RT Podcast

"Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong" About... Jumanji (1995)

We look back at the nostalgic original 1995 fantasy powered by dazzling effects and a family-friendly Robin Williams.

by | April 28, 2022 | Comments

Robin Williams in Jumanji (1995)

(Photo by ©Columbia Pictures)

In terms of family-friendly Robin Williams movies that fans are surprised to discover are Rotten on the Tomatometer, 1995’s Jumanji is probably only second most-shocking behind 1991’s Hook. For a lot of folks, both are childhood favorites that came at a particularly iconic stretch in Williams’ career that also included Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. But we’ll save Hook for another day.


Listen Now: Spotify | Apple Podcasts | StitcherTuneIn | Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19


Based on the picture book of the same name, Jumanji eventually spawned a spiritual sequel (also based on a book) called Zathura in 2005 and a pair of true sequels — or a soft reboot and its sequel, if you prefer — in 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and 2019’s Jumanji: The Next Level. The latter two in particular were big holiday hits that grossed over a billion and a half dollars at the box office, and while it’s true that they benefited from the star power of people like Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black, the original had Bonnie Hunt, a young Kirsten Dunst, and Robin Williams arguably in his family-friendly prime. So what didn’t the critics get?

The main criticism of the film seems to stem from the notion that, while Jumanjis admittedly impressive special effects are a blast and do a great job immersing the viewer in the film’s fantasy world, they also tend to overwhelm the story and push the human characters to the side. In essence, it feels like an amusement park ride: thrilling at times, yes, but ultimately fleeting and forgettable.

Of course, “forgettable” certainly isn’t the word anyone who saw the film as a kid would use. But that’s exactly what this podcast is for, and regular host Mark Ellis’ guests this week all vehemently disagree with the Tomatometer. Steph Sabraw, Dorina Arellano, and Roxy Striar, collectively known as The Whirl Girls, have launched a new podcast called Bitch Out of Water, and they’ve got a bone to pick with the critics who saddled Jumanji with its 52% Tomatometer score.

Roxy doesn’t understand how “we as a society” got it that wrong. She doesn’t know anyone who doesn’t think Jumanji is great, and she thinks its Tomatometer should be up in the 90s. Dorina claims Jumanji is even better than a lot of family adventure movies we get nowadays, and Steph, who thinks the film is a great ride from start to finish, has some strong feelings on the topic: “This score disgusts me.” Mark isn’t quite as enthusiastic, but agrees the film deserves better, and he’ll definitely have his work cut out for him making sure his guests don’t get too heated.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”


Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.


Tag Cloud

Super Bowl First Look BBC America Action gangster Sony Pictures justice league dexter Tubi Holidays scary Exclusive Video Broadway transformers Discovery Channel 2019 green book high school APB The Purge comic books Mystery mission: impossible telelvision mockumentary cops know your critic tv talk Peacock trophy mcc Winners ESPN Heroines X-Men worst WGN 71st Emmy Awards Marvel Television Comedy Central sopranos crime thriller BET Awards Oscar Comic Book renewed TV shows Lionsgate SundanceTV 1990s 2018 Women's History Month comics Rocketman 72 Emmy Awards universal monsters Paramount Network Trophy Talk indiana jones Stephen King godzilla History scene in color breaking bad CNN disaster Ghostbusters cancelled dreamworks mutant psychological thriller game of thrones adenture versus Disney Channel Epix Paramount Pet Sematary new zealand genre El Rey Dark Horse Comics theme song Oscars dc all-time cinemax crime travel toy story PBS San Diego Comic-Con WarnerMedia E! Star Wars Awards singing competition AMC Plus medical drama Nickelodeon USA Lifetime Christmas movies saw Funimation thriller quibi RT21 Animation Image Comics Lucasfilm DGA king kong spinoff 99% award winner CMT women Tokyo Olympics Mudbound serial killer rt labs golden globe awards Grammys Netflix Christmas movies Country Adult Swim Teen Food Network teaser technology Black History Month Neflix Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spy thriller zero dark thirty cancelled television Amazon Prime RT History BBC One Spring TV scary movies Writers Guild of America romance witnail Alien parents die hard posters New York Comic Con IFC Films 21st Century Fox Holiday Best Picture period drama Showtime worst movies Hulu See It Skip It HBO Go VICE cooking Shondaland streaming GoT crossover Pirates hist black Legendary 45 a nightmare on elm street HBO Max composers young adult olympics scorecard Binge Guide Photos Thanksgiving nbcuniversal Spectrum Originals Pop TV satire blaxploitation Cosplay Disney+ Disney Plus TruTV christmas movies GIFs video on demand 4/20 Brie Larson Martial Arts Opinion movie spider-man comic book movies remakes Warner Bros. kids Apple TV+ Shudder E3 2017 harry potter Mary Poppins Returns Disney spanish language streamig Masterpiece live event Best Director Disney Plus cars Reality Competition 2015 Travel Channel The Walt Disney Company TCM Countdown Polls and Games documentaries anime TNT vampires YouTube Red Winter TV Lifetime Crackle twilight book adaptation ABC television Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dark Best Actress Columbia Pictures VH1 TCA Tarantino based on movie biography free movies Rock Television Critics Association Interview Sneak Peek Ellie Kemper animated TCA Winter 2020 Mary poppins Fall TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 Esquire directors international Turner marvel cinematic universe Netflix mob 79th Golden Globes Awards leaderboard hispanic heritage month The Academy anthology lord of the rings what to watch ABC Signature monster movies Character Guide LGBT japan Film Festival Universal NYCC TV One Avengers Summer dogs Film book Western Amazon Prime Video rt archives wonder woman Black Mirror golden globes latino 20th Century Fox screen actors guild TLC Reality war Emmy Nominations NBC Pride Month trailers Comics on TV elevated horror adventure Pixar psycho space ghosts Television Academy laika superhero debate OneApp king arthur NBA classics werewolf Logo AMC FXX Sundance Now Academy Awards jurassic park suspense razzies BET Best and Worst Amazon Spike Cannes Arrowverse Tomatazos films Best Actor Captain marvel A&E A24 LGBTQ obituary Turner Classic Movies Hollywood Foreign Press Association aapi American Society of Cinematographers Infographic stand-up comedy Set visit The Arrangement rt labs critics edition First Reviews TCA 2017 YouTube franchise Star Trek Drama comic SXSW 2022 vs. festivals canceled Amazon Studios archives Musicals comiccon diversity biopic Pacific Islander Acorn TV spain Quiz TCA Awards Disney streaming service obi wan fresh politics Apple casting popular TV Land Music jamie lee curtis Calendar IFC facebook streaming movies Horror spider-verse boxoffice 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards game show blockbusters cancelled TV series Awards Tour critics Walt Disney Pictures 2021 slasher nature Superheroe hispanic police drama Toys 90s sports Biopics discovery MTV Freeform TV TV movies Pop MGM Marathons aliens Hallmark new york OWN Hear Us Out cartoon kong rotten movies we love YouTube Premium 24 frames Bravo art house Video Games sag awards dragons 94th Oscars natural history CBS All Access social media Family japanese stoner Sundance TV halloween docudrama rotten stop motion science fiction chucky Crunchyroll Endgame Nat Geo DC streaming service Marvel Studios dramedy historical drama ABC Family Instagram Live crime drama VOD CW Seed romantic comedy canceled TV shows kaiju batman The CW italian Red Carpet new star wars movies action-comedy name the review USA Network DC Comics FX Sundance HBO football comedies south america FOX james bond series australia ViacomCBS independent Year in Review indie DC Universe President Britbox CBS foreign Trailer emmy awards SDCC dceu nfl BAFTA Watching Series Superheroes child's play Prime Video Fantasy HFPA children's TV Creative Arts Emmys spanish zombie talk show black comedy The Witch Baby Yoda comic book movie target Song of Ice and Fire hidden camera fast and furious rom-coms The Walking Dead Musical live action Rocky Comedy Fox News joker cancelled TV shows Trivia Tumblr 2020 ratings zombies cults Sci-Fi Extras Apple TV Plus robots Classic Film Starz Christmas movies Mindy Kaling concert miniseries Certified Fresh doctor who 73rd Emmy Awards legend criterion sitcom video TBS Chernobyl TV renewals festival DirecTV feel good Fargo MSNBC superman reboot PlayStation finale 2016 heist movie news boxing TIFF Hallmark Christmas movies South by Southwest Film Festival true crime docuseries Elton John Marvel IMDb TV hollywood 007 Syfy richard e. Grant cats slashers blockbuster Emmys toronto reviews MCU Tags: Comedy Ovation 93rd Oscars critic resources asian-american Valentine's Day YA strong female leads deadpool Wes Anderson basketball supernatural sequels documentary Fox Searchlight french Election Premiere Dates binge Anna Paquin PaleyFest political drama FX on Hulu pirates of the caribbean Cartoon Network Podcast royal family Universal Pictures halloween tv Kids & Family ITV Vudu prank Nominations BBC screenings Box Office marvel comics Paramount Plus best Mary Tyler Moore ID revenge Rom-Com Schedule GLAAD sequel adaptation SXSW unscripted venice National Geographic