I remember seeing the original Jumanji movie growing up (dang I miss Robin Williams!) and how just hearing those drum beating to the tune gave me chills. When I heard there was going to be a new Jumanji movie, I was thrilled – especially because of such an incredible cast line-up! When I found out it was rated PG-13, I was a bit worried – is Jumanji okay for kids to see? Due to a bunch of family being in town last weekend, and reading several notes as to WHY it had this rating, we agreed that we’d take the kids with us to see it in theaters. Here’s about our experience with our kids (ages 12, 11, two 8-year-olds, and a 6 year old) seeing this film for the first time together. Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures.
Now, I want to be very clear that I’m a firm believer that YOU KNOW YOUR CHILDREN BEST. Just because I may think a movie is okay or not okay for a certain age does not – in any way – mean that it has to be that decision for your family as well. These are just my own thoughts to help you out while you make your decision.
The action is pretty basic – much more ‘violence’ in actual video games, and I don’t remember seeing any blood except a tiny hint of it when one of the characters get shot, and it’s after the fact. For my kids, I had no problem with the obviously-pretend fighting that was even a bit cheesy (but on purpose, because the idea is they’re IN a video game). The ‘evil villian’ in the movie/game is a bit creepy – he has bugs coming in/out of his ears and up his sleeves, and at one point a scorpion comes out of his mouth to sting one of his henchmen, killing them. My kids thought it was a little icky, but still not a huge deal or very scary, in my opinion.
Now, one big concern I had was the fact that one of the FEMALES was playing a MALE avatar in the game, so Jack Black was acting as a girl in a man’s body. They did touch on this, where she needed the other guys to tell her how to pee. They make a few little comments about their male-parts during that. I thought my ever-so-silly boys would never let that go, but while they might have laughed a bit at that part, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I was afraid it could end up being.
At another point, the Jack Black/girl hugs a cute guy and then everyone stares at her/his crotch because it’s ‘obvious’ she likes him. This part went completely over my kids’ heads (if the girls got it, they didn’t let on) and they definitely don’t show anything at any point. SPOILER: Then near the end she/he tells him ‘see you later’ while looking down. Again, not a major thing.
By the way – I think Jack Black did a PHENOMENAL job in this part!!!
Another thing you should be aware of to assist in your decision, is that at one point two of the actors (as their avatars) attempt to kiss – it’s both of their first times, so it’s really awkward and about as ridiculous as can be. My kids laughed – it was funny, after all – but then moved right on. At one scene some of the teens-in-adult-bodies try alcohol for the first time – spitting it out quickly since it’s disgusting – but one continues to ask for more and ends up drunk.
My big issue that has me almost regretting letting my kids go see it was the LANGUAGE. I knew there would be swearing, but there was a LOT in it – mostly by Kevin Hart. I don’t believe there was any use of the F-word, but many many uses of s**t, a** and ‘oh my g**’. Now, I know my kids will hear some of these in normal life and even in plenty other movies they’re fine seeing – but in this film it seemed over the top.
An important thing to note – since they’re in a ‘game’, they all have three lives, so it does show them ‘dying’ some crazy – but gore and basically blood-free – deaths. Being chomped by a hippo, trampled by rhinos, or being bitten by a snake are a few of them – as are falling from very high up. They’re very fake-looking. There are a few ‘jump’ scenes, but even my most timid child just jumped a tiny bit then moved right on.
So is the new Jumanji safe for kids? I think it really depends – overall, please just keep in mind your OWN child, their level of maturity or scare-ability, and make the best choice for your own family. Overall, I’m okay that I took my kids to see this film – but to be perfectly honest, if I’d known the amount of swearing, I probably wouldn’t have just yet.
For older kids and adults – Jumani is HILARIOUS, and I love how they tie it in to the original one through a few hints. I loved it – especially since my hubby was laughing WAY out loud the whole time! This will be a definite DVD purchase for us when it comes out, and I recommend those mature enough to go see it on the big screen!