• TOP NOTCH (my top choices)
• HONORABLE MENTION (well worth watching)
• YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER (I like them but you might not)
• CLASSICS (Great movies up through the 1960s - many don't have any rating)

  Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt   

Summary -  When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.

Cautions - Some pretty bad looking CG monkeys and some cartoonish scares.

Commentary - The film had a big vision for itself, and it's inability to fully realize it may not completely reside with director Joe Johnston (who would later bring Captain America to the screen for Marvel)... it may just be that the CG effects from the 90s don't hold up well today (and honestly, what they tried to do was pushing it for the 90s). But, Jumanji, has other problems in it's characters, pacing and plot.

So, why am I recommending this to you? Because, even though the film does nothing perfectly, it does a lot of things well. The story is just a great and imaginative adventure. The grown-up characters are a delight (even if the kids are a little dry). There is a wonderful sense of humor and fun (even though I wish it showed up more consistently and less dotted throughout). One of my favorite gags was Peter running to get the ax from the shed. The shed is locked. How will he get in? Leaning against the shed, next to the door, is an ax. He grabs it and starts wacking at the lock. He pauses, looks at the ax, then breaks the fourth wall and looks at the audience, and then runs inside with the ax. Very funny! Why couldn't we have more moments like of that?

Despite its shortcomings, you'll have a great time watching this with your family. If you like the concept but want a better version of it, I recommend Zathura... or you can wait for the brand new Jumanji adventure starring Dwayne Johnson coming in December 2017...

...Or just watch Zathura.


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