Adventure Movies

All 4 ‘Jumanji’ Movies, Ranked

March 21, 20246 Mins Read

1995 saw the release of the fantasy adventure movie Jumanji. Starring the late great Robin Williams, the film features a bold and original plot that mixes fantasy, action, adventure, and a heartwarming message about family and growing up. Jumanji was a surprising box office hit, spawning an animated series and a live-action film spin-off before receiving two indirect sequels in the 2010s.

Although only four films have been produced in the franchise, Jumanji is a successful and beloved saga that has successfully reinvented itself to stand the test of time. The films are original, funny, and emotional, making for excellent family entertainment that is both fascinating and emotionally resonant. Each film in the Jumanji series is good in its own right, but a few are objectively better, thanks to their refreshing approach, witty humor, and the performances of their ever-reliable ensembles.

4 ‘Zathura: A Space Adventure’ (2005)

Director: Jon Favreau

Four characters hunched and talking in Zathura A Space Adventure
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

From Iron Man director Jon Favreau came Zathura: A Space Adventure. A standalone spin-off of Jumanji based on the eponymous novel by Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg, the film replaces the jungle setting for space and follows two siblings who find themselves in an intergalactic adventure when they start paying a game whose dangers they can’t possibly comprehend.

The main issue with Zathura is that it lacks a strong lead figure. While Jonah Bobo and a then-thirteen-year-old Josh Hutcherson are likable enough, the film lacks a Robin Williams-like leading man to guide the action. The siblings and their older sister, a delightfully awkward Kristen Stewart, are compelling enough, but they just can’t support the story’s weight by themselves, and a barely-there intervention from Dax Shepard didn’t really help. Despite some truly impressive visual effects that capture the terrifying vastness of space and Jon Favreau’s confident directing, Zathura feels small-stakes and limited, lacking the sense of danger that the original Jumanji had in spades. Zathura is by no means a bad movie, but compared to every other entry in this franchise, it can’t help but feel like a letdown.

Zathura A Space Adventure Poster


Release Date
November 6, 2005


Chris Van Allsburg , David Koepp , John Kamps

Rent on Amazon

3 ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ (2019)

Director: Jake Kasdan

The cast of Jumanji The Next Level
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan returned for Jumanji: The Next Level, the 2019 sequel to their near-1-billion-grossing 2017 hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The film sees the same teenagers become trapped in the Jumanji video game once more, joined by their old ally, Alex, and two unsuspecting companions: Spencer’s elderly grandfather, Eddie, and his estranged friend, Milo.

Like its predecessor, The Next Level gets a ton of mileage out of casting its four likable leads in unexpected roles. The incredible Jack Black once again steals the show, but Johnson shows far more range than in any of his previous appearances. Embracing the absurdity of playing an older man trapped in the body of a hunk, Johnson steals many of the film’s best moments with surprisingly sharp comedic timing. Similarly, Karen Gillan is at her best here, delivering another confident performance that keeps the whole thing grounded. Jumanji: The Next Level isn’t as refreshing as its predecessors, but what it lacks in originality, it more than makes up in action and adventure thrills. It successfully entertains audiences of all ages and does what a second film in a franchise should: it leaves audiences longing for a third entry.

Jumanji The Next Level Poster

Jumanji: The Next Level

Release Date
December 13, 2019

123 minutes

Jake Kasdan , Jeff Pinkner , Scott Rosenberg

Watch on Starz

2 ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ (2017)

Director: Jake Kasdan

The cast of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle looking intently ahead.
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

Revitalizing the Jumani saga seemed like a fool’s errand. How could any film compete with the originals’ legacy? However, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle doesn’t try to, and that’s why it works. The film follows four teenagers spending detention together. When they find a mysterious video game, they get pulled into the dangerous world of Jumanji, assuming the avatars of four archetypical video game protagonists.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is far sillier than the original 1995 movie, but that’s good. The four main characters have incredible chemistry together, doing some genuinely heavy lifting to raise a funny but unsurprising screenplay. However, it’s Jack Black who steals the movie with his performance as a teenage girl trapped in the body of an overweight scholar. A tremendously gifted comedian, Black does so much in the role, elevating what could easily be an offensive character and turning it into the film’s heart. Beyond the performances, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle succeeds as a purely entertaining adventure movie, featuring grand action setpieces and convincing visual effects. It’s funny and ridiculously rewatchable, qualities that make it a worthy successor to the 1995 original.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle Film Poster

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Release Date
December 20, 2017

119 minutes

Watch on Hulu

1 ‘Jumanji’ (1995)

Director: Joe Johnston

Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, and Bradley Pierce huddled together in 'Jumanji'
Image via Sony Pictures Releasing

In the ’90s, few actors could compare to Robin Williams. The star of commercial juggernauts like Mrs. Doubtfire and acclaimed darlings like Dead Poets Society was already a two-time Oscar nominee and one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars when he starred in Jumanji. The plot centered on two children, played by Bradley Pierce and future Oscar nominee Kirsten Dunst, who discover the seemingly inoffensive board game of Jumanji. However, it soon releases Alan Parrish, who’s been stuck within Jumanji’s violent world for decades, alongside incredible dangers that threaten to wreak havoc in the real world unless they beat the game.

Benefitting from a truly original premise, groundbreaking visual effects, and a tremendously charming performance from Williams, Jumanji was a box-office hit despite mixed reviews. However, time has been kind to it, with many now considering it among the all-time best adventure movies. Beyond the flashy VFX, Jumanji is a classic coming-of-age story about growing up and bridging generational gaps. Williams, Dunst, Pierce, and the vastly underrated Bonnie Hunt make for an inspired team, supported by the scene-stealing David Alan Grier and Bebe Neuwirth and perfectly antagonized by ’90s character actor Jonathan Hyde. Endlessly rewatchable and ridiculously quotable, Jumanji is a timeless ’90s classic that only gets better with age.

Jumanji Film Poster


Release Date
December 15, 1995

104 minutes

Jonathan Hensleigh , Greg Taylor , Jim Strain , Chris Van Allsburg

Watch on Hulu

NEXT: The 10 Best Adventurers in Movies, Ranked

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