When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game.
After being trapped in a jungle board game for 26 years, a Man-Child wins his release from the game. But, no sooner has he arrived that he is forced to play again, and this time sets the creatures of the jungle loose on the city. Now it is up to him to stop them.
Jumanji. One of the most unique, impressive, and, above all, dangerous board games out there, falls, unexpectedly, in the hands of the curious young teenager, Alan Parrish, back in 1969. Mysterious and magical, the game captures the unsuspecting boy into the lush and savage forests of a mythical realm, only to release him nearly three decades later before the awed eyes of the young siblings, Judy and Peter Shepherd. Incessantly, the wild beat of the jungle's tribal drums is calling for the now-adult Alan and the rest of the hesitant players, as, he who rolls the dice, must never leave undone what he has started. However, has anyone ever escaped from the game and Jumanji's formidable foes?
Alan Parris has been trapped in an ancient magical board game, Jumanji, for 26 years. When he is finally freed by two children, a herd of wild exotic animals have accidentally been released as well. Now, Alan must try to save his hometown from destruction.
Twelve-year old Alan Parrish finds "Jumanji", a board game, in 1969. He and Sarah Whittle play it that night. When a quote says "In the jungle you must wait, until the dice roll 5 or 8" Alan is suddenly pulled into the game. Twenty-six years later, two more kids find this game. One of them rolls a 5 and Alan Parrish comes back. But he is soon forced to find Sarah and finish the game.
When young Alan Parrish discovers a mysterious board game, he doesn't realize its unimaginable powers until he is magically transported--before the startled eyes of his friend Sarah--into the untamed jungles of Jumanji. There he remains for 26 years until he is freed from the game's spell by two unsuspecting children. Now a grown man, Alan reunites with Sarah and, together with Judy and Peter, tries to outwit the game's powerful forces.
- The film begins in 1869 in the town of Brantford, New Hampshire. Two boys are seen breathlessly running with a box, which they proceed to bury in the woods.
The film then cuts to a century later in Brantford. A young boy named Alan Parrish is chased by a gang of bullies and seeks refuge in his father's shoe factory. Alan encounters one of his father's employees named Carl, who has created a prototype sneaker which he feels is the future of Parrish Shoes. Alan carelessly places the prototype on a conveyor belt as he is discovered by his father. Sam Parrish chastises his son for being bullied and claims that Alan needs to stand up for himself. As Alan leaves a grinding noise is heard from one of the factory's machines. The conveyor belt upon which Alan placed the prototype sent the shoe into the machine, damaging the machine along with Carl's prototype. Sam demands to know who is responsible for the incident, and Carl takes the blame for Alan.
Outside the factory, Alan is accosted by the bullies. One of them demands that Alan stay away from his girlfriend. Alan claims that he and the bully's girlfriend are 'just friends,' but this just leads to them beating up Alan and taking his bike. As Alan recovers, a strange drum beat catches his ear, and he is drawn to a construction site. Wedged in a section of ground is the box the two boys had buried a century before. Alan pulls it out, opens it up, and finds a wooden board game inside named, 'Jumanji.'
That evening, Alan's parents are going out to an event. Alan's mother has told his father that there are multiple bullies and Alan's father tells Alan that he is proud of him for standing up to them as he did. However, Alan's face soon falls when his father proclaims they are sending him to a boarding school for boys. Alan grows indignant at being forced into doing something he doesn't want to do and he and his father part ways for the night in anger. Once Alan's parents leave, he attempts to pack a suitcase and run away from home.
As Alan is about to walk out the front door, a knock is heard and he opens the door to find Sarah Whittle (the bully's girlfriend), who has come to return Alan's bike. The drum sounds are heard again and lead the two to the Jumanji board game. Alan sets the game up for the two of them to play but Sarah claims she's too old for board games and playfully throws down the dice. After she does so, a piece on the board moves on its own, and strange sounds are heard from the fireplace. Sarah becomes scared and tells Alan to not take his turn. Ignoring her, he rolls the dice and receives the following message: "In the jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight."
Sarah recoils in horror as Alan is literally sucked into the game, following which scores of large bats swarm down the chimney and out through the fireplace. Sarah runs screaming from the house, slamming the door behind her.
Twenty-six years later, Nora Shepherd moves into the now-vacant Parrish mansion with her niece and nephew, Judy and Peter. The children have been entrusted into Nora's care since their parents were killed while on a skiing trip. Judy has developed a penchant for concocting ridiculous lies while Peter has coped by becoming quiet and withdrawn.
Judy and Peter explore the house and soon make their way to the attic, where they are spooked by a bat. This brings an exterminator to inspect the house but nothing else turns up. When Judy is shown pictures of various bats, she points out a picture of an African fruit bat. The exterminator says that a girl in the 60's claimed to have seen the same kind of bat. Before he leaves, the exterminator tells the kids a story that he believes the owner of the house murdered his son Alan, dismembered his body and hid the remains in the walls of the mansion.
The next day, while Nora is out, Peter and Judy hear the tribal drum sounds, and come across the Jumanji board game in the attic. Opening it up, two game pieces magically lock into place for them. The first roll of the dice by Judy spawns giant mosquitoes, which soon fly out an open window in the attic. Peter rolls snake-eyes, which unleashes a horde of crazed monkeys in the kitchen. It is after this that Judy reads a message on the game board which states that everything will revert to normal once the game is finished. As Peter has rolled 'doubles,' he takes another turn. Peter rolls a '5,' and the two are soon shocked to find a lion in their house. Their shock soon doubles when Alan appears, now a forty-year-old man in jungle garb. Alan corrals the lion in a bedroom before thanking Judy and Peter for freeing him. When Alan asks where his parents are, Judy informs him that it is 1995 and that she, Peter and their Aunt Nora are the new owners of the house.
Alan rushes outside, where he encounters Carl in a police cruiser. While Carl demands to know who Alan is, the monkeys from the kitchen hijack Carl's car and drive off in it, with Carl running behind in pursuit. Alan then rushes off, intent to find his family. Alan soon finds the Parrish Shoe Factory has been shuttered. Entering the factory, Alan comes across a homeless man who tells the group that after Alan went missing, Sam used all his time, energy and wealth to find him. When Alan asks to know where the two elder Parish's are, the homeless man directs Alan to the nearby cemetery.
After visiting his parents' graves, Alan and the kids return to the mansion, where the kids attempt to get Alan to help them finish the game. However, they soon find that the game has to be played in the order of who is next. As Alan was the second person to roll the dice, followed by Judy and Peter, that means that Sarah has to roll the dice for the game to advance.
Unsure where to go, the three go to the house where Sarah lived as a girl only to find psychic living there. They ask the psychic for help finding Sarah, only to find the psychic IS Sarah. After Sarah faints at the sight of Alan, Alan and the kids take her back to the mansion. Upon seeing the game board Sarah freaks out, claiming that what she 'thought' she saw (Alan being sucked into the game) was a hallucination, and that Alan's father had killed him and dismembered his body, hiding it in the walls of the mansion.
Alan manages to trick Sarah into taking her turn, which unleashes a number of carnivorous plants. The group then retreats to another part of the house, where Alan takes his turn. Alan's turn summons the game's most deadly aspect--a big-game hunter from the game named Van Pelt, who has been chasing Alan for some time within the game of Jumanji. It is only when Van Pelt runs out of ammunition does he give up, going off to get more.
We can tell that Jumanji has created Van Pelt by patterning him after Alan's father, Sam Parrish. He seems only interesting in hunting Alan to death and screams at him for being "a sniveling, yellow coward" for not facing Van Pelt and his gun. Once again, an exaggerated nightmare conjuring of Sam Parrish.
The group next goes to the library in the mansion, where Judy's turn results in a massive stampede of animals bursting forth from the bookcase behind them. In the ensuing chaos, a large white pelican grabs the game in its beak and flies off. Alan chases after it, with the group in tow.
Alan finds the pelican by a river, catches a fish and tosses it to the bird, causing it to knock the game into the river. Peter manages to retrieve the game and everyone returns to the house. However, Carl appears and takes Alan away. Once Alan is gone, Peter reveals that he has attempted to cheat by attempting to drop the dice so that he would get the number he needed to reach the end. As a result, Peter begins to morph into a monkey.
In the police cruiser, Alan finally tells Carl who he is and Carl attempts to get Alan back to Judy, Peter and Sarah.
Meanwhile, the three have been found again by Van Pelt (now having acquired a Daewoo USAS-12 (automatic shotgun). The chase leads the group into the heart of the town where the animal stampede almost kills Peter. Van Pelt finds Peter trapped in a crushed car and wrestles the game away from him, then heads for a discount store. Van Pelt intends to trap Sarah and use her as bait along with the game to lure Alan to him. Alan and Carl eventually do find them at the store. Carl's vehicle crashes through the front of the store, burying Van Pelt in an avalanche of paint cans.
The group returns to the house, only to find the carnivorous plants have taken over the interior. The next turn causes a monsoon to flood the main floor of the house and the group to be chased by a large crocodile. Everyone heads for the attic, where Sarah takes her turn, and the floor turns to quicksand, almost swallowing Alan. Judy rolls the dice, freezing the floor, saving Alan from being swallowed up by the floor. Peter rolls next and some large spiders suddenly appear. Judy attempts to fight them off, but accidentally finds one of the plants, which shoots her with a poisonous barb.
Sarah takes her turn, resulting in an earthquake that splits the Parrish house in two. Alan is freed and falls through the floor, along with the game. Alan manages to recover the game and is about to take his turn when Van Pelt appears. Alan drops the dice. Van Pelt encourages Alan to run, but Alan declares that he won't run anymore and will face his fears. As he says this, the dice finish their roll and Alan's piece reaches the center of the board. Van Pelt asks Alan for his last words. After Alan calls out the name of the game, all the creatures and animals are sucked back into the game (including Van Pelt himself), as Alan and Sarah embrace each other and close their eyes.
When they open them again, they find themselves back in the parlor of Alan's house in 1969. A sound is heard nearby as Sam Parrish returns to get a forgotten speech. Alan quickly rushes to hug his father and apologizes for what he said before his father left. Sam apologizes as well and decides not to send him away. He also takes responsibility for Carl's prototype sneaker becoming lodged in the factory machine.
After Sam leaves, Alan panics about Judy and Peter. Sarah reminds him that they don't yet exist. The two then take the game, weight it down, and toss it into a nearby river. Sarah then tells Alan that it feels like the memories of their adventure are waning and decides to kiss him for the bravery he showed.
The epilogue of the film returns us to the year 1995. Alan and Sarah have married and are expecting their first child. A Christmas party is being held at the Parrish mansion, and Alan is speaking by phone to his father as he and Alan's mother are away on a vacation. Carl is present at the party. Alan and Sarah have also invited Judy and Peter and their parents to the party (though the kids have no idea of the previous adventures). Alan and Sarah are eager to provide Judy and Peter's father with an advertising position with the Parrish Shoe company. However both of the parents feel they should wait to accept until after they take a planned skiing trip in the Canadian Rockies. Alan and Sarah, in unison, shriek, "NO!"
The film ends with a pair of French girls walking along a beach, wondering about a strange drum beat they both hear. Buried in the sand several yards in front of them is the Jumanji board game, preparing to claim its next players.