If you thought landing on Boardwalk with a hotel was bad news, wait until you give Jumanji a try. This mysterious board game has the potential to suck up people and not spit them out again for a couple of decades -- when some other naive fool stumbles across it and decides to play.
Robin Williams takes on the role of Alan Parrish, the unfortunate boy who disappeared into the world of Jumanji twenty-six years ago. He returns the day another set of children (Kirsten Dunst and Bradley Pierce) blow the dust off the intriguing box. Nor is he the only thing to suddenly be released by a roll of the dice. In fact, each turn produces a new surprise, such as stampeding animals, crazed monkeys, and mosquitoes big enough to put the chicken wing industry into a nosedive.
Soon the town is full of out-of-control jungle creatures. Still, Parrish insists the kids play the game to its conclusion, firmly believing that is the only way to bring everything back to normal. But Judy and Peter are growing increasingly skeptical of the wild-man's wisdom, because every move they make unleashes greater danger and more property damage.
Although marketed as a family movie, parents will want to be careful about showing it to young viewers, as they are likely to be frightened by the many intense scenes. Other possible concerns are the depiction of inept police officers, magic and sorcery, as well as a trophy hunter with a semi-automatic weapon and murderous intentions. Also disappointing is a scene where crowds of looters take advantage of the ensuing chaos, which is handled with a casual attitude implying stealing is a crime of parking ticket magnitude.
For teens, Jumanji does deliver an action-packed adventure story -- with the added bonus of no obscenities or sexual references. While the premise may sound like child's play, the thrills and excitement are actually better suited for older eyes. After all, even from my adult point of view-- those mosquitoes were big!