"A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind."Jumanji
is a 1995 American fantasy-adventure-comedy film directed by Joe Johnston and based on Chris Van Allsburg's popular 1981 children's book of the same name
. Expensive, state-of-the-art computer graphics and animatronics were employed by Industrial Light and Magic
and Amalgamated Dynamics
for the special effects sequences. The film stars Robin Williams
, then-13-year-old Kirsten Dunst
, Bonnie Hunt, and Bradley Pierce. It was followed by an animated television series
that ran from 1996 to 1999 and a Spiritual Successor
, in 2005.
It's quite different from the book. The film's story, too, is about the Jumanji, a supernatural and ominous board game which makes animals and other jungle hazards appear upon each roll of the dice, but it is significantly expanded.
It starts in 1869, two boys, almost certainly previous players, bury a strange box fearfully, praying that nobody finds it. But 100 years later in 1969, after fleeing from some bullies, a boy named Alan discovers the board game in a construction site. Later that day, just as he is about to run away from home to avoid going to boarding school, his friend Sarah shows up and together they start playing the game. However, the game acts strangely, the pieces moving by themselves and words appearing in a glass dome. Upon his first move, Alan is trapped inside it
, while Sarah is chased out of the house upon unleashing a swarm of bats.Twenty-six years later
, in 1995,
two recent orphans named Judy (Dunst) and Peter (Pierce)—-yes, the brother and sister from the book—-move into Alan's old house to live with their aunt. While exploring the house, they come upon Jumanji in the attic. The game, still unfinished from twenty-six years ago, retains the moves made by the first players. After getting attacked by monstrous mosquitoes and a lion, Peter rolls the dice to free a now-adult Alan (Williams) from the inside of the game. Seeking out the help of a now-adult Sarah (Hunt), the group reluctantly decides they must play through the entire game to set things back to the way they used to be.
The film was followed up by an Animated Series
produced by Klasky-Csupo (of Rugrats
and Rocket Power
fame). Clearly not a direct sequel to the movie, the premise actually had that when Judy and Peter played the game they would be given a riddle to solve (sometime involving An Aesop
) and they would be transported into the Jumanji jungle that Alan resided in for years. While the kids would be transported back upon solving their riddle, Alan's riddle has never been solved and he remains trapped. So the kids risk their own lives continually playing the game to help Alan leave Jumanji.
The movie contains examples of:
- Acting Unnatural: The game players cook up a lie about what's going on. They screw up, and Bentley almost catches on.
- Action Survivor: You have to become one if you want any hope of surviving Jumanji.
- Adaptation Expansion: Big time - the original book was about 30 pages long, and both Alan and Sarah were created for the film.
- Adaptational Villainy: Van Pelt in the film. In the original book, he was just a lost jungle guide whom the only thing even close to a bad thing he did was deliberately ignore Judy when she tried to ask him for help.
- Adult Fear: You threaten to send your depressed son off to a prestigious boarding school for not being brave enough, and he vanishes off the face of the Earth before you can apologize. No wonder Alan's father lost the will to live.
- Adventurer Outfit: Van Pelt wears a classic safari-style one.
- The Alleged Car: Carl's car becomes this gradually throughout the film. In fact, a carnivorous plant eats it.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sarah is initially the girlfriend of the school bully, but later averts this as her friendship with Alan blossoms into full-blown romance by the end.
- Anachronism Stew: Van Pelt, being a European colonialist from the 19th century.
- And You Were There: Alan's father and Great White Hunter Van Pelt are played by the same actor.
- Animal Reaction Shot: When Alan starts singing in the shower, the movie cuts to the lion in Aunt Nora's bedroom, who yawns.
- Antagonist Title: Jumanji is the name of the board-game that is causing all the trouble. More specifically, it's the name of the jungle where everything comes from - the board game itself is just a portal between the jungle and our own world.
- Anti-Frustration Features: The one good thing about Jumanji is that the game board floats, meaning that it won't sink beyond recovery if the players come across (or the game creates) a large body of water in the midst of all of the other chaos.
- Anti-Villain: Van Pelt is explicitly bound by the rules of the game to hunt Alan, and isn't intentionally malicious — he actually has shades of Affably Evil ("Good lad, you're finally acting like a man"). He plays with the idea of Never Hurt an Innocent—though he at one point has a clear shot of the other characters fleeing from him, Van Pelt instead shoots loose the rack of tires in front of them to knock them over. He also mentions outright to Sarah that he could have shot her at any time, but "(she) didn't roll the dice, Alan did".
- Artifact of Doom: Though it is not specifically malevolent, the Jumanji board game has the power to release appropriately-themed hazards into the real world. Except in the animated series, where it appears to be deliberately malevolent.
- Aside Glance: Peter goes out to the shed to find the axe, only to find it locked. Frantically, he looks for something to break the lock with. He sees the axe lying on the side of the shed. He picks it up and starts bashing the lock with it, then suddenly stops and looks sheepishly at the camera, realizing his goal is already in his hands.
- Babies Ever After: In the epilogue, Sarah is heavily pregnant with her and Alan's first child.
- Admit it, Van Pelt may be a gunman, but he's probably the only character in the story that is an unmistakable threat. While most of the other jungle animals follow their instincts, Van Pelt is the most intelligent since he is a human and thus the one that poses the most danger. Highlighted in the gun store. He efficiently recognizes his gun is too out of date for ammo. He quickly upgrades to the most modern weapon - and knows how to use it - and calmly hands the clerk a double of gold doubloons. Background check? Have a few more doubloons.
- Alan first entered Jumanji as a child and managed to survive for over twenty-six years before finally being rescued, even managing to stay one step ahead of Van Pelt!
- Bad Future: Though it's not quite so bad from Judy and Peter's point of view, Alan emerges from the game to find the town in dire straits, primarily due to the loss of his family's shoe factory (the town's main anchor) after his father spent nearly everything trying to locate his "runaway" son. Inverted once the Reset Button is pressed, and Alan and Sarah can Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Bad Vibrations: In the library, the bookshelves are shaking, making a bust and some books fall, just as Alan yells "Run! IT'S A STAMPEDE!". And then a rhinoceros comes crashing through the shelves.
- Baleful Polymorph: Peter's penalty for attempting to cheat is to be slowly transformed into a monkey (the same as his game token). If the game's poem is to be believed, he was devolving.
Game: A law of Jumanji having been broken. You will slip back even more than your token.
- Ballistic Discount: Subverted. It's initially set up that you think Van Pelt will attempt this when he goes to buy a new gun and is told that there's a waiting period before he can do so, but he simply bribes the store owner.
- Bat out of Hell: Sarah is chased out of the Parrish house by a swarm of hammer-head bats after Alan gets sucked into the game.
- Beard of Barbarism: After 26 years in the jungle, Alan emerges with a barbaric fuzz. It's hard to tell it's Robin Williams under all of it.
- Berserk Button:
- Sarah hates being called "crazy". She's been called that all her life since Alan disappeared.
- Alan's very understated reaction after Peter attempts reverse-psychology by accusing him of being "afraid". He quietly informs him on what being afraid really is.
- Big Bad: Jumanji. All the animals, natural disasters and other stuff that comes out of the game, including Van Pelt, are just parts of it. The board game is ultimately responsible for every bad thing that happens in the story, and it all goes away once the game is finished.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies
- Big "NO!":
- Sarah gives off several of these after she wakes up from the shock of seeing Alan again after 26 years.
- She and Alan also give one at the end, when the Shepard parents are telling them about the skiing trip they're planning, the one that Alan and Sarah now know would kill them.
- Break Out the Museum Piece: Alan uses his ancestor's saber to attack a giant plant.
- Brick Joke: Walking behind the animal stampede is a single tired rhinoceros. It's later seen again when the stampede runs past in front of Aunt Nora's car, having fallen far behind the others.
- Butt Monkey:
- Carl - or more accurately, his car, which at the beginning of the movie was brand new, but by the end is folded in half and dragged away by the carnivorous plant. Being originally fired from the shoe factory thanks to Alan screwing up his sneaker prototype puts Carl in the realm of Cosmic Plaything.
- Also Peter, who literally turns into a monkey.
- Aunt Nora also embodies this trope, particularly in her final scene in the movie—after dealing with a stampede, monkeys in her car, seeing a police car get dragged off by giant plants, and getting washed down the street by a flood along with a bunch of crocodiles, she makes it back to the ruined house and sees in quick succession Alan's legs extending from the ceiling, the lion in her bedroom, and Peter as a monkey. At this point it's completely justified for her to have an Inelegant Blubbering Freak Out and need to be shut in the closet for her own good/safety.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Things started off on a dark note, but the moment Van Pelt enters the scene, the movie takes a much darker turn and keeps on going until the very end.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- When the deadly plants are summoned in the house, Alan explicitly mentions two types to look out for: One that shoots poisonous barbs and one that attempts to swallow its prey. The latter type immediately attempts to swallow Peter and is thwarted, though it later attacks Nora and destroys Carl's car. The former type of plants aren't referred to again from that point... until one of the final scenes of the movie, when one of them comes out of the floor as Judy is recovering the game board and shoots her. She finally admits as she lies dying that she misses her parents.
- One of the first summoned animals, a lion, is locked in Nora's bedroom by Alan and spends the duration of the movie lounging on her bed. After the earthquake, now late into the movie, the lion returns to attack Alan.
- The flavor text on the game instructing/warning prospective players hints at what happens in the end when Alan wins: "The exciting consequences of the game / will vanish..."
- Chekhov's Skill: It was mentioned early on that ever since Peter and Judy's parents died, Judy has become something of a compulsive liar (see the elaborate story she tells the realtor at the beginning.) It does her well when she has to start pulling explanations for all the movie's insanity later on (such as explaining Alan's freak out as her "uncle" having a head injury.)
- Cold Sniper: Subverted. Van Pelt's first shot goes wrong, and then Alan notices he's being aimed at and accepts being arrested so the hunter can't have another attempt.
- Chronically Crashed Car: Carl's car.
- Conspicuous CG: Back when the film was released, the effects for the animals were ground-breaking and highly praised as "seamless". As CG technology has advanced, they now look dated, which does fit their status as constructs of the game.
- Crapsack Town: The town the film is set in. Not as bad as some Crapsack places, but definitely gone downhill since Alan disappeared and the factory shut down. Contrast with the town in the 1960s, complete with a "Mister Sandman" Sequence. It's summertime, the sky is a clear blue, without a single cloud. The streets are bustling with people and life is good. Cut to 1995 in autumn and the sky is permanently overcast, everything is grey and many people in the streets are homeless with abandoned shops covered in graffiti everywhere. This is before the plague, stampedes, hunter, etc.; adding those, it is up to a localized Apocalypse.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: Van Pelt is fully aware that he is a character from a board game. When he's told his elephant gun has been out of commission for about ninety years he doesn't bat an eyelid, nor is he worried by the fact that he seems to be wandering around in the wrong century. He even knows that he is meant to hunt Alan purely because Alan rolled the dice for him. — His answer when Sarah asks him why he didn't shoot her: "You didn't roll the dice. Alan did."
- Danger Takes A Back Seat: A monkey jumps out of the back seat of Nora's car and it startles her so much that she drives into a ditch.
- Darker and Edgier: Both the TV Show and the movie compared to the book. The book doesn't flat out imply the children are in danger, unless they don't finish the game.
- Darkest Africa: The world inside the game seems to be an exaggerated version of this mixed with Sim Sim Salabim.
- Death World: The jungle world inside the game itself isn't shown, but it must be something close to this given Alan's description of it.
- Deus ex Machina: Granted, it's mentioned a few occasions beforehand, but Alan ends up undoing the majority of the movie by finishing Jumanji, leaving Sarah's feelings for Alan as the only permanent change.
- Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The end of the film, for no real reason except to set up the Parrishes to meet Judy and Peter's parents to stop them from dying on a skiing holiday.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Judy dies (or at the very least falls into a coma) in Peter's arms after being shot by one of the poisonous barb-wielding flowers.
- Dramatic Irony:
- Peter and Judy's motivation for playing the game is to "make it all go away" before their aunt gets back and sees the house wrecked. No one, least of all them, realizes that, given that they're playing a game decades old, "it all" includes them. Luckily they're still part of history, with the now in-the-know Alan and Sarah there in the present day to stop their parents from leaving for the vacation they died on.
- Also Played for Laughs when, right before she sees the stampede and has a monkey in the back seat make her car crash, Aunt Nora is listening to a self-help book on tape: "And remember, matters are never ever out of your control."
- Dramatic Sword Thump: When Sarah offers to get tea, Alan stops her with this.
- The Dreaded:
- The game itself. Knowing what happened in their brief initial play of it, both Alan and Sarah seriously freak out when they see it again for the first time in years. The game similarly became this to the two kids in 1869. When one falls into the hole they are burying the game in and the drumbeat begins sounding, he immediately starts screaming that the game is trying to get him again.
- Just listen to Alan's reaction and voice as he realizes that he's just made a roll that released Van Pelt from the game.
- Dumb Struck: For no given reason, Peter, for a brief time after the death of his and Judy's parents, doesn't speak to anyone (except Judy), except when screamed when running down the stairs from the bats, but starts to talk later on.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After spending twenty-six years being stalked through Darkest Africa by an Implacable Man and then returning to discover that his disappearance ruined the lives of his family, his friend, and pretty much the entire town, it's hard to imagine anything more satisfying than Alan being able to hit the Reset Button and make it all never have happened, with the added bonus of getting the girl and the chance to save the lives of his young friends' parents.
- Egomaniac Hunter: Van Pelt enjoys hunting challenging wild game, but if he gets bored, he will hunt people with equal gusto. Off-screen, Alan had had a few run-ins with him in the jungle, and is suitably frightened when Van Pelt is rolled up as a jungle hazard.
Alan Parrish: [terrified]
"A hunter from the darkest wild... makes you feel just like a child
What is it? Alan Parrish: Van Pelt…
- Eldritch Location: The fantastical world inside the game is an endless, nightmarish jungle that introduces threats into the outside world whenever the game is played. The way Alan describes his experiences there, Jumanji is an almost alien place filled with indescribably horrors and you should count yourself lucky for not being what they're gnawing on that night.
- Escaped Animal Rampage: In this film a magical game board causes all kinds of animals to break loose from the game and rampage through town.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Yes for the audience, no for the characters. The monkeys provide very funny scenes when they show up, but at the same time they cause just as much chaos and anarchy as the stampeding animals. At one point Judy even asks "What do you think those monkeys are going to do to the ecosystem around here?". Also not better as Peter starts devolving into a monkey for cheating.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Big time. Everything the game sends out tries to keep the players from finishing.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Or horse, in this case. In the opening scenes, the horses seem rather uneasy at being around Jumanji, even after it's been locked up in a thick wooden chest.
- Evil Poacher: Van Pelt arguably.
- Expy: Sam Parrish is George Darling from Peter Pan. The actor, Jonathan Hyde, even plays the bad guy as well.
- Extremely Short Timespan: Most of the film takes place in one day, plus another in 1969 and another in an alternate 1995.
- Fainting: Sarah faints upon seeing her childhood friend Alan on her doorstep - the last she'd seen of him was when he got sucked into a cursed board game twenty-six years before, something she had spent all this time trying to convince herself was a hallucination.
- Fantastic Flora: As the film progresses and the game hazards keep coming, the Parrish house is overrun with jungle vines and deadly flowers.
- Five-Finger Discount:
- As the animals are wrecking havoc in town, people take advantage of the chaos to shoplift.
- Subverted with Van Pelt. He arrives in a gun store, looking for a new piece of weaponry after running out of ammo, and the gun store owner looks he was about to shoot him. Van Pelt just pulls out some gold coins to pay for a new weapon.
- Fortune Teller: It's revealed Sarah dabbled in this as an adult, calling herself "Madame Serena." Judging by her reaction when her long-lost friend turned up on her doorstep, she wasn't a very good one.
- Foreshadowing: Van Pelt is on the game's cover.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Viewers will notice that Alan's second-to-last die roll puts him 2 spaces away from the center, meaning no matter what he rolls with two six-sided dice, the game's over. That makes Alan's final roll a case of Harpo Does Something Funny, since they apparently just let the camera roll and worked with whatever happened.
- When fighting Van Pelt in the supermarket, Judy used the scanner to blind him. The read-out? "No sale".
- From Bad to Worse: Things start off fairly tame (no pun intended), with only small things such as a cloud of bats, a scourge of mosquitoes, a troop of monkeys, a single lion. But then they escalate to carnivorous plants, a hunter that won't quit, an entire stampede that takes over and destroys the town, a monsoon that floods the house, and an earthquake that splits the house apart. One can only wonder what the game would have released next to top itself if Alan hadn't won when he did... Maybe a volcano. Lampshaded in Sarah's final rhyme: "You're almost there with much at stake/But now the ground begins to quake..."
- Gang of Bullies: Billy and his gang.
- The Game Plays You: The Movie!
- The Game Come to Life: See above.
- Genre Savvy: Alan put his jacket over himself when Sarah believed that the group would be safe from the monsoon just by being inside. Well, somebody figured that the game would chomp simple solutions to bits.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- In the Spanish dub, the gun store owner asks Van Pelt if he's a cheated husband.
- When Alan's father is telling him that all his male relatives went to the Cliffside School for Boys; "Even your Uncle Skylar went there."
- Great White Hunter: Van Pelt was one of these; well, before he started Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
- Hate at First Sight: The game's flavour text and various bits of dialogue imply Van Pelt has been hunting Alan for 26 years for this reason alone.
Sarah: Why you?
Alan: Why me? I don't know. Everything about me he finds offensive; you'd think it'd be a waste of his time.
- Hello Again Officer: Poor Officer Bentley...
- Here We Go Again: The film ends with two French girls (or, from the setting, two French-speaking North African children) walking on the beach hearing the strange drumming. We find the game washed up on the sands, presumably about to be found by those girls. Could double as a Sequel Hook.
- If you consider that the two boys in the brief 1896 prologue had played the game and apparently barely survived, Alan and Sarah playing becomes a Here We Go Again.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Sarah attempts one to save Alan.
- Hide Your Children: Painfully averted. The players of the first round are children, obviously; in the second round, a pair of child siblings are added.
- High Concept
- Hollywood New England: Not Boston (which is common) or Providence (as implied by the Parrish family's wealth - and the residence of the book's author), but Brantford, New Hampshire.
- Honor Before Reason: This is apparently believed by the people giving Alan advice he's then punished for following. His father tells him to stand up to a bully, which Alan does... and he promptly gets his ass thoroughly handed to him. When Alan stands up to Van Pelt, the hunter compliments him on finally being a man... then fires a high-powered bullet at his face.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: A nineteenth-century big game hunter comes out of the game and tries to hunt Alan, and only him, because he "rolled the dice". It's heavily implied that Van Pelt (the hunter) had already been pursuing Alan over the years that they were inside the game, based on Alan's reaction when he read Van Pelt's description after rolling. He is also a representation of Alan's fear towards his father (both characters are played by Jonathan Hyde).
- Hypocritical Humor: At first Alan doesn't want to play the game again, but realizes he has to when his piece is still on the board. Then he convinces a reluctant Sarah to play as well. Then after Van Pelt gets out of the game, Judy believes he was the reason why he didn't want to play. This makes Sarah angry.
Sarah: You didn't wanna play either, Mr. We-started-something-twenty-six-years-ago-and-now-we-gotta-finish-it?
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Van Pelt to Sarah:
Stop your cringing, woman; I could have shot you at any moment.
- When the jungle creepers first show up, Judy comments that the poisonous barb-shooting flowers are beautiful. Later in the movie one of them shoots her in the neck with its barbs.
- Van Pelt announces that since he's got Sarah as bait, Alan should be arriving at any minute. Cue Carl and Alan crashing through the wall in Carl's trashed cop car. They collide with a tower of paint cans, which fall on him.
- Invisible to Adults: The Jumanji drums luring people to uncover the game can only be heard by kids.
- I Will Find You: When Alan tries to find his family, he learns that his father abandoned the business and devoted the rest of his life to searching for him.
- I Wish It Were Real: Averted.
- It Can Think: The ominous drumbeat that draws people to uncovering the board game heavily implies that it wants to be found. It's stated outright when the young Alan and Sarah first play. Furthermore, whatever comes out of the game will try to prevent it from being completed by either stealing the board or killing the players.
Young Alan: Uh, oh. The game thinks I rolled...
Young Sarah: What do you mean "the game thinks"?
- Alan does this later to "persuade" Sarah to restart playing:
Alan: Hand over the dice, Sarah. You don't have to play.
(Sarah thankfully hands Alan the dice, who pulls his hand back at the last second, making her roll and has a good laugh)
- It Will Never Catch On: Young Alan isn't impressed by Carl's sneaker prototype.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alan's father Sam Parrish, and Alan himself as an adult.
- Jungle Drums: The board game's Leit Motif. It's chilling when potential players hear them before the case is even opened.
- Karma Houdini: The Gang of Bullies at the film's start.
- Kids Are Cruel: The gang of boys who beat Alan (and steal his bike) at the film's beginning. Would be acceptable (seeing as it's a family feature) if they had actually gotten their comeuppance.
- Large Ham:
- Van Pelt, anytime.
- Alan, particularly right after being released from the game.
- Luck-Based Mission: The board game itself. It's all dice rolls. The "skill" comes in avoiding the various creatures released by the game.
- Magic A Is Magic A: The rules of the game are clear, and breaking those rules result in a punishment. They must play the game and deal with the hazards as they come. Van Pelt explained this somewhat when stating that his mission was to hunt Alan, not the other players. Though collateral damage to the rest of the town — and presumably the surrounding area if the animals keep going before the game ends — seems to be just fine. Although, as long as the game is finished, all damage is undone as the game pounds the Reset Button.
- Man Bites Man: Peter bites Hunter Van Pelt in the hardware store to make him release Sarah.
- Man-Eating Plant: Even though the players tried to remain still, it still grabbed one of them.
- Maniac Monkeys/Mischief Making Monkey: One of the first things Judy and Peter summon when they enter the game.
- Medium Awareness: Everything Jumanji conjures tries its hardest to keep the players from finishing the game. Van Pelt even lampshades this by saying his only target is Alan because he rolled the dice.
- Mental Time Travel: At the end Alan and Sarah are sent back in time to the moment before they started playing, but keep their memories.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Alan and Sarah in 1969. Subverted — the game's completion undoes everything that happened when the game began in 1969, allowing Alan to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Justified. The jungle that the Jumanji world is composed of is not a real-world environment, but a fantastical, magical creation of the game that seems based on a 19th Century, pop-culture, Common Knowledge understanding of the jungle, hence all sorts of misplaced wildlife spring from it. For instance, pelicans, lions, black rhinos, zebras, and African bush elephants all don't live in the jungle. Monsoons only occur in the Pacific.
- Mood Whiplash: While most of the film the things that come out of Jumanji are played as frightful things (with most of the humor coming from the panic caused by all the chaos), once they enter Sir-Sav-A-Lot it turns into a zany Home Alone-esque bit as the kids catch Van Pelt in numerous zany traps. Also serves as Badass Decay for Van Pelt.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Alan, when he realizes that he accidentally caused Carl to lose his job back in 1969.
- My Greatest Failure: Sarah, having abandoned Alan to the jungle for 26 years. She did try to tell people what happened at first, but no one believed her (and presumably thought her crazy), so she gave up trying to tell anyone and pretended it never happened. She makes up for it in the end.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: When the monsoon floods Alan's house, the protagonists are attacked by a pair of crocodiles. Alan fights one and miraculously survives. They're sucked out into the street when the front door is broken up and swim past Carl and Aunt Nora, scaring them to no end.
- Noble Demon: Van Pelt won't shoot Carl to get to Alan, nor will he hurt Sarah or the children to attempt to lure him into a trap. He's bound by the rules of the game and he knows it.
Stop your cringing, woman. I could have shot you at any moment. Sarah:
Then why didn't you? Van Pelt: You didn't roll the dice
. Alan did.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken:
Peter Come on, Judy. He's not gonna help us. He's afraid.
Alan: What did you say?
Peter: I said that you're afraid. It's okay to be afraid.
Judy: Will you help us?
Alan: I'll watch... I'm not afraid.
- No Fair Cheating: Jumanji really, really doesn't like it when people cheat.
- No Ontological Inertia: In a very big way. The entire movie after the first twenty minutes or so ultimately becomes an Alternate Universe, which is undone precisely because the game's effects all have no such inertia, meaning that the 25-odd years of changes to the town caused by Alan Parrish's disappearance are undone and Alan is returned to the moment he was initially sucked in. The lack of ontological inertia is very broad, notably in how the gun and the ammunition used by Van Pelt at the end of the movie also disappear, even though they were not items generated by the game, but a real weapon purchased from a real gun store.
- Noodle Incident: Apparently, Sarah had more than one boyfriend.
- Nostalgia Filter: Alan remarks he feels "right at home" after the carnivorous plant covers the inside of the Parrish mansion in vines and roots, and that he finds the modern world more frightening than the metamorphosed house.
- Nothing Is Scarier:
- Alan's description of the time he spend in the jungle is pretty unsettling.
"You think that mosquitoes, monkeys, and lions are bad? That is just the beginning. I've seen things you've only seen in your nightmares. Things you can't even imagine. Things you can't even see. There are things that hunt you in the night. Then something screams. Then you hear them eating, and you hope to God you aren't dessert. Afraid? You don't know what afraid is. You will not last five minutes without me."
- Alan has become a bit of a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant after his time trapped in the game. In the novelization, he actually describes a few of the more terrible things, such as 'snakes as long as a school bus' (Anaconda, anyone?) and 'spiders the size of beachballs'. Which turn up near the end of the film.
- Not Proven: When Alan disappeared, it was rumored his father killed him and avoided conviction by hiding the corpse. Some even believed Mr. Parrish destroyed the "corpse" and hid the pieces around the mansion. It was Sarah who started it, by convincing herself that's what really happened.
- Not So Different:
- Alan hated his father for trying to get him to grow up fast, but halfway through the film he starts to treat Peter the same way his father treated him. He gets better, though.
Alan: Twenty-six years in the deepest, darkest jungle and I still became my father.
- Alan and Sarah, comparing their experiences of the past 26 years.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: When we see the pelican, it seems almost like a joke. It stops being funny when it grabs the game.
- No, You: After Alan calls Sarah "crazy", their resulting argument that very quickly devolves into this.
- Oh, Crap:
- Alan's very soul trembles when he realizes Van Pelt is coming. "A hunter from the darkest wild makes you feel just like a child..."
- When adult Sarah sees Jumanji for the first time in 26 years.
- Out of Time, Out of Mind: When the game is finished, Alan and Sarah return to the past, becoming children once again in the process.
- Ominous Crack: Alan, Judy, and Peter take refuge from a mosquito (it had a four inch long needle, was the size of a pigeon, and was carrying a deadly and unknown disease) in a car. It starts tapping on the windshield with no effect prompting Alan to say, "See he can't break through the glass." This is followed by a large crack as the mosquito tries again.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: When Peter starts hacking at a lock with an axe to get the axe within the toolshed, he stops and glances at the camera as if to say, "I'm such an idiot."
- Panthera Awesome: The game conjures a huge male lion to menace the protagonists. Alan traps it in a bedroom and it spends the rest of the movie sleeping, only getting out near the end.
Peter: [reading the Jumanji rhyme] His fangs are sharp, he likes your taste. Your party better move post-haste.
- Parental Substitute: Aunt Nora. As the game progresses, Alan and Sarah fulfill this role too.
- Parting Words Regret: Young Alan has a nasty argument with his father over Mr. Parrish's decision to send him to boarding school, vowing never to speak to him again. Alan then spends twenty-six years in the jungle and when he finally gets out, he learns his father died after 20+ years of searching for him. After finally winning the game, Alan is returned to five minutes after that argument and immediately apologizes when he sees his father. His father apologizes too, admitting that he was angry about something else, and Alan doesn't have to to go boarding school if he really doesn't want to.
- People in Rubber Suits: The lion and the crocodile, made by those responsible for Alien³ and Goro from Mortal Kombat.
- Point of No Return: As soon as you begin playing the game. The moment when you first take the playing pieces out of their box and they fly to their starting points on the board, they cannot be removed (although presumably, if you haven't rolled any dice yet, you can still end up ok as if nothing happened). The game rules even warn you that the wonders of Jumanji will never cease until the game is won, and therefore you must not start the game unless you fully intend to finish it.
- Punch Clock Villain: Van Pelt. He's only playing his role as part of the game.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Harvest Time!"
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Jumanji!"
- Properly Paranoid: Alan, as a result of his time in Jumanji.
- Quicksand Sucks: "Beware the ground on which you stand, the floor is quicker than the sand!"
- Ragnarok-Proofing: Considering all the board game goes through, it's likely proofed.
- Rare Guns: Van Pelt's shotgun is so rare, ammunition hasn't been made for it since 1903. When he runs dry, he upgrades to a USAS-12 with a suitably large bribe of gold coins.
- Reality Ensues: Van Pelt has a run-in with the then-newly-enacted Brady Bill when shopping for a new gun after his old one had run out of ammo; he's told he has to wait for some time and fill out paperwork before he can acquire the new gun. Yes, even a magic game has to follow the rules of where and when it's being played. Bribing still works, though.
- Reality Warper: The Jumanji board is capable of taking people and creatures of the pseudo-African dimension that exists inside it and even causing floods, earthquakes, and turning floorboards into quicksand.
- Reset Button: Finishing the game, so powerful it can even reverse time.
- Reverse Psychology: How Alan is convinced into sticking around.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Alan and Sarah retain some of their memories of the game and its consequences. They note that their adult experiences are fading from memory, and have to make a pact to remember the kids — and to make sure the kids' parents don't die.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Everything in the game table, including the results.
Jumanji: A game for those who wish to find / a way to leave their world behind. You roll the dice to move your token, doubles get another turn, and the first one to reach the end wins. Adventurers beware: Do not start unless you intend to finish. The exciting consequences of the game / will vanish only when a player has reached Jumanji and called out its name.
- Running Gag: The fat, grunting rhino who keeps falling farther and farther behind the rest of the stampede.
- Scenery Gorn: The Parrish mansion is thoroughly trashed by the end of the movie. The town itself is not in much better shape.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Van Pelt has to buy a new gun after he learns the ammo for his hasn't been made since the early 1900s. When presented with the thick stack of paperwork and told of the 72-hour waiting period for purchasing a new gun, Van Pelt counteroffers a handful of gold coins. No further questions are asked, except when the owner expresses his concern that Van Pelt might be a postal worker.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: Van Pelt when he's knocked into camp equipment at high speed.
- Sealed Evil In A Board Game: The game spent 100 years buried in the ground before Alan dug it up in 1969, and the following 26 years lying forgotten in the Parrish attic.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Alan being trapped in the jungle.
- Sentient Phlebotinum: The game itself, after a fashion. People hear drumbeats emanating from it which get louder and more boisterous as they seek it out until they find it. The game wants to be played, but not to be finished.
- Serial Escalation: The game's danger compounds rapidly until the end, when the entire cast is on the point of death.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Alan and Sarah are inadvertently given the opportunity to do this when the game ends, as the entire timeline rewinds to 1969, giving Alan the chance to make up with his father, save Carl's job, and even eventually stop Peter and Judy's parents from going on the skiing trip that they would have died en route to.
- Significant Double Casting: Jonathan Hyde initially plays Alan's father, whom Alan is terrified of. After his father teaches Alan to stand up to his fears no matter what, Hyde spends the second act as Van Pelt, a psychopath Alan is forced to flee from.
- Sir Verb-A-Lot: The town has a store called "Sir Sav-A-Lot".
- Spiders Are Scary: The game unleashes a swarm of giant deadly spiders towards the end of the movie.
- Sudden Game Interface: The game's magic is very out of context to everyone involved. Sarah has no idea that the same game is still running in the background of her entire adult life. Subverted in that the Peggy Sue doesn't happen until after the game's over.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: Averted at one point. Sarah, Alan, and Peter tried to stop Carl from arresting Alan, because he's Sarah's fiance, but then he recalled that Peter and Judy said Alan was their uncle. Though they were never able to clarify both statements due to Alan insisting on being taken, due to hearing Van Pelt's gunshot.
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: As Peter's transformation continues, he starts to involuntarily make monkey sounds.
- There Are No Therapists: Averted; shortly after the kids and Alan contact Sarah for the first time, she claims she spent over two thousand hours in therapy after the first incident.
- There Will Be Toilet Paper: When Alan, who has been trapped in the board game for 26 years, finally shaves for the first time, he has cuts all over his face when he's through.
What happened to you? You shave with a piece of glass? Alan Parrish:
What happened to you? The Clampetts
have a yard sale? What do you want? I never shaved before.
- Time Skip: The movie jumps from 1869 to 1969 to 1995 back to 1969 and then to 1995 again.
- Tired of Running: Alan spends most of the film running from manhunter Van Pelt. Towards the end of the film, Alan is held at gunpoint by Van Pelt. When asked why he doesn't run when given the chance, Alan replies his father always told him to face his fears. Aptly, Alan's father and Van Pelt are played by the same actor.
- Title Drop/Say My Name: The winner is the first player to reach Jumanji and call out its name.
- Toilet Humour: After living in a jungle for over a quarter of a century the first thing Alan does when he gets back into his house is head for the bathroom, stare at the toilet for a moment, and then mutter, "Oh, thank you. No more banana leaves."
- Took a Level in Badass:
- Twenty-six years of surviving in a nightmare jungle appropriately do this for Alan. This would have made for a nice scene in which he gets back at his bully, but unfortunately, that never happens.
- Judy and Peter as well, by necessity. By the end of the movie, they're Action Survivors who can fend off several giant spiders without flinching. Too bad becoming awesome doesn't give you poison immunity.
- Even Sarah gets in on it. In the very beginning, she runs out of the house at the bats, and even in the present day, she's apparently something of a hysterical recluse. Through the course of the game, she ends up toughening up enough she throws herself between Alan and Van Pelt.
- Trash the Set: The Movie.
- Watch the Paint Job: Officer Bentley's brand new police car (which was actually four years old by then, but probably new to him) gets increasingly damaged throughout the movie until it is finally swallowed by a giant plant.
[after a big vine has swiped Carl's car and folded it in half]
Carl Bentley: Fine! Take it!
- Weapons That Suck: The board game, first when it traps Alan in the jungle, and once Alan wins the game, all the hazards that came out of it are sucked back in...as well as the 26 years that had passed since Alan and Sarah first sat down to play it.
- Wham Line: For Alan, thrice.
- After he had just been taken out of the game:
Judy: This house has been empty for years. Everyone thought you were dead.
- And of course, much later, the game gives one to Alan:
Game: A hunter from the darkest wild makes you feel just like a child...
- And on a brighter note, near the end.
Alan: (whispers) Jumanji.... (louder, happier) Jumanji!
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Aunt Nora? We can theorize that she's okay after everything was reversed, but it would be nice to know what her status is in the alternate continuity. Presumably, we can infer that she's fine and a lot less stressed now she doesn't have to deal with the tragic death of her brother and sister-in-law, having to take their children under her care and dealing with the aftermath of whenever they decide to act out.
- What Year Is This?: Alan, after being released from the jungle after twenty-six years. Subverted, as Carl believes he's asking about the car that Alan just jumped on, saying "It was brand new."
- When Dimensions Collide: Things that come from Jumanji seem quite able to continue to work on the rules of their homeworld.
- Wiper Start: Alan, trying to start a car to get away from giant mosquitoes, accidentally lowers the convertible's roof instead. Oops.
- Yellow Brick Road: You finish the game or die trying. That's how it works.
- You Can See That, Right?: Sarah asks this of Judy when the gang sees a group of monkeys zoom down the street on a motorbike. This is especially significant, because the incident involving Alan has already put Sarah in psychotherapy. Judy confirms she can in fact see them, so Sarah is still sane.