In 1995, “Jumanji” was the big blockbuster that managed to take America by storm for just a little while. Like everything in the nineties, that meant it deserved an animated series, prompting an unusual but pretty okay series in 1996. Originally premiering on the American channel UPN, I really don’t recall ever seeing this series. I never cared for “Jumanji” honestly (I prefer “Zathura,” personally), but the animated series does a good job capturing the spirit of the movie and even garners some unique animation style.
Mill Creek offers up all forty episodes finally on DVD, “Jumanji” comes uncut and all the episodes in order. With animation designed by Everett Peck, the creator of Duck Man, “Jumanji” is basically a spin off of the movie that finds Alan, Judy, and Peter going on various adventures around the Jumanji board. While it doesn’t have the touching moments from the movie, it keeps the wild adventures and action and surprisingly maintains a lot of the menace we saw in the original film.
One scene even finds villain Van Pelt chasing the kids with every intention of killing them with a shotgun and almost shoots them until Alan saves the day. There are some good performances and voice work from the bang up cast, including Sherman Howard as Van Pelt, and Bill Faggerbakke who plays Alan. There’s also Tim Curry, and Ashley Johnson. The odd animation style suits the unusual premise, and despite some changes from the movie, it’s an okay series. It’s certainly a lot better than the animated take off from “The Mummy.” The DVD comes with zero extras and mainly just a menu for the ability to play every episode or individual episodes.