|PLOTIn 1996 Brantford, New Hampshire, teenager Alex Vreeke receives a board game called Jumanji from his father. Uninterested, Alex sets it aside, only to find it transformed into a video game cartridge after being entranced by the game's drum beats later that night. Opting to play the game, he is suddenly sucked inside upon choosing a character. His disappearance results in his family's house becoming known as the 'Freak house' fall into disrepair.
20 years later, four Brantford High School students – rebellious Martha Kaply, shallow Bethany Walker, awkward Spencer Gilpin, and athlete Anthony "Fridge" Johnson – are sent to clean up the school's basement for detention. While searching it, Fridge discovers Alex's discarded video game system, which he and Spencer decide to play and encourage the girls to join them. While picking their characters, they are unable to select the first one, so they choose the remaining four. Upon starting the game, each is sucked into Jumanji, landing in a jungle as their chosen characters – Spencer as muscular explorer and archaeologist Dr. Smolder Bravestone; Fridge as diminutive zoologist Franklin "Mouse" Finbar; Martha as commando and martial arts expert Ruby Roundhouse; and Bethany as male cartographer and paleontologist Professor Shelly Oberon.
While coming to terms with their situation, the group find three marks on their arms denoting lives. Spencer theorizes that if they lose all three, they will die in real life. The group encounter non-player character Nigel Billingsley, the game's guide, who provides them with the game's narrative and their characters' backstories. The group learn that their goal is to end a curse on Jumanji, brought about by corrupt archaeologist Professor Van Pelt after he stole a magic jewel called the "Jaguar's Eye" from its shrine and gained control of all the jungle's animals. Nigel hands Spencer the jewel, having stolen it from Van Pelt, and instructs the group to return it to a statue at the shrine and call out "Jumanji" in order to "lift the curse" and leave the game before driving off.
Coping with their avatars, their "weaknesses", Van Pelt's men, and Spencer and Fridge's animosity towards one another, the group encounter Alex operating the fifth avatar – pilot Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough – who takes them to a jungle house built by Alan Parrish, the game's previous player. Upon realizing his identity, the group is collectively shocked upon learning how long he has been trapped in the game after Alex says he was trapped for months. Now with a common goal, the group vow to help Alex return home with them. Dealing with further problems while heading for the shrine, the group coordinate to overcome them, eventually reaching the shrine, where Van Pelt corners them. Working together, Fridge, Bethany, and Alex distract Van Pelt while Spencer and Martha outmaneuver him with the game's mechanics, returning the jewel to the statue. Upon calling out Jumanji together, the group destroy Van Pelt and return home.
Returning to the school basement, the group find Alex is not with them. After leaving school, they unexpectedly find the Vreeke home restored and decorated for a Christmas family gathering. The group is greeted by Alex, now an adult, who explains he returned to 1996, which allowed him to lead a married life with children; with his eldest daughter named after Bethany, who revived him with one of her lives in the game.
The four students become friends after their experiences in the game, with Bethany becoming a better person and Spencer starting a relationship with Martha. When the group hear Jumanji's drumbeats coming from the game cartridge, Fridge crushes it to prevent anyone else from playing it.
|2017Personal Rating60Rotten Critics76Rotten Audience87IMDb Rating69Combined Rating70.4|