“A game for those who seek to find a way to leave their world behind.” The 1995 film Jumanji starred Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, David Alan Grier, and Bonnie Hunt. It was the tenth highest-grossing film of 1995 and raked in $263 million worldwide. The plot centers around an enchanted board game called Jumanji that comes to life, subjecting players to real-life threats associated with jungle exploration, depending on how they roll the dice. 

Jumanji was directed by Joe Johnston, who was also behind the camera for other special effects-driven films like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Jurassic Park III. Johnson had a background as a visual effects artist. He won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Steven Spielberg’s film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Filming for Jumanji took place between October 1994 and January 1995 in Keene, New Hampshire, and North Berwick, Maine. The movie was released in theaters on December 15th, 1995. Recently, it has inspired two direct sequels starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black — Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level

In 1995, Jumanji wasn’t the only film to focus on magical games and toys — The Indian and the Cupboard and Toy Story were both released the same year. However, it was undoubtedly the most suspenseful, with the action escalating consistently straight through to the film’s finale. Rolls of the dice summon mischievous monkeys, herds of stampeding elephants and zebras, flowers that shoot poisonous darts, and indoor monsoons. One of the most sinister rolls calls forth a big-game hunter named Van Pelt, who has a particular grudge against William’s character. Filmmakers used a combination of puppetry and animatronics, along with digital effects, to create the complex visual effects that were necessary to bring jungle creatures and their habitat into 20th-century small-town America. 

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