This may be hard to believe, but it has been 25 years since director Joe Johnston introduced the world to the sights and sounds of one of the most entertaining and influential adventure movies of the 1990s, Jumanji. The classic story of a board game coming to life and wreaking havoc on a small and unassuming New England town has quite a legacy and is still just as popular in 2020 as it was in 1995 thanks to a great story, timeless action set pieces, and Robin Williams in one of his best roles of the decade.
This isn't to say that Jumanji is a perfect movie that isn't filled with questionable decisions and minor plot holes, because such a movie doesn't exist. Upon a recent viewing of the action-adventure film, I picked up on a few things in the movie that didn't make a lot of sense and I have been picking over them quite a bit. Now, I'm not saying that Jumanji should be locked in a box buried and forgotten for 100 years, but there are some parts of the movie that are so silly and unexplainable that I couldn't resist talking about them. Well, let's get on with the game.
Why Doesn't Anyone Destroy The Game?
I know the game board has to keep popping up thanks to kids being kids and digging around in either a construction site or the attic of an abandoned house, but wouldn't it have made more sense for the kids from the movie's opening or young Alan (Adam Hann-Byrd) and Sarah (Laura Bell Bundy) or Alan, Sarah (Bonnie Hunt), Judy (Kirsten Dunst), and Peter (Bradley Pierce) to just destroy the game instead of burying it or sending it down a river? I mean, when the older kid in the opening scene is asked about the next person who finds the board, he says "May God have mercy on his soul." Like, come on dude, just burn it to a pile of ashes and save everyone pain and misery.
And then at the very end of the movie, Alan and Sarah (once they're transformed back to children in 1969) throw the board off a bridge into a river down below. At this point, they are both well aware of the consequences of someone finding the board, but they still just throw that sucker back into the water and go about their lives. Wouldn't it have made sense to destroy it or at least become sworn protectors and make sure that no one makes the same mistake? But I guess we never would have seen the board show up in France somehow.
Why Does Samuel Parish Have A British Accent?
Jonathan Hyde is in peak form in his dual roles as the mad big-game hunter Van Pelt and Alan Parrish's overbearing and snooty father Samuel, but the latter of the two characters brings up a very interesting and hilarious point: why does Samuel, whose family seems to have been in America for several generations, have a British accent? I mean, there's even a statue of Civil War General Angus Parrish in the center of Brantford, New Hampshire in one of the opening scenes, so it's not like the Parrish family were recent transplants to the small New England town.
It is almost like Jonathan Hyde had a clause in his contract that only allowed him to speak with an upper-class British accent or something. I mean, he's good at pulling off the rich prick character like we see in the his movie as well as Titanic two years later, but the random accent caught my ear and never let go.
Nora Shepherd Renovated The Entire House But Left Alan's Room Untouched?
Twenty-six years after Alan Parrish is sucked into Jumanji game board, we are reintroduced to the Parrish mansion which is now in a state of disrepair before it is transformed into a bed and breakfast by Nora Shepherd (Bebe Neuwirth). After Nora, Judy, and Peter move into the stately manor, we see the new property owner going room by room to bring life into the long-abandoned house. Or so we think…
After a grown-up Alan Parrish escapes from the Jumanji board, he runs around his childhood home looking for his parents or anything familiar about the place he was ripped from 26 years earlier. Alan bursts into his boyhood room and everything is still intact. His clothes are still in the closet, his bike is next to his bed, and a very stuffy portrait of his parents sits on his bedside table. Did Nora Shepherd not think to enter the room and do anything with it? The door was locked (Alan kicks it open) and everything is covered in cobwebs, which leads me to believe that the new property owner completely forgot about the room-turned-shrine, to begin with.
I'm Still Confused About Alan And Sarah Being Transported Back To 1969
Just when it looks like the evil hunter Van Pelt is about to kill Alan, Sarah, Judy, and Peter once and for all, Alan wins Jumanji and sends everything back into the game. Simple enough, right? Well, by ending the game, Alan and Sarah are transported back to that fateful night in 1969 and everything seems to be back to normal: Alan makes up with his dad, makes out with his crush, and sends the Jumanji board down the river before going on with his life. But what about everything that happened in 1995 and did it actually happen?
Alan and Sarah both have memories of the events of the movie, and as we see in the final moments of the movie once again set in 1995, Judy and Peter are very much alive and well. Did going back in time to 1969 change the course of history for the Parrish family, the Parrish Shoe Company, and everyone else in Brantford, New Hampshire? And on top of that, wouldn't Judy and Peter have some recollection of what happened while playing the game?
How Did Alan And Sarah Find Judy And Peter's Parents?
The penultimate scene of Jumanji is set at the Parrish Christmas party in what we can assume is 1994 (the year James and Martha Shepherd were supposed to die on their ski trip). At the party, Alan and Sarah are all giddy and freaking out about meeting this timeline's version of Judy and Peter for the first time. But how did they find James and Martha Shepherd in the first place?
Earlier in the movie, Peter says that his dad was in advertising before he died, but that was such small detail while he and Alan were running for their lives and there's no way Alan would remember that and hold onto that information for 26 years. And that brings up an even bigger question if Alan did remember that brief conversation: how did he find James Shepherd to offer him a job? Did he and Sarah scour the earth looking for the parents of two children they nearly died with multiple times while playing the game? This wasn't in modern times with Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn to find people, and the Shepherd's weren't from Brantford anyway.
We will probably never know the answers to these questions that no one really ever thinks about, but it is a fun way of bringing new life to a classic family action movie from 25 years ago. If you have something about Jumanji that doesn't make sense, do everyone a favor and share it in the comments below. And for Christ's sake, destroy the dang Jumanji board if you happen to unearth it at any point in your life.
Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop yelling at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.
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