Jumanji: Collector's Edition (1995)

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Released 9-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Featurette-SFX Featurette: Lions, Monkeys and Pods...Oh My!
Featurette-Production Design: Bringing Down The House
Featurette-Making Jumanji - The Realm Of Imagination
Theatrical Trailer
Teaser Trailer
Storyboards-3
Gallery-Conceptual Art
Gallery-Photo-Production Stills
Audio Commentary
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 99:54
RSDL / Flipper RSDL Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Joe Johnston
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Robin Williams
Kirsten Dunst
David Alan Grier
Bonnie Hunt
Jonathan Hyde
Bebe Neuwirth
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music James Horner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Swedish
Turkish
French Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the 'Collector's Edition' of Jumanji. The original release in February 1999 was a bare bones, single layered effort. The video transfer on this Collector's Edition looks to be the exact same transfer as was released originally, although the mastering error where the subtitles appear over the top of the burned-in titles appears to have been corrected. The movie still appears to be on a single layer as I saw no layer change. This is not a great problem as the transfer was pretty good to begin with.

    As we already have a review of the original here, I will concentrate on the extra features on this Collector's Edition.

    Firstly, we have an audio commentary by a surprising number of people, all of them involved in the production of the special effects. As there were CGI as well as animatronic effects used in this film, we hear from both teams. The people involved in this commentary obviously concentrate on commenting on the special effects and despite the number of special effects used in the film, there are some long gaps on-screen between the actual effects. This means that discussions of each special effect often start well before the special effect appears on-screen and continue on long afterwards, although it is fair to say that there are very few gaps in the commentary despite this slightly askew presentation. Interestingly, I sometimes found myself distracted from the commentary by the on-screen action. Having said that, this is a pretty good commentary overall although it covers much similar ground to that found in the documentaries (discussed next).

    There are three documentaries, two short and one a bit longer. The first is a look at the creatures created for the film. I always find these fascinating and this is a pretty good, if short, example. Some people have disparaged the special effects in this film but you have to remember that it was released originally in 1995, which is an age in special effects terms. The second documentary is even shorter and covers the special effects surrounding the house. This made me realise just how important the house was to the film, creating the world where a lot of the action occurs. The third documentary is a standard 'making of'. It again covers the special effects and uses footage from the previous two documentaries interspersed with soundbites from the actors and others. Any time Robin Williams is on-screen is entertaining - he is a good foil for the special effects people. One section I particularly liked was where they showed part of the set-up for the stampede scene. They built the library wall and placed a very large, steel rhino behind. When it came time, they rammed the rhino through the wall - the computer graphics took over from there.

    There are three sets of storyboard comparisons. I particularly liked how these were presented, with the storyboard taking up the centre of the screen and an insert of the actual movie running in the bottom right corner. This is far more interesting than plain static images. I think one of the storyboards in the bats section is out of sequence although I am not 100% sure.

    There are two trailers included; the theatrical trailer and the teaser trailer. Unfortunately both are presented at 1.33:1. The music for the theatrical trailer did not seem to be from the film, so I wonder if the trailer was produced before the final soundtrack had been produced.

    There are several galleries of photos that cover a range of subjects; alternate titles treatments (other suggestions for the rendering of the title 'Jumanji'), production stills, photographs taken on the set, and production design stills. These are all presented inset into the middle of a 1.33:1 screen. There are 127 stills all-told.

    The final section is of stock-standard actor biographies. The only difference here is that you can start at the first bio and keep stepping through to see all the information on all the actors and the director. You can still select them individually from the menu, but this navigation arrangement just makes it easier to see all the information.

    The question arises - is there enough here to make you run out and buy the new version? If you are a real fan of the film and particularly like this sort of expanded coverage then there might just be enough here to tempt you. Personally, I find such extras a great one-time viewing thing but generally will never watch them again.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer of the film is good but I found some scenes to be a little flat and lacking in contrast. My system is sensitive to the gamma of a film and this one seemed to have a problem in this area. Part of this is explained in the making-of; with principal filming occurring in winter, natural light was quite flat and they may have had to match this in the indoor shots to avoid big changes in image appearance.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78, a slight change from the original 1.85:1 theatrical release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall, this transfer is very sharp. The shadow detail is excellent and there is no low level noise. Other than the slight aforementioned problem with contrast, this is a very good transfer.

    The colours also sometimes suffered from a lack of contrast, but they were pretty good overall.

    Considering the length of the film and the number of soundtracks, putting this film onto a single layer and producing an image this good is nothing short of a miracle. There are no MPEG artefacts present nor are there any film to video artefacts. There were a small number of film artefacts but with a film like this you will be too engrossed to notice them.

    The English subtitles are pretty well matched to the on-screen dialogue.

    While this is an RSDL disc, the layer change does not appear in the film.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There have been some changes in the soundtracks included from the original release. Remember the abortive attempt to introduce MPEG audio to our region? Well, the MPEG 5.1 and MPEG 2.0 tracks have been replaced by French 5.1 Dolby Digital and German 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtracks.

    This used to be one of the discs I would pull out as a demonstration disc. While it has been far-surpassed by recent releases, in its day it was a particularly good example of Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

    Dialogue quality was good and there were no problems with audio sync.

    The music accompanying the film is a great example of the art and adds a great deal to the film.

    The surrounds are used superbly with good ambient surround sound as well as many examples of directional sound in the rears.

    I love the lion's roar in this film. This and other scenes will give your subwoofer a good workout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   

    Note that there is considerable additional descriptive information about the content of the extras on this DVD in the Plot Synopsis.

Menu

    The menus have been updated to a certain extent. The main menu now has an animated opening based around the board game from the film. Once you make a selection, the submenus are static but functional. The menu is presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Featurette: Lions, Monkeys and Pods...Oh My!

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround flag set. This featurette runs for 14:34 and covers the four main effects in the film; the monkeys, the lion, the plant pod and the stampede.

Featurette: Production Design, Bringing Down The House

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround bit set. This featurette runs for only 3:05 and covers the effort that went into the house, in particular the earthquake split.

Documentary: The Making Of Jumanji

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack (no surround this time). The documentary runs for 20:03 (would this be a 30 minute presentation when the ads are included?). This includes some material from the previous featurettes as well as interviews with the cast and the people that produced the film. Some of the material was very interesting and I was surprised at the amount of animatronics that were used in the film, in particular the lion and the crocodile. One particularly amusing comment is the mention of 'stunt spiders'. There were a number of animated spiders used in the attic scene but to avoid damage when the actors were taking swings at the spiders or kicking them around, several stunt spiders were produced.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround bit set. The trailer runs for 2:44.

Teaser Trailer

    Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with no surround, this trailer runs for 1:41.

Storyboard Presentations

    There are three sections here, all presented at 1.33:1 with the storyboard inserted into the middle. The storyboards are presented at 1.85:1 as is the inserted video from the film. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 with the surround flag set. The three sections covered are the bat scene from the first time the game appears, the rhino stampede and the earthquake. Respectively they run for 1:32, 1:12 and 0:56.

Talent Profiles

    Presented at 1.33:1, you can make a direct selection or step through the lot.

Photo Galleries

    All are presented at 1.33:1 with the photo inserted into the centre of the screen. They don't take up much screen real estate and on a smaller display device may seem a little undersized.

Conceptual Art

Production Stills

Commentary: Special Effects

    Includes: Ken Ralston, Alec Gilles, Tom Woodroff, Jr., Carl Frederick, Jim Mitchell and Doug Smythe. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 with the surround bit set. Due to the number of people involved there is never any silence or occasions where the original soundtrack is heard so you do get your money's worth with this commentary.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This comparison. is against the equivalent Collector's Edition in R1.

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on:

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    Right until the end the Region 4 was looking pretty good...until I saw the Isolated Score. I am a particular fan of movie soundtracks and this is an excellent one. So, it comes down to a competition between PAL resolution and 3:2 pull down effects and the isolated score. Personally, I would go for Region 4 and buy the soundtrack CD, although it is a shame that the CD won't be in Dolby Digital 5.1.

Summary

    Jumanji is an excellent film on the DVD that should have been released in the first place, although granted this was one of the very early titles released in Australia. The film is great fun for the whole family and has some excellent acting.

    The video is great aside from the contrast issues.

    The audio is still great demo material.

    The special features are certainly worth watching and listening to.

 

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Monday, July 29, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

Other Reviews NONE
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Inside Cover - Troy K