Jumanji (1995)

This cute children's adventure-- think THE WIZARD OF OZ meets BIG-- 
is the perfect (and, perhaps, unintentional) companion-piece to TOY 
STORY.  Director Joe Johnson (HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, THE 
ROCKETEER) and Company have created a jungle of computer-generated 
animals that live, breathe, and stampede across the screen.  Sure, 
they look as fake as they do in the ads, but the prospect of what 
they represent is thrilling.  The plot-- a mysterious board game 
causes demented jungle flora and fauna to appear-- is fun enough, 
but the mind can only wander and wonder about how this technology 
will affect future features.  Such as the sequel to JURASSIC PARK, 
due in `97.   For now, (older) kids will eat this stuff up.  Robin 
Williams is surprisingly toned-down as the man-child who emerges 
from the game.  Bonnie Hunt is appealing as his neurotic playmate 
who has to resume a game started 26 years earlier.  The story could 
be a couple shades darker, though.  With better animation and a 
sharper edge, JUMANJI would qualify as an instant classic.

Grade: B

Copyright 1995 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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