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Laramie Movie Scope: Jumanji

Great effects, interesting story

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 18, 1995 -- ``Jumanji'' looks a lot like some Steven Spielberg fantasy films such as ``The Goonies'' and ``Hook,'' but it is a notch above those two.

``Jumanji'' (the name of a kind of haunted board game) stars Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce and Bonnie Hunt. The film is directed by Joe Johnston. Williams, who plays Alan Parrish, becomes trapped inside the magic board game as a youth while playing the game with Hunt, who plays Sarah. Parrish is finally released from the game after being trapped for more than 20 years when two children, Dunst and Pierce, play the game.

The only trouble is, that when the two children play the game, they release more than Parrish from the game, they also release some very nasty large biting insects, a bunch of monkeys and a lion. The animals cause havoc.

Parrish, Sarah and the two kids, Judy and Peter, decide they must finish the game that was started years ago, in order to release the spell and get the wild animals back into the board. In the process, even more animals are released, along with a deadly hunter, an earthquake and a flood.

The special effects are quite good. The animals don't look like real animals, but since they are a product of magic, they don't have to. The ending of the film is interesting, and is somewhat reminiscent of ``Back to the Future'' and other time-travel stories.

Although the film is rated PG, it probably should have been at least PG-13. It is probably too violent and scary for younger kids. Some scenes are quite intense. For older kids and adults, however, this film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)