10 thoughts on “Movie Review – Jumanji

  1. "a pixel-laden heap." That pretty much says it all. I watched a few minutes of it on TV a couple years ago and couldn't get over how awful it looked. It just took me completely out of the film and I didn't bother to finish. I did watch it in its entirety way back when it first hit home video. I liked it, but didn't love it because even then the visuals were a bit shaky. I liked the story, though, and had a good time watching it. I loathed Zathura because it felt like a lame remake of Jumanji. The Polar Express…meh.
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  2. Love this film and I always will because of Robin Williams and my childhood love of it but I agree, I saw this last when Williams died and the effects really are awful.

  3. Is it fair to say this movie is bad because the CGI isn't up to par, even though it's over 20 years old? I mean, you wouldn't say The Phantom Menace is better than A New Hope because the fight choreography is better in the former than the latter, would you? I guess I can't understand this as a legitimate critique, unless of course the CGI was remarkable worse than everything else in its time period.

    1. Okay, so I get what you're saying, but here's my theory.

      Jumanji came out in 1995, two years after Jurassic Park (a film where the CG effects have barely dated a day, even now), and about twelve months before stuff like Independence Day etc came along. A film selling the majority of its actions on whizz-bang effects should consider ensuring that the CG they employ is going to stand up in years to come.

      Compare the first Toy Story film with the third – separated by what, fifteen years or so of advancement in computer graphics – and aside from the respresentation of the human form (look at Sid in the original, a character that's barely recognizeable these days) there's actually not that much different overall, aside from better shading, textures and detail.

      Even similarly aged films of the era, such as DragonHeart (also by Universal) still stand up with their use of visual effects. It's not so much that these films use them, but that they use them well, and ensure that even ten, fifteen, twenty years on, they still look at least competent within the tone, visual aesthetic and overall feeling of the film.

      Jumanji doesn't want for production value on anything else other than its CG. By going all out with set design, action sequences and visual effect requirements, the lack of quality CG is stark compared to films of a similar vintage. I'm not saying the film is bad, but I'm saying the fact the film's effects have dated sooooo badly reduces my enjoyment factor considerably.

      You mention A New Hope and The Phantom Menace by way of comparison. You're right, I'd never compare either film to the other in terms of being a product of their time, but there's a reason ANH remains one of the best Star Wars films alongside TPM being considered one of the worst. And it's not to do with fights or choreography or anything like that. It's to do with characters and story – and you know my thoughts on TPM at this point. Jumanji has great characters and a cool little adventure story – but they're let down by shoddy effects that do not hold up well enough under today's full blown HD resolution. That's not to say they should be perfect, but considering how well other films of the mid-90's still hold up in spite of their age, this is dissatisfying to say the least.

      1. I see, thanks for clarifying all that. I guess I have no choice but to agree with you. 😉

  4. I tend to agree with Brikhaus. I remember seeing it on VHS after its initial run and not being shocked by bad CGI. It may not be the most cutting edge, but when comparing the heart, story and acting talent of this film to 'Goosebumps', I'm not sure I'd come up with the same score for both.

    1. You're right about Jumanji, it has way more heart and soul than Goosebumps; my memory of the film is perhaps a whole load better than my revisit to it, so perhaps that's coloured my review of it a bit.

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