Horner scored the soundtracks to many well loved movies and the one I’m going to be talking about today is Jumanji – a film that I still enjoy watching even now (I have it on DVD!). It’s probably part nostalgic value – I was nine or ten when I went to see this in the cinema with my dad – but it seems to stand the test of time better than a lot of other films from my youth.
The story – that I’m assuming ignorantly most of us know – is about a crazy board game that basically ‘comes to life’, bringing with it scary creatures, near death situations and the like. Robin Williams plays Alan Parrish who is sucked into the game as a teenager, re-emerging decades later when the game is found by siblings Peter and Judy (played by a young, sweet Kirsten Durst). Once again drawn into the world of Jumanji, they are forced to keep playing, with each roll of the dice bringing a new danger to face.
There’s giant spiders (ahh!), a biblical style flood, a crazy hunter who’s also pretty funny, giant mosquitoes that can crack car windows, huge poisonous spitting plants – basically a lot of unpleasant stuff – Jumanji isn’t about love and kindness. I personally always found the lion walking down the piano quite scary. And the crocodile too – anything with big teeth and claws tends to make me shudder.
His fangs are sharp, he likes your taste. Your party better move poste haste.
I know the ‘scares’ are a big reason I always enjoyed (and still do enjoy) Jumanji – and when I talk about the scares of this PG rated movie let me remind you again I was nine or ten when I first saw it. But there’s never a dull moment, probably why I think of it as one of the better, more memorable children’s films and an ideal family adventure.
It actually has a decent story too, as corny as it might sound it deals with things that most kids (and adults) can relate to at some point, not being listened to and feeling lonely. It also has good characters and it’s funny. Even Robin Williams isn’t over the top and plays Alan – who is quite mean and standoffish when first escaping the game – perfectly. Can’t blame the poor guy, I know teenage years are difficult, but most kids would rather deal with body hair and mood swings than fighting for survival in a deadly jungle where there’s no toilet roll. Especially when you’re being relentlessly chased by a crazy hunter who looks like your dad.
Horner scored the entire Jumanji soundtrack – some pop songs were included in the film, but not on the official OST. As you’d imagine the soundtrack is both dramatic and adventurous, the perfect accompaniment for a film of mayhem and survival. And I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that one of the best remembered things from the film are the drums that play loudly from the game itself.
The drums are extra cool because they make the game come to life even more. Alan (and years later Peter and Judy) first finds the game because he hears the drums, they get louder and louder the closer he gets – the game wants to be played!
And the rest of the soundtrack is just as good. Listen to this short (0.48) track entitled ‘I’ve Seen Things’ (I’ve seen things man…Yep, another Family Guy joke) where Alan makes his famous “you don’t know what afraid is” speech to an already petrified and possibly-disturbed-for-life Peter and Judy.
So most of us know that Jumanji is being remade for 2017. Oh no sorry, re-imagined. Or is it a reboot? Who cares. You say tomato, I say tomato (let’s call the whole thing off).
It suppose it would be easy to be nasty about said film – starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black (full whammy) – but to be fair it’s a cool premise for a family adventure and made well, it could be fine. It sounds as though it’ll be fairly different and I’m willing to give it a chance. Of course it won’t beat the 1995 original (at least for us oldies who remember it well the first time round) but it could be fun. I think Jumanji is such a good idea for a film that it’s worth trying again.
But judging by the “petition to stop the movie from getting made” IMDB message boards, I could be alone in thinking this.