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Nov 182009

Jumanji is a 1995 American fantasy film directed by Joe Johnston and based on Chris Van Allsburg’s popular 1981 short story of the same name. The story is about a supernatural and ominous board game which makes animals and other jungle hazards appear upon each roll of the dice. Expensive, state of the art computer graphics and animatronics were employed by Industrial Light & Magic for the special effects sequences. The film stars Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce and Jonathan Hyde.

It is dedicated to the memory of Stephen L. Price, an ILM visual effects supervisor who was involved with the film. This motion picture was shot in Keene, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The Plot
In 1869, two brothers named Caleb and Benjamin bury a locked chest in a forest outside Brantford, New Hampshire. When the younger of the two asks what will happen if someone unearths it again, the older simply replies “May God have mercy on his soul.” As the pair ride off, the ominous sound of tribal drums is heard.

A century later, 12-year-old Alan Parrish, a member of a respectable upper-class family in Brantford, escapes on his bicycle from a gang of bullies, led by Billy bollybong. Alan runs to his father’s shoe factory where he meets his friend, Carl Bentley, who works for his father, Sam. Carl has designed a trainer shoe that he hopes will be successful; however, Alan accidentally damages it, causing Carl to lose his job. After being ambushed by the bullies outside the factory and having his bike stolen, Alan is drawn to a strange sound of drumbeats in a nearby construction site, which leads him to the chest containing a mysterious board game known as “Jumanji”.

He takes it home and later has an argument with Sam, who wants to send him to a boarding school. Alan attempts to move out, but he finds his friend, Sarah Whittle, who is also Billy’s girlfriend, at his doorstep with his bicycle. The two play Jumanji, and on Alan’s first roll of the dice, he is sucked into the game and Sarah is chased away by a flock of bats.

Twenty-six years later, Judy and Peter Shepherd and their aunt, Nora, move into the abandoned Parrish house. The Shepherds live with Nora after they lost their parents in an accident in Canada during a holiday vacation. The two are attracted to Jumanji’s drumbeats and find the board game in the attic. They begin playing and creatures begin to emerge, including giant mosquitoes, a group of rampaging monkeys, and a lion. Peter rolls a five and releases Alan, now an adult, who had been living all these years in the jungle. Alan learns that in the wake of his disappearance, his father became despondent and lost his enthusiasm for his business, which closed shortly afterward, while his friend Carl became a police officer. Alan is shocked by how much his father truly cared about him and regrets his harsh words before getting sucked into Jumanji.

Judy and Peter ask for Alan’s help to end the game, but when it remains unresponsive to their rolls, he realizes it is actually Sarah’s turn as they didn’t start a new game, they merely continued the one started in 1969. They find Sarah, now an adult the same age as Alan. She says she doesn’t want to play because of the trauma she experienced of witnessing Alan disappearing into the game and nobody believing her, but they trick her into playing, which results in the living room being engulfed in wild plants. Alan’s next roll releases Van Pelt, a hunter armed with an elephant gun, who wishes to kill him. Judy rolls and a stampede of rhinos, elephants and zebras destroys the house with a pelican stealing the game. The players retrieve it, but Alan is briefly arrested by Carl. Alan convinces Carl of his identity and the two head off to help the others. Peter attempts to cheat, but is punished by being transformed into a monkey. Peter, Sarah and Judy are cornered by Van Pelt in a store until he has a shelf of paint cans dropped on him when Alan accidentally drives Carl’s police cruiser through the store.

Nora and Carl return to the Parrish house. By this time, the house has transformed into a jungle. A monsoon and a pair of crocodiles are summoned by Sarah, flooding the house until the water pressure builds up then the doors burst open and all the water escapes, taking Nora, Carl, and the crocodiles with it. In each of the players’ final turns, the situations worsen. Alan gets trapped in the floor, giant spiders appear, Judy is poisoned by a plant and then an earthquake occurs that splits the house in two. Alan is freed and attempts his last move to win the game, but Van Pelt appears to kill him. Alan drops the dice which roll the correct number of spaces Alan needs to win the game. Alan calls out “Jumanji,” causing all of the animals and effects of the game to be sucked back into it, including Van Pelt and the bullet fired at Alan. With the game over Alan and Sarah hug, and when they release their hug they find they have been transported back to 1969 as children, but retaining their memories of everything that happened. Alan reconciles with his father and admits his guilt for destroying Carl’s shoe, getting Carl’s job back for him. His father tells him he doesn’t have to go to the boarding school if he doesn’t want to. Alan and Sarah toss the game into a river and kiss, beginning a romantic relationship. They promise to never forget Judy and Peter and the experiences they had, and plan to find the siblings in the future.

Twenty six years later on Christmas Eve, Alan and Sarah are happily married and expecting their first child. Alan’s parents are still alive and Alan has taken over the family business and mansion after his parents retired. Carl still works as a designer for the shoe company. During the holiday dinner they await meeting with the Shepherds, Judy and Peter’s parents, who are alive in the new timeline. They offer the parents employment in Parrish Shoe Company, and become friends of the family. Even though Alan and Sarah retain their memories of Judy and Peter, Judy and Peter do not as for them it never happened. When the Shepherds talk of going on a holiday vacation to Canadian Rockies, Alan and Sarah convince them not to, secretly aware that the trip would result in the Shepherds’ deaths.

Sometime in the future, two French girls are walking down a beach and hear a series of drumbeats. The Jumanji boardgame is shown to be lying several steps away from them.

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