In light of seeing the sequel to Warner Bros. Cats and Dogs, it got me thinking as to which family films i've came across in my time that have contained the availability to be enjoyed by a wide demographic. Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is an example alone that doesn't contain such promise, with 80 minutes of pure entertainment for the little'uns, but 80 minutes of pure, unadulterated torture for parents.
A film which instantly springs to mind is the Joe Johnston flick Jumanji which has maintained its place as one of my favourite films ever since it's release back in 1995.
Based on Chris Van Allsburg's short story of the same name, the film centers around an ominous board game that contains supernatural powers of the bewildering kind, sucking players in, and releasing copious amounts of unusual creatures -- such as rhinos, poisonous mosquitos, troublesome monkeys and ginormous arachnids.
Alan Parrish is unwillingly sucked into the game upon playing it with his crush. Twenty-six years later, two siblings (one of which is a young Kirsten Dunst) move into the same house, unleashing the now-grown Alan (Robin Williams) and a cavalcade of other monstrous beings. To vanquish all creations back into the game, it must be played until one, of four, players reaches the end.
While the film may be too mature to be enjoyed by ages below four, those older - including parents - are in for a rollickingly good time. Williams fits tremendously as a lead, and works well with the likes of Bonnie Hunt and Dunst, but the story itself is what creates an originality that is usually so absent within family films.
An enticing, always-thrilling story with fantastic special effects. Enough to balance out those bored, wet, half-term days -- followed by the sequel, Zathura! Dunst exudes enough enthusiasm to fall memorable, with Jonathan Hyde's villain (in both real-life and in the game) proving successful with a simple glare.
Certain scenes, primarily those involving those pesky spiders, may be too intense for young'uns - hell, i still cover my eyes!
"Jumanji puts vivid characters through paces that will quicken any child's pulse" - Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"Unsatisfied with just being cute, this sucker wound up being both fun and clever" - Widgett Walls, Needcoffee.com
"This smart, scary film is still a favourite to dust off and take from the VHS bin" - Emily Blunt, Blunt Review
"A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind", a tagline with an extravagant promise but, with every viewing, proves successful.
Check below for a trailer for the film!