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JUMANJI ($30) is an exciting adventure film, which is certain to appeal to children as well as the child in all of us. The plot of JUMANJI centers on a magical board game, which brings to life the wilds of jungle with malevolent plants, animals and weather. Robin Williams stars as a man who is sucked into the magical board game of the film’s title 26 years ago, and suddenly reappears as two children find the game and continue the game that Williams started.

Williams is an engaging performer who appeals to children for his sheer silliness of many of his performances, but he also appeals to adults for the intelligence and humanity one finds behind his playful childlike quality. JUMANJI features some very impressive computer generated special effects, which are pleasing to the eye and quite amusing, despite the destruction they leave in their wake. Joining Robin Williams is the always pleasing Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, Jonathan Hyde and the always-underutilized Bebe Neuwirth.

Columbia TriStar Home Video did a top-notch job transferring JUMANJI to Laserdisc, their THX certified edition is one of their best. So, it is no surprise that the DVD edition of JUMANJI is also excellent. Both the DVD and the Laserdisc editions of JUMANJI come from the same Letterboxed transfer, which recreates the films 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer is nicely balanced and quite pleasing. I did a direct comparison of the Laserdisc and DVD editions of JUMANJI and found the differences to be trivial. The DVD offers only the slightest improvement in color fidelity and image clarity over its Laserdisc counterpart. The DVD offers rich saturated colors and an impeccably detailed image. Digital artifacts are not easily detectable on the disc.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a great mix full of ambiance and fun directional effects. The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is head and shoulders above its matrixed counterpart. Directional effects are much more clearly defined, and the bass packs a real wallop. The DVD audio also offers Spanish and French language soundtracks. Subtitles are available in Spanish and Korean.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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