Ralph Potts reviews the anniversary editions of these entertaining family favorites that are based on the beloved books by author Chris Van Allsburg.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Sony Pictures – 1995, 2005
Feature running time:
104, 101 minutes
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian
Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst, Jonathan Hyde, David Alan Grier, Bebe Neuwirth, Bradley Pierce, Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Sherpard, Tim Robbins, Kristen Stewart
Joe Johnston, Jon Favreau
James Horner, John Debney,
Jonathan Hensleigh, Greg Taylor, Jim Strain, David Koepp, John Kamps
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
September 22, 2015
"Imagination and adventure"
Jumanji: 20th Anniversary Edition
stars Academy Award® winner Robin Williams (Best Supporting Actor, Good Will Hunting, 1997), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man trilogy) and Bradley Pierce (The Borrowers). 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. The all-new bonus features include animated storybook excerpts from the book, narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg, two episodes of the 1996 “Jumanji: The Animated Series” TV show and the original theatrical trailer.
Zathura: 10th Aniversary Edition
stars Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games franchise), Kristen Stewart (Twilightfranchise), Jonah Bobo (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), and Dax Sheppard (“Parenthood”) in the story of two young brothers who are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is hurled through the depths of space by the magical board game they are playing. The all-new bonus features include an animated storybook version of the book narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg and the original theatrical trailer.
is the big screen adaptation of the award-winning book by author Chris Van Allsburg. It tells the story of young Alan Parrish who discovers a mysterious board game, and 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 in this imaginative adventure that combines breathtaking special effects with an enchanting mixture of comedy, magic and thrills.
is also based on the book by Chris Van AllsburgIn and is a science fiction adventure, that tells the story of two squabbling brothers, Walter and Danny, who are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game discovered in the basement of their father's house. On their fantastic journey, they are joined by a stranded astronaut and must survive meteor showers, a rocket-propelled robot that runs amok and hostile, "meat eating", lizard-like aliens, named Zargons, armed with grappling hooks, house leveling missiles and a fleet of spaceships. Unless they finish the game, thereby reaching the planet Zathura, they could be trapped in outer space forever.
I never did read the books for Jumanji or Zathura so my introduction to them were through these films. I really enjoy fantasy/adventure stories, especially those as seen through the eyes of children, and Jumanji
was an immediate hit with me and eventually my kids. I can't recall the number of times I have seen it but it never gets old and I tend to find myself laughing aloud at the same points throughout. Seeing Robin Williams onscreen, especially in a role like this, is tough it reminds me of how much I enjoyed him. Luckily his legacy and body of work remains alive through films like Jumanji.
caught my eye when it came to home video as it reminded me very much of Jumanji
. It wasn't until after I'd seen it that I found out it was based on the book by the same author. While it doesn't resonate as deeply as Jumanji, in terms of character design and narrative scope, I still revel in its spirit of adventure and the innate lesson found in the relationship between Danny and Walter. I have owned each of these films on home video in their various incarnations, from VHS through to Blu-ray. Watching them again brought back nostalgic memories of enjoying them with my children when they were little. While they aren't cinematic marvels, there is a timeless essence to them that can be shared by children and their parents. I am sure that this also applies to the books as well.
The rating is for fantasy action and peril, and some language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
Jumanji and Zathura Anniversary Editions come to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that have an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
In looking at these films on Blu-ray they share similar characteristics in terms of overall quality so my comments will apply to both. These are the same video encodings found on the previous Blu-ray releases. These are solid looking high definition catalog releases that feature clean, well depicted colors that offer a good mix of secondary hues that mate well with the source material. The earth tones appear very natural as the green grass, various shades of brown and blue look great. Resolution is definable with varying degrees of refinement that can be scene dependent. Sharpness wavers here and there, which results in some scenes offering lucid clarity while others are lacking clearly defined edges and finely rendered detail. Fidelity appears intact as these issues are innate and probably attributable to the use of visual effects (especially in the case of Jumanji), lighting, hazy environs and the film stock used. Black and white levels are stable which gives a fair level of pop to colors and brighter exterior sequences while keeping darker or low lit segments looking noticeably punchy with crisp, quiet blacks with visibly gradational detail in shadowy backgrounds. Grain is present with a prominent texture and film like rendering that occasionally takes on heavier emphasis but it never bothered me. Having seen each of these films numerous times over the years I find their high definition rendering to be gratifying and complimentary.
I always enjoyed these soundtracks on DVD and the move to high resolution DTS-HD MA only made things better. The source material allows for active use of the surround platform and both are just plain fun to listen to. Dialogue has discernible intonation, with refining clarity and excellent room penetration. Each track delivers an engaging audio experience that is highlighted by solid impact, refining clarity, and the wonderful music scores by James Horner and John Debney. Dynamic range is quite good and doesn’t seem limited by the dated elements present in the recording. Sounds and effects have discerning depth and presence as spatial ambience and discrete sounds fill the listening area. The LFE channel is similarly used to add weight that extends low bass frequencies when the action kicks. While these presentations don't hit as hard as some of today's films on Blu-ray they still offer a rewarding and engaging listening experience.
- Jumanji Anniversary Edition:
- From the cast of Goosebumps
- (HD) *NEW Goosebumps Sneak Peek
- (HD) Reflection on Jumanji with Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee
- (HD) * NEW - New animated storybook excerpts from Jumanji (the book), narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg
- *NEW - Two episodes of the 1996 “Jumanji: The Animated Series” TV show
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Special Effects Crew Commentary
- Making-of Documentary
- Production Design Documentary
- SFX Featurette
- Storyboard Comparisons
- Digital HD Copy
Zathura Anniversary Edition:
- From the cast of Goosebumps
- (HD) *NEW - Goosebumps Sneak Peek
- (HD) *NEW - Reflection on Jumanji with Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee
- (HD) * NEW - New animated storybook excerpts from Zathura (the book), narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg
- Commentary with Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley
- Featurettes (7 segments):
- “The Making of Zathura”
- Visual Effects Documentary
- “The Cast of Zathura”
- “Zorgons, Robots and ‘Frozen Lisa’”
- “Making the Game”
- “Miniatures and the World of Zathura”
- “The World of Chris van Allsburg”
- Digital HD Copy
Based on the books by author Chris Van Allsburg, these anniversary editions of Jumanji
bring back fond memories while making for a fun and entertaining revisit. Each looks and sounds solid on Blu-ray while offering a combination of new and legacy bonus content. Seeing as the audio/video presentations are the same as the previous Blu-ray releases, I don't see the additional bonus material as a reason to upgrade should you already own these films in high definition. If you're a fan and don't happen to already own them or if you've never seen them, then these anniversary editions would be well worth considering.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package