Jumanji

1995, Interscope Communications et al

In a way, this adaptation of a children's book is Robin Williams personified: frenetic, random, and prone to bursts of insanity. It had good ingredients and intentions; it simply didn't coalesce into a cohesive whole, and critics were at best tepid about it—although audiences didn't seem to care, and it was a box office success (likely thanks to Williams' draw). Its spiritual successor, Zathura, had very similar creative issues, although it was a box office flop.

   

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CRAP

MEH

WOW

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

2017, Columbia Pictures et al

Having low expectations going into yet another example of Hollywood's conceptual cannibalization, I was surprised to find it was far more entertaining than it had any right to be. For one thing, the cast—especially the Rock—was actually quite good at spoofing their teenage counterparts. Although Kevin Hart was a bit too much to take as the comic relief (and skated uncomfortably close to being a non-PC stereotype), Jack Black utterly nailed it as a self-absorbed teenage girl. The action was expertly-crafted, the effects well above average, and the pace swift but not too frenetic. Director Jake Kasdan made sure the film didn't overstay its welcome, and it earned nearly a billion at the box office against a $100 million budget.

     

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CRAP

MEH

WOW

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