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‘Jumanji’ 1995 Vs. 2017: Who Did It Better?

The 2017 version features Nick Jonas, so you can kind of guess who won.

‘Jumanji’ 1995 Vs. 2017: Who Did It Better?
Images: TriStar Pictures and Sony Pictures
A few weeks ago, we were treated to an advance screening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

Let’s just say we walked out of the movie hall with our cheeks aching from excessive laughing and  slightly disappointed at how the movie differs from the original Jumanji which premiered back in 1995.

The Jumanji you knew then is no longer the same Jumanji you’ll know today. Well, this is mainly due to the fact that the latest Jumanji is actually a standalone sequel, not a remake.

So, how did Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starring a team of Hollywood’s powerhouse – Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black -  fare against the 1995 classic starring Robin Williams? Did it ruin your childhood movie or was it a better version of it?

We decided to put our theory to test and compared five requisites from each movie – the cast, the plot, the wow factor, the CGI and cinematography, and originality to see which movie did it better.

#1 Cast

Heyyy Nick Jonas *fangirling*
Let's be honest, Robin Williams was the one who brought this film to life.
The 1995 Jumanji featured the legendary late Robin Williams and a very young Kirsten Dunst, both Hollywood A-listers. No one could argue with William’s successful and humourous portrayal of Alan Parrish, the man/boy who was stuck in the game for 26 years. His character was very memorable and is also said to be one of his best works ever. And let’s be honest, if you ask anyone who they remember from Jumanji 1995, they’ll probably only mention Robin Williams.

Now in the 2017 version of Jumanji, the movie is packed with current Hollywood hotshots such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Nick Jonas, and Karen Gillan. So, what happens when you place two comedians in the same movie? You’ll be treated to an explosion of humour, comedy, and non-stop laughter! Plus, we didn’t see Nick Jonas’ character coming so it was definitely a sweet surprise.

If we were to give out an award to the best character between the two Jumanji movies, it would definitely be awarded to Jack Black for his hilarious portrayal of Bethany or Professor Sheldon Oberon. He really made us believe he was your average blondie trapped in a male body.

Winner: Jumanji 2017

#2 Plot

The gang has to work together to return the jewel.
Each role of dice is a gamble of your fate.
Although the 2017 Jumanji is entirely different from the 1995 one, there are a few similarities we’d like to highlight before moving on. The villain still remains the same with John Hardin Van Pelt and it’s still a game set in a wildlife setting which requires the players to beat the game to come back to reality. There’s no Alan Parrish in the latest Jumanji but they did pay a small homage to his character. Keep an eye out for it. 

In the 1995 original,  we were treated to an adventure – one that not many of us were capable of imagining and then turning it into a movie during that era. It was probably one of the best childhood movies we’ve ever seen; a couple of kids playing a cursed board game and animals coming to life – literally. It was the pinnacle of all action-adventure movies at that time and the plot was something pretty much exciting and unheard of. Who could ever imagine a kid getting sucked into a board game and desperately trying to make his way back to real life 26 years later?

As for the 2017 Jumanji, the premise pretty much remains the same but this time, no one comes to the rescue and everyone gets sucked into the game. It’s also no longer a board game but a video game instead. They have to work together and figure out how to win the game if they don’t want to get stuck there forever. However, we do love the hidden surprises, new-age elements, and how each character is heavily dependent on each other to survive.

Welcome to the Jungle has a really fun plot, but honestly when the original Jumanji debuted, it was something that no one had ever heard or seen of.

Winner: Jumanji 1995

#3 Wow-Factor

Well The Rock didn't wrestle any crocodiles like Robin Williams did.
Jack Black is the best character ever in Jumanji 2017!
If you’re looking for a wow-factor in the 2017 Jumanji, well, there’s definitely plenty of it. First there’s Nick Jonas, who we’re completely smitten with, and his character was came as a complete surprise. Then, there’s the digital aspects of the game perhaps to cater to a more millennial audience – a video game format instead of a board game, each character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and they even have limited lives, just like in real-life video games. We can also see that this version has a more comedic take, which will definitely leave you in stiches.

The OG Jumanji is a wow factor in itself. Come on, animals coming to life out of a board game, and storming out of a mansion straight into the streets, terrorising unsuspecting civilians? Epic! And who knew someone’s life or fate depended so much on a roll of the dice. To top it off, a kid being able to survive in a board game for the past 26 years is not something you’d normally expect from an adventure film back in the 1990s.

Winner: Jumanji 1995 & Jumanji 2017. It’s a tie because both movies have their own appeal.

#4 CGI & Cinematography

This scene was ICONIC.
Kevin Hart deserved this!
1995 may not have the technology that most filmmakers have today, but Jumanji at that time was truly a spectacle. The animal kingdom had a riot and everything was pure, wildlife mayhem. Elephants and rhinos running in the streets, water gushing out like a tidal river throughout the mansion and a crocodile appearing out of nowhere; we really felt like the game truly came to life. We’re pretty sure not all animals had to be digitally altered and some of them may have been props built from scratch.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle undeniably had some pretty awesome cinematography thanks to its setting – it was shot on the beautiful island of Hawaii. The visual effects were also pretty much spot on and not as cringey as the ones seen in Justice League (Read: fake Superman), but it consists of everything you'd expect of from movies today. So, nothing special here.

Winner: Jumanji 1995

#5 Originality

Every kid wanted this board game back then!
Do you think they should've stayed with the board game concept?
Since both versions aren’t even remotely close, each movie has its own original flair to it. The 2017 reboot as mentioned before tries to appeal to the younger generation by morphing a board game into a video game. A lot of aspects have been changed so that it could be more current and more relatable with the current era. But honestly, we have seen too many movies nowadays that are based on video games, just look at the upcoming Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Tron: Legacy, and Nerve. So, it's really nothing new.

As for the OG Jumanji, we could argue that back in 1995, adventure-type movies based on board games were really rare or unheard of, so Jumanji was a fresh new concept that everyone truly appreciated. You really wanted to be a part of the game and probably didn't mind risking your life so that you can experience the same adventures Robin Williams did. Each roll of the dice was definitely risky yet exciting because you’d never know what your next move is. Heck, we even remember searching around frantically to buy the board game after watching the movie!

Winner: Jumanji 1995

So, who won? Jumanji 1995 vs. 2017 and the verdict is 3-2! The original will always be a classic and something that stays close to our hearts and childhood.

Nick Jonas is a total babe <3
The 2017 Jumanji wasn't disappointing though; in fact, we think it's highly entertaining as it packs a tonne of laughter and comedic antics from each character, especially Jack Black.

We can guarantee that you’ll definitely leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face, and aching cheeks or tummy. The reboot has a modern-day take of the game and is filled with heart-pumping, 'hold on to your seat' action sequences. Plus, can we remind you that Nick Jonas is in it too?

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle premieres in cinemas nationwide on 21 December 2017.