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.
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