
The film was released on December 15, 1995, to mixed reviews, but was a box office success, grossing $263 million worldwide on a budget of approximately $65 million. It was the 10th highest-grossing film of 1995.
The film spawned an animated television series, which aired from 1996 to 1999, and was followed by a related film, Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and two direct sequels, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), with Columbia Pictures taking over distribution.
In 1869, near Brantford, New Hampshire, two boys bury a chest. A century later in 1969, Alan Parrish escapes a group of bullies and retreats to a shoe company owned by his father, Sam. He finds Carl Bentley, an employee and friend of his, who reveals a new shoe prototype he made by himself. Alan misplaces the shoe and damages a machine, but Carl takes responsibility and loses his job. The bullies attack and steal Alan's bike upon him leaving the factory, but he soon follows the sound of tribal drumbeats to a construction site. He finds the chest containing a board game called Jumanji and brings it home, where he gets into an argument with his father regarding attending a boarding school. Alan plans to run away, but is stopped just before leaving by his friend Sarah Whittle returning his bike, Alan then shows her Jumanji and invites her to play. With each roll of the dice, the game piece moves by itself and a cryptic message describing the roll's outcome appears in the crystal ball at the center of the board. Sarah reads the first message on the board and hears an eerie sound. Alan then unintentionally rolls the dice after being startled by the chiming clock; a message tells him to wait in a jungle until someone rolls a five or eight, and he is sucked into the game. Afterward, a swarm of bats appear and chase Sarah out of the mansion.
Twenty-six years later, Judy and Peter Shepherd move into the vacant Parrish mansion with their aunt Nora, after their parents died in an accident on a ski trip in Canada last winter. Two days later, Judy and Peter find Jumanji in the attic and begin playing it. Their rolls summon big mosquitoes and a swarm of monkeys. The game rules state that everything will be restored when the game ends, so they continue playing. Peter's next roll releases a lion and an adult Alan. As Alan makes his way out, he meets Carl, who is now working as a police officer. Alan, Judy, and Peter go to the now abandoned shoe factory where a homeless man tells Alan that Sam abandoned the business to search for Alan after his disappearance, until his death in 1991. Eventually the factory closed, which caused Brantford's economic decline.
Realizing that they need Sarah to finish the game, the three locate Sarah, now suffering mental trauma from both Jumanji and Alan's disappearance, and persuade her to join them. Sarah's first move releases fast-growing carnivorous vines, and Alan's next move releases a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, whom Alan first met in the jungle. The next roll summons a herd of various animals, causing a stampede, and a pelican steals the game. Peter retrieves it, but Alan is arrested by Carl. Back in town, the stampede wreaks havoc, and Van Pelt steals the game. Peter, Sarah, and Judy track Van Pelt to a department store, where they set booby traps to subdue him and retrieve the game, while Alan, who after revealing his identity to Carl, is set free. When the four return to the mansion, it is now completely overrun by jungle wildlife. They release one calamity after another, until Van Pelt arrives. When Alan drops the dice, he wins the game, which causes everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed.
Sarah takes her turn, resulting in an earthquake that splits the Parrish mansion in two. Alan is freed and falls through the floor, along with the game. Alan manages to recover the game and is about to take his turn when Van Pelt appears. When Alan drops the dice and Van Pelt is about to shoot Alan, he wins the game and outsmarts Van Pelt, which causes everything that happened as a result of the game to be reversed. Alan and Sarah return to 1969 as children but have memories of everything that happened.
Alan and Sarah return to 1969 as children, but have memories of the future events. Alan reconciles with his father and admits that he was responsible for the shoe that damaged the factory's machine. Carl is rehired, and Sam tells his son that he does not have to attend boarding school and finally accepts Alan as who he is. Alan and Sarah throw Jumanji into a river, then Sarah gives Alan a kiss saying she would do it before she "feels too much like a kid".
In an alternate 1995, Alan and Sarah are married and expecting their first child. Alan's parents are still alive and successfully running the family business. Alan and Sarah meet Judy, Peter, and their parents Jim and Martha for the first time during a Christmas party. Alan offers Jim a job and convinces them to cancel their upcoming ski trip, averting their deaths. The film ends somewhere else in the world, where two young French-speaking girls hear drumbeats while walking on a beach. Jumanji is seen lying partially buried in the sand.
- Robin Williams as Alan Parrish, a man trapped in Jumanji for 26 years
- Adam Hann-Byrd as Young Alan
- Kirsten Dunst as Judith "Judy" Shepherd, Peter's older sister
- David Alan Grier as Carl Bentley, an employee at Sam's shoe factory and Alan's friend
- Bonnie Hunt as Sarah Whittle, Alan's friend who is traumatized by Jumanji and devastated by Alan's disappearance
- Laura Bell Bundy as Young Sarah
- Jonathan Hyde as Van Pelt, a big-game hunter from Jumanji
- Hyde also portrays Samuel Parrish, Alan's father
- Bebe Neuwirth as Nora Shepherd, Judy and Peter's aunt
- Bradley Pierce as Peter Shepherd, Judy's younger brother
- James Handy as The Exterminator
- Patricia Clarkson as Carol-Anne Parrish, Alan's mother
- Malcolm Stewart as James Shepherd, Judy and Peter's father
- Annabel Kershaw as Martha Shepherd, Judy and Peter's mother
- Gary Joseph Thorup as Billy Jessup, the bullies' cowardly leader
- Frank Welker provides the special vocal effects
While Peter Guber was visiting Boston, he invited author Chris Van Allsburg, who lives in Providence, Rhode Island, to option his book. Van Allsburg wrote one of the screenplay's drafts, which he described as "sort of trying to imbue the story with a quality of mystery and surrealism". Van Allsburg added that the studio nearly abandoned the project if not for his film treatment, which earned him a story credit given it added story material that was not from the book.
TriStar Pictures agreed to finance the film on the condition that Robin Williams plays the starring role. However, Williams turned down the role based on the first script he was given. Only after director Joe Johnston and screenwriters Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor and Jim Strain undertook extensive rewrites did Williams accept. Johnston had reservations over casting Williams because of the actor's reputation for improvisation, fearing that he wouldn't adhere to the script. However, Williams understood that it was "a tightly structured story" and filmed the scenes as outlined in the script, often filming duplicate scenes afterwards where he was allowed to improvise with Bonnie Hunt.
Shooting took place in various New England locales, mainly Keene, New Hampshire, which represented the story's fictional town of Brantford, New Hampshire, and North Berwick, Maine, where the Olde Woolen Mill stood in for the Parrish Shoe Factory. Additional filming took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, where a mock-up of the Parrish house was built.
Special effects were a combination of more traditional techniques like puppetry and animatronics (provided by Amalgamated Dynamics) with state-of-the-art digital effects overseen by Industrial Light & Magic. ILM developed two new software programs specifically for Jumanji, one called iSculpt, which allowed the illustrators to create realistic facial expressions on the computer-generated animals in the film, and another that for the first time created realistic digital hair, used on the monkeys and the lion. Actor Bradley Pierce (Peter) underwent three and a half hours of prosthetic makeup application daily for a period of two and a half months to film the scenes where he transformed into a monkey.
The film was dedicated to visual effects supervisor Stephen L. Price, who died before the film's release.
The filmings began in October 1994 and wrapped up in January 1995.
Jumanji was released in theaters on December 15, 1995.
Jumanji was first released on VHS on May 14, 1996, and re-released as a Collector's Series DVD on January 25, 2000. In the UK, the film was also released on DVD as a special edition bundled with the Jumanji board game. The film was first released on Blu-ray on June 28, 2011, and re-released as a 20th Anniversary Edition on September 14, 2015. A restored version was released on December 5, 2017 on Blu-ray and 4K UHD to coincide with the premiere of the sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
Jumanji: Complete Motion Picture ScoreFilm score (Digital download)/Audio CD by
ReleasedNovember 21, 1995Length51:04LabelEpic Soundtrax
Commercial songs from film, but not on soundtrack
- "Una Voce Poco Fa"
- Written by Gioacchino Rossini
- Performed by Agnes Baltsa and the Vienna Symphony
- Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Ian Marin
- "Night & Day"
- Written by Cole Porter
- "Serenade in D, Op. 44"
- Composed by Antonín Dvořák
- Performed by Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
- Conducted by Neville Marriner
- "Locomotive Breath"
- Written by Ian Anderson
- Performed by Jethro Tull
- "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" (Theme from Gilligan's Island)
- Written by Sherwood Schwartz & George Wyle
- "Dark Continent (Native Terror)"
- Composed by James Horner
- " Main theme of The Soundtrack
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