Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Role Playing Games > Aliens > Jumanji: 20th Anniversary Edition/Zathura: 10th Anniversary Edition/The Indian In The Cupboard: 20th Anniversary Edition (1995, 2005, 1995/Sony Blu-rays)

Jumanji: 20th Anniversary Edition/Zathura: 10th Anniversary Edition/The Indian In The Cupboard: 20th Anniversary Edition (1995, 2005, 1995/Sony Blu-rays)

Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B Films: B/C+/B-

Upon the anticipated new young adult adaptation of the beloved children's horror/fantasy series Goosebumps coming to the big screen, Sony has released these three other young adult fantasy films that have been upgraded and reissued for the Blu-ray format. Growing up with Jumanji and The Indian in the Cupboard, I am surprised at how well they hold up after all these years. I would definitely suggest these for young audiences or maybe even adults, like me, that like to get nostalgic with films from their youth.

Jumanji: 20th Anniversary Edition

Jumanji is a high concept film that was really revolutionary when it came out in terms of computer generated effects and features strong direction from Joe Johnston (Captain America: First Avenger) and its stars Robin Williams, (a very young) Kirsten Dunst, and Bradley Pierce (The Borrowers). Centering around a mystical board game that has the abilities to transport players into its beautiful yet deadly world whilst at the same time, has the ability to bring creatures (some familiar like elephants and monkeys to more and fantastical exotic deadly plants) from its world into ours. There were whispers recently that Sony has been considering rebooting this film and I hope, for our sakes, that is still a ways off from happening, especially in the recent wake of Williams' passing.

For those not familiar, the story centers on 12-year-old Alan Parrish (Williams), who becomes trapped in a board game while playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle in 1969. Twenty-six years later, siblings Judy (Dunst) and Peter Shepherd find the game and begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolve to finish the game in order to undo all of the destruction it has caused while a Big Game Hunter from the board game crosses into modern day and is hot on their trail, upping the stakes and forcing them to do whatever it takes to finish the game before it destroys everything they've known.

There are many charming characters in the film, including the Monkeys that often end up hijacking a cop car and firing off a gun, Elephants and Rhinos that stampede through the town, and many great set pieces including the Parrish House eventually splitting in two under the pressure of the game.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a spectacular DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that amplifies the original sound track and brings the action right into your home. There are also several other foreign language tracks on the disc in Dolby Digital 5.1 including Japanese, Portuguese, French, and Spanish. While it appears to be the same transfer and sound mix from a previous release, if you haven't purchased the film on Blu-ray yet then this is the edition to get as it has some great bonus material not available before.

Special Features include:

From the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and Reflection on Jumanji

New animated storybook excerpts from Jumanji (the book), narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg

Two episodes of the 1996 Jumanji: The Animated Series TV show

Original Theatrical Trailer

Special Effects Crew Commentary

Plus extras from an earlier release including a Making-of Documentary, Production Design Documentary, SFX Featurette, and Storyboard Comparisons.

The Indian In The Cupboard: 20th Anniversary Edition

I remember falling in love with this book as a child as it was always a fascinating concept of a child's toys coming to life. I even remember owning the clamshell VHS release where the reversible slipcase acted as the cupboard and you were given a plastic key and a toy Indian to put inside to recreate the iconic scene from the film... what fond movie marketing memories!

Ironically coming out the same year as Disney/Pixar's Toy Story, the two have similar themes and definitely drink from the same Kool-Aid. Directed by Yoda himself, Frank Oz, and starring Hal Scardino, Litefoot, Steve Coogan, and Richard Jenkins the film has never looked better than it does here on the Blu-ray format. It was also interestingly adapted from the original story by Melissa Matheson, the famed screenwriter of E.T. , which makes me wish more than ever than Spielberg would have directed this one.

After given an old cupboard for his birthday, Omri soon discovers that it holds within it the special ability to bring his plastic toys to life. Befriending a small Indian named Little Bear (played by Litefoot), he soon helps him in building his own tent and helping him face many obstacles that a man of his size would face in our world. When Omri takes Little Bear outside, he is injured by a Pigeon and soon Omri must bring a First World War British Army medic named Tommy Atkins (Steve Coogan), to treat Little Bear's wound. For Star Wars fans, there is also a great cameo by Darth Vader too!

After telling his friend and bringing to life a few other characters, he soon discovers that his cupboard is gone and missing the key he originally had to open it. Will he be able to help Little Bear on his quest and return him to his magical world?

It almost seems like this is a forgotten film in many ways when you compare it to Jumanji or Zathura as young adult fare. There were even other books in the series that followed but were never made into films. I find it interesting that with a great story like this that it hasn't been remade or re-imagined with a new cast. While still slightly dated, the film does hold up and really does look great on this format.

The film is presented in 1080p high definition and looks crystal clear on Blu-ray with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. There's also a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track on the disc as well. As I mentioned before, this film has never looked better than it does here.

Special Features on the disc include

From the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and a Reflection on The Indian in the Cupboard

Little Bear: A Return to The Indian in the Cupboard Featurette: Litefoot who famously played Little Bear looks back at this iconic role.

Archival Making-of Featurette

Original Theatrical Trailer

Legacy features include commentary from Director Frank Oz

Zathura: 10th Anniversary Edition

Serving as a sort-of sequel to Jumanji, the Jon Favreau directed space adventure lands on Blu-ray. While coming out in 2005, ten years after Jumanji, the film holds up with breathtaking special effects. Now this one doesn't quite hold the same nostalgic qualities to me as the former, I still think Zathura is a fun watch and certainly a great family film.

Danny (Jonah Bobo of Crazy Stupid Love) and Walter (Josh Hutcherson of The Hunger Games) are two brothers who barely get along with each other or their family including their older sister (Kristen Stewart) who tries to ignore them. Despite their squabbling, the brothers manage cooperate enough to play an old mechanical board game named Zathura.

However, after their first move, they find that the game has apparently flung them, their sister, and their entire house into outer space. Furthermore, the brothers surmise the only way to return home is to finish the game. However, with almost every move, new dangers arise as the siblings find themselves learning to cooperate in ways they never expected as they realize what they mean to each other as they face off against Astronauts, Robots, and strange Aliens.

Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a powerful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, the film has never looked or sounded better than it does here as well.

Special Features include

From the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and a Reflection on Zathura

New animated storybook version of Zathura (the book), narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg

Original Theatrical Trailer

Commentary with Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley


The Making of Zathura

Visual Effects Documentary

The Cast of Zathura

Zorgons, Robots and Frozen Lisa

Making the Game

Miniatures and the World of Zathura

The World of Chris van Allsburg

All in all, these three Sony releases are definitely worth the Blu-ray upgrade if you don't have them yet or if you are yearning for more supplemental material. They are all three fun films and are full of great special effects, great acting, and high end directing that will be sure to please both young adults and adults as well. One can only hope that the upcoming Goosebumps film can capture the same sense of awe and wonder that these films did upon their release, while still staying true to its source material. Time will tell but at least we will always have Jumanji.

- James Harland Lockhart V



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com