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Film / Jumanji

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"A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind. You roll the dice to move your token. Doubles gets another turn. The first player to reach the end wins."
Jumanji inscription

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 & 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, Zathura, 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.

The film begins 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 Parrish 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 move by themselves upon the roll of the dice, and then cryptic words appear in a glass dome in the middle of the board. Upon his first move, Alan is sucked into the game, while Sarah is chased out of the house by a swarm of bats.


Cut to the present day, where two orphans named Judy (Dunst) and Peter Shepard (Pierce)—yes, the brother and sister from the book—move into Alan's old house to live with their aunt Nora. 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 finish the game in order to undo all of its consequences.

The film was followed up by an animated series that aired on UPN and BKN; Everett Peck designed the characters. 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 (sometimes 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.


A sequel featuring an all-new cast, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, came out in December 2017, and was successful enough to generate its own direct sequel Jumanji: The Next Level in December 2019.

Jumanji contains examples of:

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  • Acting Unnatural:
    • Judy and Peter cook up a lie about what's going on. They screw up, and police officer Carl Bentley almost catches on.
    • Later, when all four players are together and Carl shows back up, Alan even says "act natural." They then proceed with some not-so-innocent whistling.
  • 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 featured only Judy and Peter. Both Alan and Sarah were created for the film. Given some of the new elements came from a story treatment written by the author himself, he got a story credit.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Van Pelt in the film. In the original book, he was just a lost jungle guide; the only remotely bad thing he did was deliberately ignore Judy when she tried to ask him for help.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Van Pelt wears a classic safari-style getup complete with cape and pith helmet.
  • The Alleged Car: Carl's car gradually accumulates damage throughout the film. In fact, a carnivorous plant eats it.
  • All There in the Script: Well, all there in the Junior Novel. The surname of Caleb and Benjamin, the two boys who bury the Jumanji board game in the 1800s is stated to be Sproul.
  • 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 Stampede: A variety of wildlife stampede through town after being freed by a dice roll, including rhinos, elephants, zebras and pelicans. They are even on the movie poster!
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Crosses over with Required Secondary Powers; as mentioned, the game sometimes creates large bodies of water, which would be a bit of a problem if the game board sank.
    • The same could be said of the game pieces sticking themselves to the board, and being able to fold up the board. If not for these features, losing game pieces (and thus your progress or even your chance of finishing the game) would be a very real concern. The only exception is the dice, if they happen to be outside of the game board when it's folded up for the requisite running-away from whatever hazard has emerged. It's unclear if the game would accept replacement dice or not, but the game does recognize a dice roll even off the board; during the final confrontation with Van Pelt, Alan drops the dice, with one die falling into the house's crevice, but once it comes to a stop, the game accepts it as Alan's winning roll.
  • Any Last Words?: Van Pelt asks this to Alan just as the game ends with Alan responding "Jumanji".
  • Apathetic Clerk: The gun store clerk who Van Pelt buys a new gun from. He gladly waives the waiting period as soon as Van Pelt drops some gold coins in front of him. For what it's worth, he does ask if Van Pelt is a postal worker.
  • 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.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: As the game continues, it effectively turns the Parrish Mansion into a self-contained jungle world. Worse, the wildlife that doesn't stay in the mansion causes havoc in the town itself.
    Alan Parrish: I grew up in this. It's the real world that scares me.
  • 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 he already has the axe he thought he had to break into the shed to get.
  • Babies Ever After: In the epilogue, Sarah is heavily pregnant with her and Alan's first child.
  • Bad Future: By 1995, Judy and Peter's parents died, Sarah was believed to be crazy after her efforts to explain what happened to Alan failed considerably, and 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 everything they had trying to locate his missing son. Inverted once the game is beaten, resetting time to when Alan and Sarah first started playing it. This allows them to make sure what happened to the town — and Judy and Peter's parents — doesn't happen again.
  • 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, the point was to devolve him.
    Game: A law of Jumanji having been broken, you will slip back even more than your token.
  • Ballistic Discount: Subverted. We're set up to 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.
  • Bat Scare: Sarah is chased out of the Parrish home by a swarm of bats she unleashed.
  • 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.
    • Jumanji really doesn't like people trying to cheat at it.
  • Big Bad: Jumanji itself appears to have a will of its own, luring people into playing it and then attempting to prevent the game from being finished. 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 (aside from a little bullying), and it all goes away once the game is finished. Though Van Pelt has a more active role.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The game throws both giant mosquitoes and giant spiders at the players.
  • Big Fancy House: The Parrish family mansion. Emphasis on "big" as this image shows, the place has 15+ foot ceilings that make even full-grown adults feel like children. This Georgian/Colonial Revival house, with its marble floors, crystal chandeliers, winding grand staircase, massive library, and other lavish appointments, is an appropriate symbol of status for Sam Parrish, the owner of one of the most important businesses in the entire town.
    • Subverted in a rather upsetting way by seeing the increasingly more severe amounts of damage dealt to it by the game. By the final turns, the place has been overtaken by vines, creepers, and carnivorous plants; flooded; battered by a stampede; and split in half by an earthquake. When the Reset Button is pushed, it is of course restored like everything else.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Judy screams "Don't!" when Peter rolled the dice at his turn, because she already suspected that things are coming out of the game.
    • Sarah gives off several of these after she wakes up from the shock of seeing Alan again after 26 years.
    • In the new timeline, Alan and Sarah yell one when Judy and Peter's parents mention going on the ski trip that they know will get them killed.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Alan uses his ancestor Angus' 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.
  • Bring the Anchor Along: Alan handcuffs Carl to the door of his police car, then drives to the store where Van Pelt has the others trapped. He leaves the car (and Carl) in the parking lot. Shortly after, Carl shows up in the store, still handcuffed to the now detached car door and looking for a hacksaw to cut the cuffs off.
  • 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 wielding an axe (and is now talking to her). 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.

  • Cats Are Mean: An enormous and ferocious male lion is one of the hazards that Peter unleashes, and it decides to occupy one of the Parrish bedrooms to sleep before resuming his attack on Alan after being awakened.
  • 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.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Peter's attempt to cheat not only results in his piece being sent back to the beginning, but he starts turning into a monkey.
  • Chekhov's Gun: 3 examples.
    • 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).
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In the new timeline, Alan and Sarah are married, with Sarah expecting a child.
  • Children Raise You: Despite Alan and Sarah having some very understandable emotional scars and stunting from the game, having Judy and Peter around help them to put aside their fears and issues to complete the game, and to protect them from whatever dangers it throws at them.
  • Chronically Crashed Car: Carl's car repeatedly suffers mishaps until it is finally eaten by a giant flower.
  • Color Motif: The poisonous flower is purple, a stereotypically poisonous color. It also has some dangerous red mixed in as well.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Alan learns to face his problems and see his father as a source of inspiration rather than childish egotistical fear. It just takes him an inconceivably horrible Training from Hell to reach it.
  • Cool House: The Parrish house is certainly large and impressive, but doesn't really fit the qualifications of a "Cool House;" at least, not until the board game Jumanji is brought in through the front door. Once the dice are cast, the mansion becomes filled with a host of wonders including a menagerie of exotic animals, a jungle's worth of vines and man-eating plants, quicksand floors, etc. "Cool" may be in the eye of the beholder, as none of the game players enjoy these "improvements."
  • Crapsack World: The town the film is set in is 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.
  • Creator Provincialism: Given Chris Van Allsburg lives in Massachusetts, the movie is set in another New England state, New Hampshire.
  • Cruel Elephant: Rampaging elephants are among the stampeding animals.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: 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 exoticized Africa.
  • Death by Adaptation: Peter and Judy's parents, and Judy herself dies in Peter's arms after being shot by one of the poisonous plans. In both cases, the Reset Button saves them in the new timeline.
  • Death World: The jungle world inside the game itself isn't shown, but considering all the obstacles in the film come from there (and Alan implies in his monologue that what we see is tame compared to some of the creatures inside the game), it is very likely one.
  • Demoted to Extra: Judy and Peter, more or less; in the book, they were the main protagonists, and while they are still very important in the film, it's Alan who is arguably the main focus of the story.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: Downplayed when Sarah tries to use a Bank of New Hampshirenote  ATM during the rampage in downtown only to find that it's out of service.
  • Determinator: Once Aunt Nora catches wind of all the terrible things going on in town, she becomes determined to get home to find Judy and Peter, no matter how many weird things she keeps running into—and she runs into a lot. It's almost a shame she's the film's Designated Monkey.
    • And of course Van Pelt, by default.
  • 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. It also ends what's been a somewhat dark children's film on the happiest of happy moments.
    • At the end, however, it's shown that the game has washed up intact on a faraway shore and might have attracted two new participants with its ominous drumming...
  • 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.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Again, Judy after being shot by poisonous barbs. Probably a combination of shock that they hit her and the poison itself taking effect.
  • Dramatic Ammo Depletion: The ruthless hunter Van Pelt chases Alan out of his home after he is summoned from the game with a large lever action rifle. After some chasing, and even attacking a police officer, Van Pelt lines up a good shot on Alan, but has already used his last bullet.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: When Sarah offers to get tea, Alan stops her with a thump of his sword.
  • 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, circumstances are never ever out of your control."
    • The audience can easily recognize that Carl's new shoe design is, in fact, a '90s-era athletic shoe. This adds extra irony to Mr. Parrish's disdain for Carl's ideas, as it suggests Alan's father has been passing up the chance to revolutionize the industry years before Nike debuted the waffle sole or air-cushioning.
  • 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.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Alan, as an adult. Justified in that while he'd had some experience driving as a kid, he hasn't been able to practice in 26 years due to being in Jumanji... also, he's panicking because of circumstances both times (they're under attack by giant mosquitoes the first time, and Van Pelt is actively hunting his friends the second) that he's shown behind the wheel. Plus, even if he does have some minimal familiarity with the mechanics of driving, he's clueless about the actual rules of road safety and etiquette.
  • Dumb Struck: Peter, for a brief time after the death of his and Judy's parents, doesn't speak to anyone (except Judy), except when screaming 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 where Everything Is Trying to Kill You by an Implacable Man and then returning to discover that his disappearance ruined the lives of his family, his friend, and 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.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: The final danger unleashed by the game is an earthquake, that causes a fissure which rips the mansion in half.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Van Pelt appears to be a wild game hunter, but we only ever see him hunt Alan. 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."
    Sarah: 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 alien place filled with indescribable horrors and you should count yourself lucky for not being what they're gnawing on that night. "I've seen things you've only seen in your nightmares."
  • Elective Mute: Peter talks to no one but his sister ever since their parents' death by car accident. It's not until Alan gets out of the game and finds his parents are also dead, that he starts talking to him as well.
  • 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 Trying to Kill You: Everything the game sends out tries to keep the players from finishing. The world inside the game is literally this. Alan spent twenty-six years avoiding everything around him.
  • Everytown, America: Brantford, New Hampshire.
  • 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 is certainly antagonistic.
  • Exact Words: When Alan asks a random bystander where the Parrishes are, the bystander tells him, "They're over on Adams Street." What he didn't tell him is that they were buried at the Adams Street cemetery when they died.
  • Expy: Sam Parrish is basically a 1960s version of George Darling from Peter Pan. Taken Up to Eleven by even having the actor, Jonathan Hyde, playing the villain as well.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Most of the film takes place in one day, plus another in 1969 and another in an alternate 1994.
  • Faint in Shock: 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. She's spent all that time trying to convince herself that it was a hallucination.
  • False Reassurance: When Alan asks the homeless man living in his father's abandoned shoe factory if the Parrishes are still around, he says yes, and they're over on Adams St. Alan looks excited for a second...only for the film to immediately cut to the the gravestones of both of his parents in the cemetery.
  • Fantastic Flora: As the film progresses and the game hazards keep coming, the Parrish house is overrun with jungle vines and deadly flowers.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Pelicans that Judy unleashed, with one of them briefly taking the game away.
  • Five-Finger Discount:
    • As the animals are wreaking 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 looks like he's about to shoot the gun store owner. Van Pelt just pulls out some gold coins to pay for a new weapon, then some more so the owner will give it to him without any waiting period.
  • Foreshadowing: Van Pelt is on the game's cover.
  • 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.
  • Foul Flower: The poison purple flowers and the carnivorous yellow ones (the "pods"). In particular, the pods move as if they have a mind of their own, and the purple ones might too, if how the one Peter chopped off writhed in its death throes on the floor is any indication. Bottom line, these flowers are not for pollination; they are there to kill you somehow, just like everything else in the game.
  • For Want of a Nail:
    • If Alan didn't hear Jumanji's drumbeats in the construction site, the game wouldn't have been discovered, Alan wouldn't have gotten sucked into the game for 26 years and the Bad Future would've never occurred.
    • Thanks to what Alan and Sarah know, they adjust the timeline accordingly:
      • Alan apologizes to his father, and they renew their relationship. Since Alan never disappeared, his parents are still alive in the present day and Alan talks happily with him over the phone about how much fun their Christmas will be.
      • Alan marries Sarah, and they're expecting a baby. She's not put on meds or forced to see a therapist, meaning she's much happier.
      • Carl is never fired, and it's revealed he became a family friend. You can see him singing at the holiday party.
      • Alan hires Judy's father to work at the company; it's implied he found out the skiing trip will kill both parents, and so he insists they start sooner. They also give presents to Judy and Peter, who shyly greet them at the party but have no memory of the previous timeline.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • When fighting Van Pelt in the supermarket, Judy used the scanner to blind him. The read-out? "No sale".
  • Friend or Idol Decision: After the earthquake splits the house in two, Sarah has to either to keep Alan from falling from the attic or grab the board game as it balances precariously on the edge. Despite Alan insisting she get it, she refuses to let him go.
  • 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. Then they escalate to carnivorous plants, a hunter that won't quit, an entire stampede that 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... Possibly a volcano, considering what happened in the original book. It's lampshaded in Sarah's final rhyme: "You're almost there with much at stake/Now the ground begins to quake..."
    • At one point, just as they've got the game back from a pelican (roll with it), Carl turns up and arrests Alan. Sarah and Judy have no idea what to do next: "We can't finish it without him." Then Peter calls for help, they realised he tried to cheat, and the game takes steps to punish him accordingly...
    • The group returning to the mansion, and it has fully transformed into a jungle.
      Alan: Suddenly I feel right at home.

  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The four main heroes consist of 2 male (Alan and Peter) and 2 female (Sarah and Judy).
  • Genre Savvy: When Van Pelt runs out of bullets for his Elephant gun, he goes to a nearby gun shop to buy some more ammunition, apparently because he left any extra ammo behind in Jumanji. He then finds he has to replace his rifle with a modern firearm because the rounds it accepts are no longer being manufactured. Basically, without any easy access to the resources Jumanji provides him, he has to quickly improvise if he wants to even pose a threat to Alan.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: After Judy is shot by poisonous barbs, Peter rushes to her in concern, but she calmly tells him to help Alan and Sarah (who are in mortal peril) instead. She even calmly hands them the game and steps away before collapsing, as she doesn't want to distract them from completing the game (and thus undoing the madness) by worrying about her. Even though, for all she knows at the time, she could die before the game is complete and there is no Reset Button for it.
  • Great White Hunter: Van Pelt was one of these; well, before he started Hunting the Most Dangerous Game.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Fitting with the rest of the game, Van Pelt's elephant gun seems less like an actual firearm, and more like an amalgamation of terrifying gun tropes; it's massive, somehow both clip-fed and lever-action (the better for a Dramatic Gun Cock), and features a large crosshair-shaped ironsight that sits so far off the gun you'd have to aim at an angle to line it up with the barrel.
  • Gut Punch: In the ending, Alan and Sarah realize they're kids again, having returned to the moment they started playing the game. The door opens, and Mr. Parrish returns. Alan quickly hugs his father, nearly crying and apologizing for saying he hated him. Mr. Parrish obviously doesn't know that Alan lived in a timeline where they were separated, and returns the hug. They make up, and Alan confesses about what happened to the conveyor belt.
  • 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.
  • Hellish Horse: Zebras are among the stampeding animals that wreak havoc upon being unleashed.
  • Hello Again, Officer: In an inversion, it's Officer Bentley who gets the worse of it.
  • Here We Go Again!:
    • The film ends with two French girls (or at least two children from another country who speak French, judging by the accents) 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.
      French-speaking person: Qu'est ce que c'est, ce brouit?French 
    • If you consider that the two boys in the brief 1869 prologue had played the game and apparently barely survived, Alan and Sarah playing becomes a Here We Go Again!.
      Younger brother: What if someone finds it?
      Older brother: May God have mercy on their souls.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sarah attempts one to save Alan, holding onto him as he's pulled into the floor-turned-quicksand.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. The players of the first round are children, obviously; in the second round, a pair of child siblings are added.
  • 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 (which in real life is actually the city of Keene, New Hampshire).
  • Honor Before Reason: Alan's father tells him to stand up to a bully (not realising the bully wasn't alone), 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.
  • Hungry Jungle: The world inside the game. Alan describes it as a place of unimaginable horror and violence where letting your guard down for a second could spell your doom.
  • 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 and Sarah's pieces are still on the board. Then he convinces a reluctant Sarah to play as well. Then after Van Pelt gets out of the game, Judy asks if the hunter was the real reason why he didn't want to play. Sarah was angry with Peter about it.
    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 reassures Sarah that she'd be dead if she was his target, but he's only hunting Alan.
    Van Pelt: Stop your cringing, woman; I could have shot you at any moment.
  • Implacable Man: Van Pelt, who's been hunting Alan ever since he was a child and won't stop until he kills him.
  • Improvised Weapon: There are several legitimate weapons seen throughout the film, such as the cavalry saber, Officer Bentley's revolver, Van Pelt's Elephant gun, or his hunting rifle, but more often than not, the players have to use imagination and ingenuity to outwit the hazards of Jumanji. Below are a few examples:
    • A tennis racket doubles as a highly effective fly swatter when dealing with jumbo-sized mosquitoes.
    • While Peter runs off to retrieve an axe to fight the giant spiders, Judy defends Alan and Sarah with a wooden music stand found in the attic. Interestingly, the ornately carved tripod proves to be a much more effective weapon than the cumbersome axe, which the spiders just dodge.
    • Earlier on, Peter MacGyvers a trap to buy him, Judy, and Sarah some time as they flee Van Pelt in a large retail store. He uses a bench press, a bottle of detergent, oxygen tanks, and a canoe.
  • Incorrect Animal Noise:
    • The lion that appears early in the game sounds off with what are actually leopard snarls.
    • The crocodiles sound off with alligator bellows (which aren't that inappropriate) and, more jarringly, leopard snarls.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • As a boy in 1969, Alan is good friends with Carl, one of his father's employees. When they meet again 26 years later, Carl (who's now a cop) understandably doesn't recognize him, then freaks out when Alan tells him. Alan uses the opportunity to trick Carl into letting him escape.
    • By the end of the film, Sarah and Alan with Judy and Peter. Even after the reset, they remain friends.
  • Invisible to Adults: The Jumanji drums luring people to uncover the game can only be heard by kids. When Alan is a boy, he can hear them at a construction site but none of the workers seem to do. Aunt Nora doesn't hear anything when Peter and Judy hear the game's drums coming from the attic. The game's effects, however, are visible to everyone. And it doesn't matter how old you get during the course of the game: "Do not start unless you plan to finish," no matter how long it takes.
  • Irony:
    • 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.
  • 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 having a good laugh]
  • It Has Only Just Begun: When Peter accuses Alan of being afraid to help them after his release, Alan retorts with a monologue explaining that everything they've encountered so far (oversized mosquitoes, monkeys and even a lion) are mild compared to the things he's seen for the last 26 years.
  • It's All About Me: Sarah has a brief moment when Alan and the kids try to convince her to play Jumanji, as she explains, "Last time we [Alan and I] played it ruined my life."
    Alan: [sardonic laugh] The game ruined your life? "In the jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight."
  • It Will Never Catch On: Young Alan isn't impressed by Carl's sneaker prototype.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Judy's last words after being poisoned by the plant.
  • 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.
  • Jerkass: The pelican from the stampede. Walks up and steals the board game first of all, for no conceivable reason. Then when Alan catches up with it and feeds it a fish, it kicks the game into the river.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Alan's father Sam Parrish and Alan himself as an adult.
  • Jungle Drums: The board game's Leitmotif. It's chilling when potential players hear them before the case is even opened.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite Billy Jessup and his Gang of Bullies beating the crap out of Alan, they receive no punishment. However, it's because Sarah told Billy to stop picking on Alan later that day. Also, considering Alan and Sarah are married in the end, it's obvious that Billy Did Not Get the Girl, so Alan still came out on top in that regard.
  • Keep It Foreign: In the French dub, the two French-speaking girls at the end become two Spanish-speaking girls.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The gang of boys who beat Alan (and steal his bike) at the film's beginning.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The movie takes on a much darker tone with the introduction of Van Pelt.
  • Large Ham: Van Pelt in most of his screentime. Alan, particularly right after being released from the game.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: Alan getting arrested by Carl saves him from a hit-and-run ambush by Van Pelt, and he knows it.
  • List-of-Experiences Speech: Alan has an unsettling list of frights that he's evaded within the jungle he was trapped in.
    "You think monkeys, mosquitoes, and lions are bad? That's 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 that you're not dessert. Afraid? You don't even know what afraid is. You will not last five minutes without me."
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Alan starts out as one of these. His wealthy parents are emotionally distant (particularly his father), it's strongly implied Sarah is his Only Friend, and he's a favorite target of the school bullies.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The board game itself. It's all dice rolls. The "skill" comes in avoiding the various creatures released by the game.

  • Made of Iron: Van Pelt. He takes a chop-block to the shins from a canoe powered by broken scuba tanks moving fast enough to shatter his legs. It doesn't even give him a limp. Not five minutes later he is buried under a few hundred pounds worth of falling paint cans, and isn't even fazed. Justified, the guy apparently lives in the Jumanji jungle. Everything going on for the protagonists is sheer hell but for Van Pelt it's just another day. He also is not a real human, just a construct of the game, and therefore likely made as indestructible as possible so that he can keep antagonizing those who roll him out of the jungle.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The rules of the game are clear, and breaking those rules results in a punishment. They must play the game and deal with the hazards as they come. Van Pelt explains this when stating that his mission is 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.
  • Manchild: Alan was sucked into a terrifying alternate dimension when he was in grade school, where he had to rely on basic survival skills the whole time. When he returns home, his emotional and psychological understanding of "civilization" is the same as when he left.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Even though the players try to remain still, it still grabs one of them.
  • Maniac Monkeys: One of the first things Judy and Peter summon when they enter the game is a pack of malicious monkeys.
  • Match Cut: The Parrish house's front door, first slamming closed behind Sarah as she runs out chased by the bats, then opening on Aunt Nora, Peter and Judy, and the real estate agent coming in twenty-six years later. (Also counts as an Age Cut since the door visibly ages.)
  • Meaningful Name: The name "Jumanji" means "many effects" in the Zulu language, referring to the game's reality warping magic.
  • 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.
  • Memory Wipe Exploitation: Ater Alan and Sarah finish the titular board game and everything returns to normal, Sarah kisses Alan, saying that she wants to do it before they forget everything that happened when they played the game.
  • 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 of what happened.
  • Metafictional Title: Within the film, Jumanji is the name of a board game.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: As Peter's transformation continues, he starts to involuntarily make monkey sounds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mosquito Miscreants: Among the unleashed hazards is a swarm of huge mosquitoes that can use their proboscis to pierce the visor of a car.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Alan, when he realizes that he accidentally caused Carl to lose his job back in 1969.
    • Implied to be Alan's father's reaction after his son "ran away," as he spent everything searching for him and eventually died of grief. Upon learning his father's fate Alan is understandably heartbroken.
    • Alan has a minor one near the climax of the film. When Peter is upset after being turned into a monkey, Sarah asks Alan to give Peter a little pep talk to cheer him up. Instead, Alan initially gives Peter a What the Hell, Hero? lecture for cheating and disregarding his warnings about how dangerous the game really is, then telling him to act like a man and stop crying... but Alan soon realizes that he is acting just like his father did to him as a child and sincerely apologizes to Peter.
  • My Greatest Failure: Sarah wasn't able to rescue Alan from the jungle for 26 years. Everyone blew off her attempts to explain the situation during this time period, but she makes up for it in the end.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Van Pelt finally seizes the opportunity to kill Alan in the climax as he corners him at gunpoint. However, the game ends just before he can shoot him sending everything back inside it including Van Pelt himself.
  • 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.
  • No Fair Cheating: Jumanji really, really doesn't like it when people cheat. It turns Peter into a monkey for even trying to fudge a die roll.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Played for Laughs. Sarah 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 and leave Judy and Peter orphaned.
  • No Ontological Inertia: The entire movie after the first twenty minutes or so ultimately becomes 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.
  • No OSHA Compliance:
    • When first hearing the drums, Alan decides to go check in a construction site. No worker nor watchman notices him. Quite apart from finding some horror board game, a child wandering with no protection in the middle of a construction site is very dangerous. None of them even looks at him. After he found the game, a worker finally stops and stares at him silently, letting him leave on his own instead of escorting him out, as if he still doesn't realize that the kid could get someone or himself injured.
    • The same goes for young Alan, strolling peacefully in the middle of a shoe factory a few minutes earlier, but it's implied he often did so, and at least, his father reacts properly.
  • No, You: After Alan calls Sarah "crazy", their resulting argument that very quickly devolves into this.
  • 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.
    Van Pelt: 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.
    • The Jumanji itself. It may be an Artifact of Doom that is capable of summoning unspeakable horrors upon the world, but it does obey its own rules, and when the game is complete, it does revert everything back to how things were before the game was started.
  • 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.
    Peter: So... you're gonna help us?
    Alan: I'll watch... but I'm not afraid.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, Sarah had more than one boyfriend. Or she just had a lot of admirers.
    • During the dinner scene, Aunt Nora says "I can't believe I had to see your principal after your first day." Why this happened is left unanswered in the film, but it's averted in the novelization, which explains that Judy made up a story about what happened to their parents and one of her classmates (who happens to be the son of the realtor who sold them the house, and who was told the true story by their aunt) calls her a liar, which led to Peter going berserk on him. When the kid manages to run off, the other kids surround Peter and call him an animal until Judy manages to get through them and drag Peter away.
  • 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 spent in the jungle is pretty unsettling.
      Alan: 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 Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant after his time trapped in the game. In the novelization, he describes a few of the more terrible things, such as 'snakes as long as a school bus' 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" Remark: 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.
    Alan: Twenty-six years in the deepest, darkest jungle and I still became my father.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain:
    • The monkeys initially seem like a bunch of mischief-makers... then one of them starts throwing kitchen knives at Peter and Judy.
    • When we see the pelican, it seems like a joke. It stops being funny when it grabs the game.

  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Alan survived in Jumanji for 26 YEARS.
  • Off to Boarding School: Played with. When Alan's parents reveal they're sending him to the Cliffside School for Boys, they say that it is a boarding school that all the Parrish males go to when they prove themselves ready for it (in Alan's case, facing Billy Jessup's gang bravely despite being outnumbered) and tell him like he's won the lottery. Alan unsurprisingly does not see it that way, and thinks that his dad is just sending him there to get rid of him. An argument breaks out, ending with Sam telling Alan they're taking him there next Sunday whether he likes it or not, and that's the end of it and Alan tells his dad he's never talking to him again. It turns out though, when everyone thought Alan ran away, Sam spent almost his whole fortune trying to find him and eventually died of grief, much to adult Alan's dismay.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Alan when he realizes Judy and Peter had inadvertently joined the game he and Sarah had started 26 years ago, meaning not only does he have to play but they also have to track down Sarah so she can too.
    • 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.
      Sarah: WHOA!!
    • After the monkeys appear, Judy notices more instructions:
      Judy: "Adventurers beware..." [she and Peter look at each other] "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."
    • This iconic bit, when Alan realizes what Judy's latest roll unleashed:
    • Van Pelt's expression when Alan says "Jumanji", realising that Alan just won the game.
  • Offing the Offspring: One of the rumors for why Alan disappeared was that his father Sam murdered him with an axe and hid the body pieces in the house. Alan finds it proposterous that people actually thought someone like Sam would do that.
  • Ominous Crack: Alan, Judy, and Peter take refuge from a mosquito (it has a four-inch-long needle, is the size of a pigeon, and is 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. Even more seriously is the giant crack that ends up dividing the house in two thanks to the earthquake, which is a nice bit of symbolism for what's happened to the town and everyone in it, but especially between Alan and Sarah as well as Alan and his father.
  • Opening the Flood Gates: The abandoned house floods from rain due to the titular board game's effects. The police officer kicks the door open only to be greeted by a torrent.
  • 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.
  • 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 and almost swiping at Alan.
    Peter: [reading] "His fangs are sharp, he likes your taste. Your party better move post-haste."
  • Parental Substitute: Aunt Nora, but she knows as much about dealing with kids as a plumber knows about brain surgery. As the game progresses, Alan and Sarah fulfil this role too because they are the only adults that can take care of the kids.
  • Parting Words Regret: When arguing with Sam about going to Cliffside, Alan yells "I'm never talking to you again!". Alan then spends the next twenty-six years in the jungle and when he finally gets out, he learns his father died after years of searching for him. After finally winning the game, Alan is returned to five minutes after that argument and they immediately reconcile with each other. Sam re-assures Alan that the latter doesn't have to go to boarding school if he does not want to.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The lion and the crocodile, made by those responsible for Alien³ and Goro from Mortal Kombat: The Movie.
  • Pinned to the Wall: Alan manages to pin Van Pelt to a pillar with a thrown sword, also throwing off Van Pelt's aim so that he can escape. Van Pelt simply snaps the blade and continues the hunt.
  • Plot Hole:
    • When the monsoon is summoned the ground floor of Parrish manor is flooded until Carl kicks the door, but the stampede punches an elephant-sized hole in the side of the building that the water should have drained out of.
    • In a scene where Sarah calls her shrink, Alan sets the board on the table. Peter's piece (Monkey) is on an entirely wrong square number (4 squares from the center instead 7 squares from start), facing in the wrong direction, and moreover it's not even on his path, but on Judy's.
  • Pocket Dimension: Apparently, one exists inside of the game: it's where all of the obstacles (including Van Pelt) come from (making it a bona fide Death World), and Alan is sucked inside it during his first game with Sarah.
  • 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.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Alan shouts "Harvest Time!" when he chops the vine off the man-eating plant with his ancestor's sword.
  • Promotion to Parent: Nora for the kids after their parents died, something she's clearly a bit overwhelmed with.
  • Properly Paranoid: Alan, as a result of his time in Jumanji, constantly expects something horrible around the corner, because there is or will be as a result of Jumanji.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Van Pelt is explicitly bound by the rules of the game to hunt Alan. 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". Though his good will only extends to others, as he shoots to kill whenever he targets Alan, who was a valid target when they met, in the jungle, and who unleashed Van Pelt with his roll.

  • Quicksand Sucks: "Beware the ground on which you stand, the floor is quicker than the sand!" And it works in weird ways, given Alan's legs are seen dangling from the ceiling in the floor below.
  • Rare Guns: In-universe example: Van Pelt's elephant gun (made from a heavily modified Winchester 1901 shotgun) is so rare, ammunition hasn't been made for it since 1903. When he runs dry, he upgrades to a silenced USAS-12 (another shotgun made to look like a rifle) with a suitably large bribe of gold coins.
  • Reality Warper: The Jumanji board is capable of producing people and creatures from the pseudo-African dimension that exists inside it, and even causes floods and earthquakes, turns floorboards into quicksand, and ultimately reverses time.
  • Refugee from TV Land:
    • After exiting the game, Alan comes across as this. It just takes him a shave and a change of clothes to adapt back.
    • Van Pelt follows the rules of the game in the real world and never questions them.
  • Reset Button: Finishing the game is so powerful it can even reverse time.
  • Reverse Psychology: How Peter convinces Alan to stick around and help with the game, by saying that he and Judy can handle the game by themselves, knowing that Alan knows better. Peter even name drops the trope when Alan finally agrees.
  • Rhino Rampage: Rhinos are the first of the stampeding animals to be unleashed from the game.
  • Riddle for the Ages: What is Jumanji? Who made it? What sort of magic did they use? Is the jungle that Alan was sent to a real place (alternate dimension or otherwise) to which the game is merely a portal or a fictional world of the game's creation? We'll never know, and, in-universe, characters who've played the game don't want to know.
  • 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. As a result, everyone gets a happy ending.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Everything in the game table, including the results.
    Jumanji: A game for those who seek 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.
  • Rising Water, Rising Tension: Happens when the game unleashes a monsoon inside the house. To make matters worse, the rising flood waters contain crocodiles.
  • Roll-and-Move: The titual board game lets the player roll the dice, causing the game piece he or she chooses move on its own. The game piece moves depending on the number the player has rolled.
  • Running Gag:
    • The fat, grunting rhino who keeps falling farther and farther behind the rest of the stampede.
    • Carl's police car sustaining more and more damage throughout the film, until it's finally eaten by a carnivorous plant.
  • The Runt at the End: That one overweight rhino who trails 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.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Van Pelt when he's knocked into camp equipment at high speed.
  • 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.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: 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, then presumably another 26 years at the bottom of the river and sea before finally being washed up on shore.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Alan being trapped in the jungle.
  • Sentient Phlebotinum: The game itself! 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The idea of the villain being played by the same actor as the protagonist's father comes from productions of Peter Pan, where Hook is almost always acted/voiced by the person who plays Mr. Darling. Doubles as an Actor Allusion for Robin Williams, who played Peter Pan in Hook.
    • Of course, in general, both Alan's father and Van Pelt are Alan's enemies (Van Pelt literally, Alan's father being such a Jerkass). The idea of having the villain of two parallel universes played by the same actor goes back to Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch/Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz.
    • The monkeys are motivated to rob an electronics store when they see the flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz on the televisions.
    • Listen to the volume, melody, and meter of Alan's singing in the bathroom. He's singing the theme song from Gilligan's Island. If you listen closely enough you can actually hear the words.
    • After Alan finises shaving:
    Judy: What happened to you? You shave with a piece of glass?
    Alan: [mocking voice] "What happened to you?" The Clampetts have a yard sale?
    • "I know! It's like something out of The Twilight Zone."
    • Trying to lighten the mood, Alan takes up the dice and says, "I've got it—Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Wrench!" Then, sheepishly, "Clue."
  • 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.
  • Silly Simian: 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.
  • Sir Verb-a-Lot: The town has a store called "Sir Sav-A-Lot".
  • Something We Forgot: Basically, the entire plot would have been avoided if young Sarah hadn't forgotten that Alan was trapped in Jumanji.
  • Spiders Are Scary: The game unleashes a swarm of giant deadly spiders towards the end of the movie.
  • Stealth Pun: Alan's piece on the board is an elephant. What does Van Pelt initially use to hunt him and only him? An elephant gun.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Van Pelt has a run-in with the then-newly-enacted Brady Bill when shopping for a new gun after his lever-action rifle runs out of ammo (which is long out of production); 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.
    • Despite having a good vantage and plenty of time to set up his shots, Van Pelt is unfamiliar with his semiautomatic USAS-12 (and hasn't had time to dial in the scope properly) and so misses Alan.
    • Sarah seeing Alan getting sucked into a board game shook her psyche to the core. Her getting blown off by others when she tried to explain what happened also lead her into isolating herself. When she encounters the adult Alan when he escapes from the game 26 years later she is understandably very freaked out.
    • Alan's disappearance had a devastating effect on his father who poured everything he had into finding him and neglecting his work, eventually giving up on the factory entirely when he believed Alan was dead. This damaged the whole town as the factory was the main source of employment and income and it's now overcome with poverty and homelessness when Alan comes back.
  • 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 fiancé, but then he recalled that Peter and Judy said Alan was their uncle. They are never given the chance to clarify both statements due to Alan insisting on being taken when he hears Van Pelt's gunshot.
  • Taking the Bullet: As her second Heroic Sacrifice in the space of a few minutes, Sarah throws herself in front of Alan when Van Pelt is about to shoot him.
  • Taking the Heat: In an Honor Before Reason moment, Carl doesn't tell Mr. Parrish that Alan was the one who put his sneaker on the conveyor belt. He lost his job as a result. Alan is quick to rectify this when the timeline resets, confessing to his father that he was responsible and Carl shouldn't be fired.
  • Taking You with Me: The moment Alan won the game as soon as he said "Jumanji", Van Pelt attempts to shoot him down before he gets sucked back into the game.
  • Technology Marches On: Invoked through the dialogue. When the game pieces jump to the board directly in 1969, their rationale was it is magnets. In 1995, Judy thinks it's microchips.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end, when two French girls walking on a beach find Jumanji half-buried in the sand, and the drums start beating again, signifying that the legend of the game will never end.
  • 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.
    Judy Shepherd: What happened to you? You shave with a piece of glass?
    Alan Parrish: [mocking voice] "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 Christmas 1994.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Downplayed. When they're children, Sarah is noticeably taller than Alan.
  • 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: The winner is the first player to reach Jumanji (the center of the board, where the rhymes appear—in the Defictionalization board game as well as the original book it is a "golden city") 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."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Judy and Sarah, despite their age difference. Sarah is always shown wearing flowery skirts and dresses, while Judy wears plaid and overalls. When Sarah was Judy's age she was also... a little more fragile. For example, when Sarah was swarmed by bats, she screamed and ran away. When Judy is attacked by a swarm of giant deadly mosquitoes, she calmly grabs a tennis racket and starts whacking at them. However, when Sarah was Judy's age, she took on Alan's bullies and got his bike back from them.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Twenty-six years of surviving in a nightmare jungle appropriately do this for Alan.
    • 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 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.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Carl is more dejected and irritable after the Time Skip, although it's fairly justified given his circumstances.
  • Training from Hell: Alan's years in Jumanji made him capable of identifying and surviving any threat coming from it.
  • Trash the Set: Any time a creature from Jumanji appears on-scene.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Alan spends 26 years in Jumanji. Unfortunately, it all happens offscreen.

  • Understatement:
    • The board game advises players not to play unless they intend to finish. What seems like a casual request turns out to be a serious warning.
    • The very first consequence of a Jumanji roll seen in the film, bats terrorizing Sarah and Alan, is described as follows: "At night they fly, you better run, these wingèd things are not much fun!"
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: invoked As demonstrated in 1969, it is very possible to have the game stall out by letting the game suck one of the players into Jumanji, and not being freed via another player rolling 5 or 8.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out if Mrs. Niedermeyer is still teaching sixth grade.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Officer Bentley's brand new police car (which was 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 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 freed from the game:
      Judy: This house has been empty for years. Everyone thought you were dead.
    • The game gives one to Alan:
      Game: A hunter from the darkest wild / makes you feel just like a child...
    • On a brighter note, near the end.
      Alan: [whispers] Jumanji.... [louder, happier] Jumanji!
  • Wham Shot: After everything is sucked back in the game, Alan and Sarah find themselves back in 1969 as young teens again.
  • 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.note 
    • Where'd all those bats go after Sarah's first move summoned them?
    • On a more minor note, whatever happened to that homeless guy in the new future without the factory for him to squat in?
    • It's pretty much established that the shoe factory is the town's main anchor. It's very possible the homeless man's fortunes are greatly improved in the new timeline.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Alan occasionally calls Sarah out on not trying to get him out of the game, since he could only be released when "the dice read five or eight." Sarah, in turn, occasionally calls Alan out on being coarse with her and the kids, but especially Peter.
  • 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.
  • White Male Lead: The book is a short story about a boy and a girl, siblings finding a magical board game and playing until the girl wins. The movie is the Coming-of-Age Story of a man who found the game as a child and gets to Set Right What Once Went Wrong by winning the game.
  • Wiper Start: Alan, trying to start a car to get away from giant mosquitoes, accidentally lowers the convertible's roof instead. Oops.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Alan's reaction to Sarah telling him that everyone thought he'd killed Alan and chopped him up into pieces.
    Alan: Sarah, come on! My dad did that?! My father could barely hug me, let alone cut me into little pieces.
  • 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.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With: Alan uses this argument when trying to dissuade Judy and Peter from playing Jumanji.

"Adventurers beware: Do not begin unless you intend to finish. The exciting consequences of this game will vanish only when a player has reached Jumanji and called out its name."
Jumanji's Other Inscription

Video Example(s):


Van Pelt in a Gun Store

Having ran out of ammo for his hunting rifle, Van Pelt goes to purchase a new gun for himself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / BFG

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