The timeline of the game's prologue is oddly plausible - whatever form it took before, it makes perfect sense for Jumanji to entice its victims through a board game in 1869, less than a decade after the publication of The Checkered Game of Life.
Considering Robin Williams ad-libbed in at least every on-screen role he was in, Allan's singing the theme to Gilligan's Island in the bathroom may very well have been his idea.
The first several times I saw Jumanji, I couldn't stand the appearance of the CGI animals, which looked so cheap and fake that they detracted from an otherwise extremely engaging fantasy movie. Sure, it was only 1995 when it came out, but Jurassic Park had far superior CGI two years earlier. It wasn't until recently that I realized the animals are supposed to look fake and slightly misty—it marks them as supernaturally created intruders in the real world!
Not only that, but they came out of a board game. A board game that would have all of its images painted on it. And the game is also very old. Hence, the animals looking more fake and faded!
Right at the start, the boys say, "It's just a pack of wolves". You'd think that should still be terrifying when you're two boys alone in the woods, but they've just played Jumanji. A pack of wolves? That's nothing compared to what they've just endured.
Some other Brilliance: the reason they used the same actor to play Alan's father and the hunter is that the hunter is the representation of Alan's way to deal with problems, to run away and not face them, as well as the fact that he has a bit of an antagonistic relation with his father. It isn't until he realises that his father, despite everything, loved him with all his heart - to the point of bankrupting his own factory in order to find him - that he finally begins to take a stand, and the moment he faces his biggest fear and faces it head-on instead of just running away is the moment he finally wins. Who says that the Jumanji game wasn't "cheating" so that it ended in the moment Alan finally learned his lesson?
As further evidence of this: one die is still rolling as Alan and Van Pelt have their final showdown. It isn't until he stands up to the hunter and faces his fears that the die lands and gives him the correct number to reach Jumanji—as in, he won because he stood up to Van Pelt.
His final line ("Finally you're talking like a man"), which would fit perfectly in a father-to-son talk, further hints that he's just playing his part in the game as an ordeal for Alan.
Don't forget the game's description of Van Pelt: "He makes you ''feel like a child."
All of Van Pelt's dialogue with Alan follows this theme - he enters the movie bellowing "Not good enough, Sonny Jim!"
Slightly unrelated, but I'm sure the creators said once it was a reference to how in Peter Pan productions, the actor to play Wendy's father would always be the same actor who played Captain Hook... probably for some similar "it's all a dream"-like reason.
Tying into how the game teaches its players lessons, through this game it also taught Judy, Peter and Sarah something as well. Judy learned to show her emotions better instead of lying to others (her revealing to Peter that she does miss their parents). Peter learned to speak to other people aside from his sister and develops a close relationship with Alan and Sarah. Sarah learned to be more courageous and to confront her fears, instead of running away like she had in the beginning.
The reset to 1969 happens because the game is calling back everything released while Alan and everyone were playing, including the bats Sarah let out on her first turn, which, given the relatively short life cycle of a bat, would have been long dead in 1995.
Yet they were briefly encountered in the attic in 1995. Game constructs don't have to conform to real-life lifespans, I don't think. More likely, the game calls back all EVENTS that it caused, from when they first rolled.
Or maybe the bats just bred and very few remained by 1995.
The game instructions themselves says that the "exciting" consequences of the game will be undone which includes Alan and Sarah's respective crappy lives and the Bad Future the town suffers. The best way to undo those consequences is by rewinding the clock to right before Alan was pulled into Jumanji.
What happens if one of the players gets killed? What happens if all but one of the players gets killed? What happens if you get sucked into the game but you don't get out before its conclusion? What happens if ALL the players get killed? Does it stop the game? Are you stuck forever? Will the animals stay? Will it reset without them? It's a big question, and nobody's entirely sure of the answer. Which is why it's so important to survive and beat the game - NOBODY WANTS TO FIND OUT.
However, look at some of the ridiculously close calls throughout the film. Alan being pulled out of the game at the same time as a lion, who would have easily mauled the two defenseless children otherwise. Absolutely EVERY shot Van Pelt makes at Alan missing by a hair, along with him running out of ammo just when it seems he has him in his sights. And note, Van Pelt is a deadly good shot, as seen when he shoots the small lock off the tire stand in Sir-Sav-Alot or tips his gun with only a second's glance to quickly shoot the light fixture above Carl's head. The stampede bursting through the wall just as the group exits the room, and rushing past where Peter was fleeing them before getting pulled to safety by Alan in the nick of time. Later, during the stampede through town, Peter takes shelter in someone's abandoned car, only to have it be meticulously crushed by several animals— but only to the point that it pins him down, rather than turning him into a Peter Sandwich. Then when Judy, Peter, and Sarah are cornered by Van Pelt, Alan unintentionally and unknowingly crashes his commandeered police cruiser into the shelf of paint cans, toppling them only onto Van Pelt. Miraculously, no one else is harmed by his blind drive through the store, without brakes. Several instances of extreme good fortune involving the crocodiles occur during the monsoon scene. First off, when the group is climbing onto the table to get out of the water, Peter (who has become a supreme cheater of death, among other things) starts slipping in and is pulled back by Alan a mere moment before one of the crocodiles emerges to make a snap at him. Then, after a sudden tip of the chandelier they were taking refuge on sends Peter back into the water, he is again pulled out by Alan a split second before another crocodile gobbles up the air he had once been occupying (in addition, Alan pull's Peter out by his tail, which he would not have had if Jumanji hadn't started turning him into a monkey hours earlier for cheating. In other words, if Peter hadn't been turned into a monkey, he would have been dead, as every other part of him was submerged.) And in the game's finale, Judy is poisoned by a plant (and possibly dies, but that's never stated for certain, she may have just lost consciousness) just one turn before the winning roll. Lastly, the elements of the game being sucked back into the board just before Van Pelt's bullet hits Alan directly in the head. In conclusion, Jumanji controls everything, and sets everything up so that none of the players die, or at least not until the home stretch. It throws the players in life-threatening situations, only to save them by the skin of their teeth by tipping the scales ever so slightly. Jumanji: A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind- not a game for those who seek to die very quickly and painfully.
Given that Jumanji is a board game, with multiple players, it is likely that it is played as a competitive match. The losers gain nothing, but the winners gain everything. Those who won are those who make it out of the game with their lives; those who lose are those who died in the process. If you die in the game, you lose your play and your game piece is reverted backward. No other player can enter the play (which differs from being stuck in the game), which means that if you're stuck in Jumanji, your turn is passed until someone rolls 5 or 8. But if you manage to live through until someone reaches "Jumanji", then those who remain alive get to witness time roll back to where it all started. The prize is being given the time you lost playing the game, and coming out with the lessons that you learned. Those who lost won't remember the events from the game. And if all the players die, then Jumanji would not revert back, and a swarm of unstoppable beasts and plagues would consume the world the players held in their hearts. "A game to leave your world behind" would make the entire town in Jumanji become a world "left behind" in chaos and destruction.
Except, by that winners/losers logic, Sarah shouldn't have remembered anything.
This raises up a question of motive: Is the game out to help people, hurt people, or make people earn their own ending? Would the constructs be more successful if the players weren't learning lessons from the experience? The game seems to lure people in, but is it out to make them better people, punish them for their actions, or test them to see if they are fit to live or not?
The game was created in a different era, and players would have had better survival skills. 200+ years later, maybe we just became worse players?
The game can also scale in difficulty to the players. All four were about 12 or under when they played, so the game's difficulty adjusted accordingly (there have been real world cases of children surviving in that kind of environment ... ) We see the increase in difficulty in the Jumanji sequel when a group of high school kids play it. Would you like to see the difficulty level when some marines or navy seals play it?
If you wondered why Aunt Nora couldn't hear Jumanji's drums, consider the players' introduction to the game: Allan was angry at his parents, Sarah was annoyed by the actions of Allan's bullies, and Judy and Peter became introverted after their parents' death. Of course they would want to "leave their world behind".
Considering what we see, it's entirely possible it might just go after children. After all, Nora doesn't seem much happier with the situation than Judy and Peter.
That seems the most likely, since it tried to ensnare Benjaman again at the start of the film. He just finished experiencing Jumunji and wants nothing to do with it, but the game tried anyway.
I feel it calls out to certain people who need to learn lessons; Nora obviously wasn't happy about losing her brother, but she had accepted that there was nothing she could do, and that she had to move on. But the others had issues they refused to acknowledge.
The owner of the gun store who was so ready to chuck aside the various regulations on purchasing firearms in exchange for shiny gold pieces. It's played for laughs in the movie, but it's still quite illegal of him. Karmic payback comes in the fact that unless he cashed those gold coins quickly, they definitely disappeared along with everything else from the game, leaving him less one weapon, some ammo, and without any money in exchange for either, because of his greed for gold.
However, since finishing the game reverts everything to how it was before it started, he never sold the gun in the first place. Hell, he probably doesn't even work at the gun shop the second time around, if it even still exists in a lively version of the town.
Van Pelt's name can be seen as an Incredibly Lame Pun. He is a hunter, and one of the things hunters do is to gather pelts. However, Van Pelt is also a real Dutch surname that originates in the city of Pelt in Belgium (it literally means "From Pelt"). Now what is the historical Belgian jungle experience infamous for?
In the movie, the kids meet Alan when he gets out of the game after 26 years. In the animated series, which runs on Alternate Continuity, the kids get sucked into the game and meet Alan there, having been trapped for 23 years. But after three seasons, Alan is released for good. Thus, Alan gets out of the game, both in the movie and the series, after 26 years.
In the animated series episode "El Pollo Jumanji", the Barbaric Bully Rock has the time of his life in Jumanji, to the point that Alan speculates that the game is purposely playing dangers easy for him. When the Manjis capture Rock, they ask Peter if Rock is his friend. He tells them he isn't, and they proceed to cook him, forcing the trio to save him. The "easy pass" given to Rock earlier seems a deliberate move by Jumanji to feed Peter's jealousy and hate for him so he could sell him to the Manjis and either cause his death (if that's what Jumanji wants to do with its players), or teach Peter a life lesson about pardon and showing kindness to everyone including your enemies (if that's what Jumanji is actually about).
It has been heavily foreshadowed what Alan's clue was. The episode where Alan got bit by a centipede bite has Judy almost figured out what his clue was until she had no choice in order to save Alan. However unknowingly, Alan had already solved what he has to do and he didn't know it. He leap into death to save a life.
Tribal Bob is at his most noble yet when he slips a clue to Peter to save Alan. Possibly since Peter became a Manji, Bob and the other Manjis may have been other players but tragically stuck here forever. However what's touching is that Bob's rage against the villains may have been more than just being bullied but remembered a time when his own friends were killed by this game. He rallied his tribe to stop them from harming Judy and Peter in order for them to fulfill what they couldn't.
The "you will go back more than your token" line could've meant that Peter was turning into a monkey as a form of Hollywood De-Evolution.
It's possible any cheater would turn into monkeys; it's a salute to Darwin. The fact that Peter's token IS a monkey is just a happy coincidence.
If Alan hadn't gotten that roll at the end, then they would have never finished the game. Judy could've been dead at that point, so once it's her turn, it would've been GAME OVER.
There's a lot of debate on that. Jumanji is a game that wants to be played. Only when the game reaches its end will the exciting consequences return to normal. But if somebody were to die, would the game freeze? Or maybe you could continue without them, but upon the rewind they would not be there, but in the game forever? Or maybe you just need to end the game to bring them back with a reset? So far, nobody's wanted to find out...
It wouldn't have gotten to Judy's turn in any case. Alan was three spaces from the end: the only way for him not to win with that roll was if he got a two, and that would mean doubles and another turn. His victory was inevitable with his next turn unless HE got killed first (which makes the issue about his fate, not Judy's).
The problem is, Alan may have had to land by exact count. In the game Sorry, you had to do just that for the home space. Jumanji probably had a similar rule seeing as the movie's pacing made a big deal of whether the second die would land on a 2. However, the game IS able to think, and as suggested above in the Brilliance section, it probably had control of THAT to begin with.
There was a drama over rolling a 2 because they couldn't retrieve that die anyway, not necessarily because an exact roll was required. Although that brings up potentially WORSE horror. How many board games do you own that you haven't lost pieces of? "Aw, the hippo is missing!" suddenly becomes a lot less funny.
What would happen if all the main players died before they could complete the game? Would the game be still "frozen" and the jungle animals prowl the city forever?
My guess is that the game would reset its pieces, but not necessarily bring back the escaped animals, since the players are still dead so time cannot rewind. Alan's town would turn into the jungle. That is why it is so important to finish the game.
Tying into the motive, if the game is to help people learn lessons, the game wouldn't let it happen. Or on the flip side, if the game is malevolent, it wants to make kids fail and spread its theme as a trophy to its victory. Or it could be a mix of both where if you play the game and learn a lesson you'll earn a happy ending, but if you don't you could be forever trapped, dead, or in a whole lot of pain for the rest of your life.
Or maybe in a example of Fridge Horror, when everyone dies, the game resets, including the players' memory, so they play the game again this time with a different outcome, again and again until someone wins.
Which is actually what the defictionalized board game encourages: "If [the doomsday grid, the equivalent of too many summoned dangers] fills up before a player reaches the gameboard center, all players lose! You must play the game again until someone wins!"
If neither Judy nor Peter had rolled a 5 or 8 on the first turn, even if the game had skipped over Alan's turn because he was still in the jungle, it would then be Sarah's turn... with no way for Judy or Peter to know whose turn it was. From their perspective, the game would be stuck.
The game probably knew that Sarah would be inaccessible without Alan, so it made sure to free him.
It would have skipped Sarah again. It was still Sarah's turn by the time Judy and Peter find the game, but it skipped her because there was no possible way at the time for her to roll. If Alan did not come back, Jumanji most likely would have skipped Sarah again because there would still not be a way for her to roll. The reason it won't let Judy roll again after Alan is free isthat Alan actually knows about Sarah, thus there is a way for her to roll.
But the game didn't "skip" Sarah; she'd only rolled once. From the game's perspective, Judy and Peter are the third and fourth players taking their first turn.
Yep, you're right. My bad.
Animated series: in the final episode Alan learns and solves his clue, then leaves the game as an adult. There's no rollback, like in the movie. That means Judy and Peter's parents are still dead, since they were living with their aunt in the series as well.
When Alan and Sarah go back in time to their young selves, they still have all their memories from those 26 years. Sarah remembers all the time she spent in therapy, and Alan remembers those years in the jungle.
Not necessarily. When they have their first kiss at the bridge, Sarah makes mention of their memories fading, particularly in the context of wanting to kiss him before she forgot what it was like to be an adult. They later know about Judy and Peter's parents, but that could have been covered by writing the information down before they forgot, then referring to it in the future to help them locate them.
Forgetting what something feels like isn't quite the same as forgetting about something completely. Think about it: you grow up, and you forget what it felt like to be a kid. That doesn't mean you forget what happened to you as a kid. This is the same, only inverted, thus how they knew about Judy and Peter, as well as their parents' fated accident.
Does this mean that Judy and Peter retain their memories, too? That would mean they were conceived and born as fully-formed minds, and Dune suggests that this is a very bad thing.
The ending of the film indicated that Judy and Peter didn't remember anything.
The French children at the end. They presumably don't know English, so they wouldn't be able to read the game's clues (or the rules, for that matter). They would have absolutely no way of knowing what was coming.
The only lettering on the game is JUMANJI. The words that come up in the crystal ball probably adapt themselves to language.
Even if it didnt adapt, a lot of people in France also speak English.
All that happened to Sarah after the game. Can you imagine being a young girl who saw her best friend get graphically sucked into a board game and then be chased by bats for who knows how long? Trying to explain to anyone what happened, but none believe her? Spending thousands of dollars on therapy, trying to convince herself that what she saw happen didn't really happen? And then, after all those years of trying to force that madness out of her mind, seeing said best friend again on her doorstep?
Alan needed someone to roll a 5 or 8 in order to free him from the board. Since it was only Sarah and himself playing originally, imagine what would have happened if Sarah had rolled again and she didn't get the number needed to free Alan. The game would've probably been stalemated and Alan would've been stuck in there forever. It was a damn lucky thing that Judy and Peter had started playing and managed to free Alan.
Fridge Brilliance: If Jumanji works like most games, players who are "out" are simply skipped and play continues. Even if Sarah never rolled doubles, if she kept playing rather than running away, Alan would have been released when the game ended.
The horrible thing here is that she would have been playing all alone, with no advice. Could she have brought herself to face the next turn alone? What if Alan still didn't appear? She would have to face the turn after that. And again. All alone. She would have died. And then Alan WOULD have been trapped forever. And the game would have won. Jumanji is a game for two to four players for a reason.
In the real-life game, there is a set of ten empty spaces on one side of the board. When the players (as a team) fail to dodge the danger on the card (by all rolling either a designated symbol or a wild hourglass within eight seconds), that card is placed on one of those spaces. The tenth space reads: "A card placed here brings dreadful news: This game is done. All players lose!" Just to drive the point home, that space also has one of those yellow flesh-eating plants from the movie. (The real-life game's instruction sheet suggests adding a Self-Imposed Challenge by placing up to six cards on those spaces at the beginning.)
It gets even worse if we suppose that these empty spaces were also present (in some form, at least) in the fictional version of the game from the film and our heroes just managed to avoid them by pure luck. If Alan, Sarah, Judy, or Peter happened to roll on one of these spaces, what would've happened to them?
If a person who wanted to play were incapable of saying the dangers/Jumanji (and I don't mean slashed vocal cords, which could be excused by speaking in a whisper, but something more severe like a missing jaw), would the game even let them play? If they lost their jaw during the game, does the game continue with that player's turn despite the game state essentially becoming frozen? Though a game like this being selective could be a blessing in disguise.
The game that Alan and Sarah start in 1969 is stalled by twenty-six years, which admittedly weren't fun for either of them - but it could have been a lot worse for the town. Imagine if, instead of releasing a relatively harmless swarm of bats before Alan got trapped, they rolled up something much worse, like the gigantic mosquitoes, an over-sized lion, or the swiftly growing vines that eat people. Such threats could very quickly have taken over the whole town — or even the state! — and no one would have been able to stop them, especially if Sarah had fallen victim to them early on and hadn't been able to tell anyone about the game.
Alan repeatedly displays his expertise about the threats which the game conjures up. In particular, he offers detailed warnings about what stimulates the carnivorous vines to attack and which parts of them are dangerous. Just how many close calls did young Alan have, while he was "waiting" in the jungle, to have acquired so much knowledge?
In the series, Jumanji seems to have fondness towards Alan, Judy and Peter as it subtly helps them to complete their clues or get them out of sticky situations. However the other kids after Alan and before Judy and Peter weren't so lucky. Makes you wonder what did these kids do that would infuriate Jumanji so much that it willingly allowed its players to be mounted on Van Pelt's walls, eaten by Lions etc.
We take it for granted that Alan was still in his family home when he got out of the game in 1995, but imagine for a moment if the game had been given to someone else, or much like at the start and end of the movie, thrown away and forgotten about? Alan's situation is already difficult enough, just imagine it all happening in a country that doesn't speak English, maybe on the other side of the planet entirely
In the series Van Pelt is supposedly killed and his killer slowly becomes more and more homicidal until they are the next Van Pelt. What if that is true of the Van Pelt we see? The man we see little more than a meat puppet for the Van Pelt persona simply passed from player to player for all eternity?
Regarding the two boys in the opening, after Sarah and Alan finished playing they both seemed relieved that their ordeal was over and they were better off as a result. But the two boys? They're visibly terrified of everything about the game, even just hearing it drumming is enough to make them panic. It's mentioned above that, presumably, nobody ever dies during the game... but do they? Or did these two boys simply go through something worse than death?
At the very least, this scene suggests that the game is capable of unleashing far, far worse than what our protagonists went through. They may well have been luckier than we realize.
We see at the end, after the timeline reset, that Alan's father Sam returned home only a few minutes after he left to grab his speech notes. Consider what must have happened in the original timeline from Sam's perspective: he comes home, finds his son is nowhere to be seen, and probably assumes he's off sulking in his room. He goes out to his party, comes home again... and sees he still can't find Alan. Imagine the moment as the realisation comes crashing down on him, knowing that the first time he was home, he might have only just missed Alan leaving, and he may have been able to find him... but by the time he got home later, it was far too late. No wonder he was so desperate to find Alan, he probably feels guilty over both the argument and missing him leaving
What would happen if it came to Alan's turn but he was still trapped in the jungle?
It would skip him until someone rolled 5 or 8.
The rules do not state that you have to roll the exact number to reach the centre square. What happens if you roll too high a number or get your piece stuck one square away (there are two dice)?
I believe, if memory serves, that Alan rolled a three when the game demanded a two. Over-rolling seems to be allowed.
No, Allan needed three spaces, and he rolled a 3
So how come nobody who tried to dispose of the game tried something more permanent like fire for burning it and reducing it to ashes?
It's possible that they're afraid that trying to destroy it might unleash whatever horrors are inside with no way to recall them. At least with the board intact, the horrors of the game are contained as long as you don't play, or manage to beat it. That said, it doesn't explain why no one ever tried writing a note warning future players not to touch it (not that that's guaranteed to work), or perhaps removing/destroying the dice/pieces so no one can play.
This is in Headscreatchers, but the common concensus is that the game isn't so easily destroyed.
In the series after getting out of the jungle briefly Alan threatens to do exactly that, and Jumanji immediately sends him back to the jungle. Presumably it simply won't let it's players or anyone else do that.