Jumanji (1995) – James Horner Blogathon


First of all many thanks to Bex of Film Music Central for organising such a cool blogathon in tribute of musical film composer James Horner.

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.

Jumanji (1994)


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 Wrs_1024x759-150806050445-1024-Jumanjiilliams 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.

Listen to them here.

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.

jumanji (1).jpg

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.

About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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44 Responses to Jumanji (1995) – James Horner Blogathon

  1. Jay says:

    You’re such an optimist 😉

    Nice post. You can talk about Horner all day long as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Those drums freaked me out when I was a child!! Loved it all the same, though. 🙂 I didn’t realize James Horner wrote the music for this one, though, so it’s a perfect excuse to revisit the film soon!

    I have to admit to feeling pretty dubious about a remake, too.

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks Christina! They freaked me out too lol 🙂

      I think a remake COULD be fun, so long as they are respectful to the original. Nothing will ever beat Jumanji 1995 though 🙂

      I didn’t realise Horner did the music for this either, until I looked it up for the blogathon! But it’s actually a soundtrack I wouldn’t mind having, it’s very suspenseful and adventurous! 🙂

  3. Ben says:

    Not sure what can be gained from remaking this film or specifically with those three characters. It works well because there are two kids at the centre.

    • emmakwall says:

      I’m sure there will still be kids in the movie, I assume these actors are just playing the ‘adult’ parts. I guess The Rock would have the starring role but hard to imagine Jack Black playing the bad guy. Kevin Hart would have to be a comedy part?

      Hmmm! Lol.

  4. Kevin says:

    Did you ever see the Jumanji spinoff cartoon? It was perhaps even more mental than the film. I do love the hell out of the film, though, but it has Robin in it, and I love everything he’s in! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Remembering James Horner Blogathon: Day Three Recap | Film Music Central

  6. vinnieh says:

    I love the hell out of Jumanji.

  7. beetleypete says:

    I think it’s a good film for kids of a certain age, but i wouldn’t want to watch it myself. (I have seen some of it on TV, but I was 43 when it was released!)
    As for a re-make- NO NO NO. I would like to ban all re-makes, starting now. If an original is good, why do it again? If an original is crap, why add to the crap pile? (A Star is Born coming up too…)
    As ever, Pete. XXX (And one more, because you cheer me up X)

    • emmakwall says:

      I completely understand 🙂

      Hee hee, I know your thoughts on remakes, I completely understand that too! It can be so frustrating, especially when it’s a classic. I’ve heard rumours of a Night of the Hunter remake…………………… (no comment)

      You cheer me up too 🙂 xxx (and one for luck X)

  8. I love Jumanji! Have read the book Ems? It won the Caldicott Award for its gorgeous illustrations by author Chris Van Allsburg. Anyway, I didn’t know James Horner wrote the score. I remember those drums though! I’m not sure about the whole remake thing. Especially since this is a Robin Williams movie. Hmm. We’ll just have to see.😕

  9. I enjoyed Jumanji, too. I remember taking my kids to see it and we all enjoyed it. Great blogathon, and entry, Emma.

    • emmakwall says:

      Aww thanks Cindy! Really pleased to read that 🙂

      It’s a great family film isn’t it, I think perhaps there aren’t enough of these action / adventure films now days for families to enjoy! That’s why I say do the remake, let’s see if it’s any good!

  10. mikeladano says:

    NO MORE REBOOTS! Noooooo!

    Never liked the original though. The CG left me very detached from the viewing experience.

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