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Jumanji: The Animated Series
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jumanji: The Animated Series is based on the 1995 movie starring Robin Williams. Its animated format takes the edge off the scares somewhat, but the beasts are still pretty fearsome, and one gun-toting character boasts about killing and mounting them while taking aim at everything -- and everyone -- in sight. The animals often fight with each other and make attempts on the humans' lives, although injuries aren't usually shown. There are some positive takeaways for kids in Peter and Judy's experiences with dishonesty, cheating, breaking rules, and other such behavior, as each instance holds a good lesson in why it's important to choose the right path, even when it's not the easiest one.
What's the story?
JUMANJI: THE ANIMATED SERIES opens as siblings Judy (voiced by Debi Derryberry) and Peter (Ashley Johnson) begin to play a mysterious board game they uncover in their attic. With the roll of dice, they're transported to a jungle world called Jumanji, where wild beasts roam and a variety of dangers face them. There they meet a wilderness man named Alan (Bill Fagerbakke), who's been stuck in the jungle for more than 20 years after playing the game as a boy. Using a clue the game delivered just before it sent them on their way, Peter and Judy must solve a puzzle to earn their way back home. Once there, though, they roll the dice again and return to help Alan escape the game.
Is it any good?
What started as an award-winning children's book evolved into a live-action movie and culminated in this animated series, which proves to be the best of both worlds for adventure-seeking kids. The story loosely follows that of the movie, with some tweaks in plot and characters, and the same kinds of thrills exist in this cartoon as did on the big screen. Because of its animated format, though, the scares aren't quite so scary and the element of fantasy is that much stronger, which makes it better suited for a slightly younger crowd.
Also nicely matched to kids' needs are the show's strong reminders about the consequences of negative behavior such as dishonesty and cheating. The challenges they face often tempt Peter and Judy to take some kind of moral shortcut, but doing so always winds up making things more difficult. As they acknowledge their mistakes, kids are reminded that these rules hold true both in real life and even in parallel worlds such as Jumanji.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the lessons Peter and Judy learn through their adventures in Jumanji. What does the game do when they try to cheat? Do you find that consequences always follow poor behavior choices?
Was this show scary to you? If you've seen the movie as well, how did it compare in its thrills? What types of frightful content bothers you the most in a movie or TV show?
Kids: Do you have a favorite game you'd like to see come to life? Where would it take you? What would you be challenged to do there?
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