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Jumanji! 1995 Vs 2017

VO: MW WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Written by Michael Wynands Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a certified hit at the box office, but how does it compare to the original Robin Williams led romp from 1995? WatchMojo puts the two movies head to head to find out which one is best? But which film will claim victory? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Have an idea for our next video? Submit your suggestion here: WatchMojo.commy/suggest.php

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Jumanji: 1995 Vs 2017

The sequel brought us to the jungle. The original brought the jungle to us. But which of these movies offered the wildest adventure? Welcome to, and today we’ll be going head to head with Jumanji and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, to see which film best delivered the goods.

Round 1: Plot

In 1995, cinemagoers watched as a unique children’s book came to life on the big screen. The concept was certainly a novel one: a jungle-themed board game which forces the players to interact with real life animals and jungle threats in order to reach the end. When first played by an unsuspecting pair of kids in 1969, the game pulls Alan Parrish into its world, where he remains for 26 years - until the game is finally picked up by a different generation of kids. An exciting and refreshing premise which saw new elements introduced with each roll of the dice, Jumanji spoke directly to the imagination of children - and still does today.

Set 21 years after the events of original film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle featured an entirely new cast, but it still functioned as sequel to its namesake, using the ambiguous magic of the original board game to deliver an updated spin on the concept. When a teen receives the board game, he is wholly disinterested - that is until Jumanji transforms itself into a gaming cartridge. 20 years later, a group of students find and play the game, only find themselves sucked into Jumanji itself - a jungle which operates like a video game, complete with lives, levels, non-player characters and more.

Welcome to the Jungle took the concept of Jumanji and did something new with it when it could have opted to simply retread the original plot. It also played with video game tropes to interesting effect. Though it should be commended for all of the above, there’s just no amount of reinvention that can top the plot of the original film, and so… 1995 Jumanji takes the first round.

WINNER: Jumanji (1995)

1995 Jumanji 1/ 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 0

Round 2: Comedy

Though more of a fantasy adventure film, Jumanji did enlist Robin Williams to play the adult Alan Parrish - and that’s a casting choice that guarantees laughs. Given that he was playing an adult who effectively raised himself in the jungle, and considering all of the ensuing mayhem, Williams was able to really have fun with the role. With scenes that saw his character sinking in quicksand and being stuck in the floor during a giant spider attack, there’s plenty of opportunity for physical comedy. Add to his efforts David Alan Grier’s turn as the hilariously frustrated Officer Carl Bentley, as well as some mischievous monkeys, and you’ve got a film that balances drama with just enough humor to keep things light-hearted.

Deviating from its predecessor, Welcome to the Jungle intentionally took things in a funnier direction. And, much to the relief of cinemagoers, the jokes landed. Rather than phoning it in with half-assed gags like so many other family-friendly type comedies, Welcome to the Jungle used its premise and talented cast to generate some genuine hearty laughs. Having the teens be transposed into mismatched adult bodies is a hilarious concept that really doesn’t get old - it’s a gag that just keeps on giving. With a healthy mix of jokes intended for the adults, as well as some shockingly funny moments, Welcome to the Jungle was a successful comedy that appealed to all audiences.

This one’s not much of a contest. Robin Williams might be the funniest actor in either of these films, but even his natural abilities can’t compete with the writing and tone of the sequel. Welcome to the Jungle takes round 2 to tie it up!

WINNER: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

1995 Jumanji 1/ 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 1

Round 3: Thrills/ Suspense

For kids growing up in the 1990s, Jumanji was almost too intense. Forget the friendly animals from cartoons you regularly consumed, this movie (with its special effects that stand up to this day) ensured that you walked away with a newfound respect and healthy fear of wild animals. Even the monkeys were sinister! The stakes felt real and incredibly high, with the adult and child characters alike being put in harm’s way. It was real edge of your seat entertainment. The spiders were creepy, the vines terrifying, and the stampede? It still gets our hearts pounding to this day. Don’t even get us started on the menacing hunter.

Welcome to the Jungle is a whole lot of fun, but a film can only deliver on so many fronts at once. The stakes are there, but given the movie’s more lighthearted tone, the suspense is rarely sustained for long before being undercut with some humor. Some of the more intense sequences are indeed thrilling, but even when bullets are flying and animals are gnashing their teeth, the viewer is more entertained rather than nervously biting their nails. That being said, a good old fashion standoff always goes a long way in the suspense department.

Though both movies bring their own thrills to the party, there’s no beating the drama, stakes and intensity of the original Jumanji, and with that, it reclaims the lead!

WINNER: Jumanji (1995)

1995 Jumanji 2/ 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 1

Round 4: Action

Given its many thrilling sequences, Jumanji naturally isn’t short on action either. When the animals from the jungle start making their way into the world of our heroes, they soon find themselves running and jumping for their lives - and though there are plenty of quiet moments to allow the characters to really connect, sure enough, as soon as the dice get rolled, the action picks right back up. The threat of the hunter similarly keeps them on their toes. An adventure film in the truest sense, Jumanji delivers that same sort of big scale, elaborate action best exemplified by classics like the Indiana Jones franchise. For those seeking cinematic adventure, it’s sure to satisfy.

Though this sequel is set in the jungle, and similarly draws on classic tropes from past adventure films set in exotic locations, it also borrows from more modern action films. The rhinoceros/helicopter chase in the canyon feels like the Lion King meets Die Hard, while the motorcycle chase through the field and jungle delivers equal parts laughter and satisfying high-octane action. With the Rock and Karen Gillan’s characters playing the combat experts, there are also some wow-inducing fight scenes that are as fun as they are exciting. From the moment our characters enter the game, we get a steady stream of modern blockbuster action.

Neither of these films are revolutionary in terms of action, but both deliver more than enough excitement to keep the viewers engaged. With its modern sensibilities and action-experienced cast however, Welcome to the Jungle beats out the original.

WINNER: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

1995 Jumanji 2/ 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2

Round 5: Actors

Jumanji boasts a nice, well-rounded cast. In the lead, we’ve got the incomparable Robin Williams, but he’s not alone. Playing his friend from childhood all grown up is ‘90s mom staple and Pixar voice actress extraordinaire, Bonnie Hunt. Then you’ve got Bradley Pierce as Peter, the younger of the Shepherd siblings, who, although cute as a button from the very beginning of the film, becomes melt-your-heart adorable after his monkey transformation. As his sister, you’ve got a young Kirsten Dunst , who even in 1995 had already garnered critical acclaim in the industry. Add David Alan Grier and Jonathan Hyde and you’ve got one perfectly balanced cast, led by a veritable legend of the big screen.

When revisiting a much-loved film, you need to get the cast right - and thankfully, Welcome to the Jungle succeeded. Nobody puts butts in cinema seats like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the wrestler who, through his natural ability, charisma and charm, has turned into one of the most marketable stars acting today. Then, you’ve got the hilarious Kevin Hart playing the little guy with a big attitude to perfection. Karen Gillan, who is venerated by geeks everywhere, plays the female lead who’s more than meets the eye. And last but not least… you’ve got Jack Black, who, honestly, may have turned in his best comedic performance in years as the teenage popular girl stuck in a middle aged man’s body.

Welcome to the Jungle boasts a stellar ensemble cast that really worked together to produce cinematic magic, but the original is just a bit more well-rounded with characters of various ages for viewers to relate to. With Robin Williams serving as the trump card to push it into the lead, Jumanji takes the round, and with that… the win!

WINNER: Jumanji (1995)

1995 Jumanji 3/ 2017 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2

Welcome to the Jungle is indeed a worthy successor to this mid-90s fan-favorite film, but Rotten Tomatoes scores be damned, the original Jumanji is still king of the jungle!

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