Netflix adds beloved family classic nearly 30 years after release

The original Jumanji returns

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Netflix has added an absolute family classic in the form of the original Jumanji, a movie that powered the imaginations of a generation of kids. 

Starring a young Kirsten Dunst and a firmly established Robin Williams, there's a reason it spawned a modern franchise after the 2017 revival - it has a brilliant idea right at its core. 

The movie arrived on Netflix at the start of May, so if you've never seen the original, or feel like dipping into some nostalgia, now's the time. 

Jumanji has a simple enough concept: what if a board game could come to life? It imagines the made-up board game of its title as a sort of spooky paranormal artefact.

Having sucked in Robin Williams' character as a boy, it's discovered by two new children years later, and they unwittingly manage to free him from his prison inside the game. 

All that's left is to finish the game he was playing two decades before, to end Jumanji's power over him and the house it's stored in - in theory, at least. 

Of course, things don't actually go as smoothly as that, and there are a whole heap of scenes where jungle animals invade parts of the house according to the action on the board.

Those of us who had Jumanji in our VHS collection back in the day might remember it really fondly, and in particular as being one of those older family movies that has some real threat to offer up.

However, the record shows that it actually wasn't universally beloved on release - it's now sitting on a 51% score on Rotten Tomatoes from critics, which isn't exactly resoundingly praising. 

Still, sometimes the most enjoyable movies to catch on whichever you think the best streaming service is are the ones with some rough edges. Jumanji certainly fits that bill, and there's no doubt it's an entertaining choice.

Since there have now been two modern sequels starring The Rock, Jack Black, Karen Gillan and Kevin Hart, it's also an ideal movie for anyone with kids who love those outings - they can see where it all began, in the analogue age.  

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.