25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch

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25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Columbia Pictures/YouTube

“Jumanji” is a family adventure movie about a board game where its hazards come to life whenever someone plays it. Starring Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, and Bonnie Hunt, the classic ’90s movie was a big hit that eventually spawned its own franchise. The most recent entries in the series were two Dwayne Johnson-starring sequels, 2017’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and 2019’s “Jumanji: The Next Level.”

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In addition, there are several other movies like “Jumanji” out there to watch. Many of these films are family-friendly fantasy adventures that transport viewers to fantastical worlds where the main heroes must defeat a great evil, or maybe just learn more about themselves while facing great odds. Here is a rundown of 25 films that are very similar to “Jumanji,” featuring what they’re all about and how they can bring the same level of enjoyment as the 1995 film.

Zathura: A Space Adventure

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Columbia Pictures/YouTube

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“Jumanji” was originally based on a children’s book by author Chris Van Allsburg. That book was followed up by a sequel, “Zathura,” which has a similar premise to “Jumanji” but instead revolves around a space-themed board game that two bickering brothers end up playing that transports their house into an outer space filled with aliens and other dangers. The book was adapted into a 2005 film starring a young Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo, as well as Kristen Stewart and Dax Shepard. It was directed by “The Mandalorian” creator and “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau.

While the film isn’t a direct sequel to the “Jumanji” movie, “Zathura: A Space Adventure” takes the basic premise of the book and expands upon it, delivering a sci-fi spectacle perfectly suitable for younger viewers without sacrificing any action. Favreau’s direction is typically great, but the performances of the young cast help elevate the material.

Ready Player One

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25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Warner Bros./YouTube

One of the things that made the recent “Jumanji” sequels such a big hit was how they updated the source material for a modern audience. Rather than center the film around a board game, “Welcome to the Jungle” transformed Jumanji into a video game. While not exactly the same as “Welcome to the Jungle,” Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” also has a video game element to it. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, this film follows a young man who sets out to win a massive prize within a virtual world called the OASIS.

While the ensemble cast is great, featuring Tye Sheridan and Ben Mendelsohn, the visuals are the true star of the film. In addition to several strong action sequences, “Ready Player One” is filled with pop culture references to classic films and video games that younger and older viewers will enjoy, especially when these references are cleverly used within the plot.

Jurassic Park

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Universal Pictures/YouTube

“Ready Player One” never misses a beat when it comes to reverence for famous movies. In fact, Spielberg even manages to sneak in references to his own films. These callbacks make sense considering many of Spielberg’s earlier works are some of the best examples of the adventure genre, especially the iconic dinosaur flick “Jurassic Park.” Even though the film was released all the way back in 1993, our first trip to Isla Nublar still holds up to this day.

From the shot of Dr. Alan Grant witnessing the field of dinosaurs for the first time to the “must go faster” chase scene with Jeff Goldblum, “Jurassic Park” is filled with so many thrilling moments that you could make your own list simply off of the series alone. Even after several other sequels and spin-offs, including another “Jurassic World” sequel coming later in 2022, there’s still nothing else quite like the original.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

A sequel to “Ready Player One” is in the works based on the sequel novel “Ready Player Two.” Sadly, the same wasn’t possible for 2008’s “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” an adaptation of the fantasy novel series of the same name. That’s a real shame, because the story of the Grace siblings battling magical creatures in the woods surrounding their new home after their family moves them to an abandoned estate is still a very good film on its own. The story will get another adaptation in the form of a Disney+ television series, but the film is still worth a look.

The visual effects that bring to life goblins and fairies, voiced by the likes of Ron Pearlman and Seth Rogen, are beautiful. But the real draw is the performance of a young Freddie Highmore, who plays the dual role of twins Jared and Simon. Whether he’s playing the sweet little Simon or the much more intense Jared, Highmore is the highlight of the film.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Another children’s book adaptation that failed to get a sequel was “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” based on the novel series of the same name by Daniel Handler (written under the pen name Lemony Snicket, a character within the books). An adaptation of the first three books, the film saw Jim Carrey play the sinister Count Olaf as he schemes to steal the inheritance of the Baudelaire orphans. Meanwhile, the siblings set out to discover the mystery of their parents’ deaths.

There are a lot of things to admire about the film, but the absurd characters and surreal story of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” are what truly make this quirky adventure worth watching. It’s made even better by Jim Carrey’s performance. Although a sequel to the film never happened, the series did get a full adaptation in the form of a Netflix television series, with Neil Patrick Harris taking over as Olaf.

Night at the Museum

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
20th Century Fox/YouTube

One children’s book adaptation that was very successful was the “Night at the Museum” series, and while they might not be on the same level of quality as the previously mentioned films, that doesn’t make them any less fun. There are three films in the series, and each one follows Ben Stiller’s Larry as he goes on various adventures with museum exhibits that come to life at night.

All of the films have their merits, but the first film truly is the easiest to recommend mostly for the absurdity of watching Larry encounter the live exhibits for the first time. Some of the highlights include the train scene featuring Jedediah, Larry’s interactions with Dexter the monkey, and the late Robin Williams’ portrayal of Teddy Roosevelt (the third film in the series, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb,” was one of Williams’ last films).

Bridge to Terabithia

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Another children’s book adaptation starring a young Josh Hutcherson, “Bridge to Terabithia” is based on the novel by Katherine Paterson. This time, Hutcherson stars alongside a young AnnaSophia Robb as two neighbors who become friends after they create their own fantasy world called Terabithia together in order to escape the hardships they face in their real lives. Unlike “Zathura: A Space Adventure,” which was a science fiction spectacle, “Bridge to Terabithia” is a tragic story about friendship and loss that blends fantasy elements with real-life problems.

The heavy subject matter, particularly the sad ending, offers a much different intensity than the thrills of a board game come to life. The visual effects when the kids enter the world of Terabithia are still great to look at, but the chemistry between Hutcherson’s character Jess and Robb’s character Leslie is what really carries the film to special heights.

Hugo

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

When you normally think of family adventure films, director Martin Scorsese probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind. After all, he is best known for his gangster dramas like “The Departed” and “Goodfellas.” But in 2011, the Academy Award-winning director gave audiences one of his most underappreciated films: “Hugo.” Based on the novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, the film follows a young boy who lives in a train station and must solve the mystery of an automaton left by his late father.

Despite not making waves at the box office, “Hugo” was a massive hit with critics and won five out of its 11 Academy Award nominations. Both the visual effects and the cinematography are standouts for the film, but the story also does a great job of paying homage to classic cinema by centering much of its mystery around filmmaker George Méliès.

Where the Wild Things Are

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Warner Bros./YouTube

The 2009 film “Where The Wild Things Are” has a similar history to that of “Hugo.” Both are children’s films made by a director, in this case Spike Jonze, who isn’t well known for making films for families. Both received critical acclaim for their themes and visuals, but neither was able to make a lot of money at the box office. Adapted from the Maurice Sendak book of the same name, “Where the Wild Things Are” follows a boy named Max as he runs away from home and becomes king of an island filled with monsters.

At the time, the dark themes and designs of the monsters drew criticism for how they would be perceived by younger audiences, but looking at the film now, all of these elements make “Where the Wild Things Are” one of the most uniquely satisfying children’s films to watch.

National Treasure

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Before Marvel, Star Wars, and live-action remakes took over the Disney brand, and way before the buyout of 20th Century Fox, Disney’s live-action films were a unique bunch. One of their most unique was “National Treasure,” an action film starring Nicolas Cage as a treasure hunter who plans to steal the Declaration of Independence in order to find a fabled lost treasure that the Founding Fathers hid hundreds of years ago.

It’s about as strange as it sounds, especially for a Nicolas Cage film, but both the film and Cage’s commitment to its absurd premise make everything watchable. For an action movie geared towards families, there are a surprising amount of decent action scenes sprinkled throughout the film. If you’re a fan of this film, then you should try the sequel, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” Even better, a Disney+ television series was announced back in 2021.

The Jungle Book (2016)

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Nowadays, most of Disney’s live-action films are remakes or updates of their large portfolio of animated works from the Disney Renaissance era. Many of these films are of varying quality, but one of the best remakes to come from Disney was 2016’s “The Jungle Book.” Another film directed by Jon Favreau, this remake retells the classic story but updates the narrative with photorealistic CGI versions of the talking animals that help guide the young boy Mowgli on his quest to defeat the fearsome tiger Shere Khan.

It’s truly hard to judge which version of “The Jungle Book” is better. The original’s classic animation style and songs are still great to watch today, but the remake’s landmark visuals shouldn’t be missed. This indecision is surely a testament to how well-made the remake really is. Mowgli’s adventure is still satisfying to watch after all these years.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

One live-action franchise that came to define the Disney brand in the early 2000s was the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. Gifting audiences with the iconic Jack Sparrow and resurrecting the pirate genre, it’s easy to forget how much of a big deal the original film was when it was released back in 2003.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” not only introduces audiences to Sparrow but also to Orlando Bloom’s Will Turner and Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann as the three face off against Geoffery Rush’s Barbossa and his crew of pirates, who turn into undead skeletons at night. The swashbuckling action and the traditional Disney magic are the main attraction, but people really stay to watch the three stars (and particularly Depp’s Keith Richards-inspired performance). Even after so many sequels, the first entry is still the best.

Tron: Legacy

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

In 1982, Disney released “Tron,” a science fiction film about a programmer who is transported into a computer system and must find a way to escape. “Tron” starred Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner and featured revolutionary visuals for its time. It wasn’t until 2010 that a sequel would finally come out. “Tron: Legacy” follows a similar premise to the original, with the son of Jeff Bridges’ character getting launched into another computer program and needing to both escape and rescue his father.

Unlike most of the aforementioned films, “Tron: Legacy” wasn’t very well received by critics. In fact, reactions to the sequel were about the same as its predecessor: the breathtaking visuals weren’t enough to make up for the poor narrative. Despite these criticisms, “Tron: Legacy” is still worth a watch for its visuals alone, not to mention its action sequences and the amazing soundtrack by Daft Punk.

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Much like their live-action fare, the animated offerings from Disney back in the early 2000s were full of films that stood out compared to Disney’s present. In 2001, Disney released “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” an animated fantasy film about a group of explorers who set out to find the fabled city when a young linguist discovers a journal that could hold a map to the city itself. As eye-catching as the animate visuals are, especially when compared to other 2-D animated films released at the time, critics weren’t very fond of the film back then. Audiences weren’t either, as the film didn’t do well at the box office.

Still, fans of classic Disney animation will find a lot to love about this film, as well as fans of fantasy adventure in general. If this film suits your fancy, then there’s the direct-to-video “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” to satisfy those hungry for more.

Treasure Planet

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

By the early 2000s, it was clear that hand-drawn animation wasn’t as profitable as it once was. “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” was the first film to indicate that the style was dying out for Disney, and 2002’s “Treasure Planet” was another bad sign, though it was not the final nail in the coffin (the last traditionally animated feature released by Disney was 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh,” but there weren’t many others released in between).

An adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island” story, this film adds a science fiction element to the story to freshen things up. This leads to some seriously impressive visuals for an animated film while also keeping in the spirit of the classic story. There may never be a true follow-up to “Treasure Planet,” but the original film is definitely enough to satisfy both the adventure and the science fiction itch younger viewers might have.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Dreamworks/YouTube

Waning interest in hand-drawn animation wasn’t just plaguing Disney. DreamWorks animation also suffered financial losses when their traditional animated features failed to break even. One of their biggest losses, at around $125 million, came from 2003’s “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.” This loose retelling of the story of Sinbad as he sets out on a quest to save his best friend and defeat an evil goddess was the last traditionally animated film that DreamWorks released (there were only three other films of that style before “Sinbad”) before switching to computer animation.

“Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” does have its own issues outside of its financial problems. The story does take a while to get going, and the whitewashing of the character’s Arabic roots isn’t pretty. Still, there are a handful of exciting moments within the film, as well as some gorgeous animation that’s worth a look.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Warner Bros./YouTube

In 2008, another adaptation of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” was released. Starring Brendan Fraser and John Hutcherson, this film — about a rescue mission that turns into an adventure deep within our planet — was notable for being a 3D adventure around the time the medium was becoming the standard for big-budget films. Four years later, the sequel “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” was released. It features the same amount of 3D spectacle but transports the adventure to a mythical island.

Fraser doesn’t return for the sequel, instead being replaced by Dwayne Johnson. Like Nicholas Cage, Dwayne Johnson’s action films feel like a genre of their own. The thrill of watching The Rock outrun giant CGI lizards and riding giant insects fits right into his “turn your brain off and enjoy the spectacle” brand of big-budget action movies.

Inkheart

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Warner Bros./YouTube

The same year that Brendan Fraser went on an epic adventure in “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” he was the lead in an adaptation of the fantasy novel “Inkheart.” This film follows a young girl who discovers that her father can bring literary characters to life, and the two must use his ability to bring back a family member that became trapped in one of their books. Alas, “Inkheart” felt like yet another film that was supposed to be the first installment of a young-adult franchise, but just wasn’t able to do it.

The film may not be a winner, especially where critics and box office receipts are concerned, but there’s still plenty to admire about the movie. Fraser’s portrayal of the “Silvertongue” reader Mo is great, but Andy Serkis’ turn as the sinister literary character Capricorn is definitely one of the reasons to watch.

Race to Witch Mountain

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

One of the earliest examples of Dwayne Johnson’s ability to elevate even the silliest of family action movies, as well as another relic of Disney’s unique 2000s live-action offerings, is 2009’s “Race to Witch Mountain.” A remake of the 1975 film “Escape to Witch Mountain,” this update follows a cab driver escorting two alien teenagers back to their ship while evading both the United States government and an alien assassin.

Johnson’s star power helps give the film a great leading anchor, but AnnaSophia Robb and Alexander Ludwig’s alien siblings are the real stars of the show, delivering in every action sequence the film has. It may not be the best family action film out there — critics certainly weren’t crazy about it — but “Race to Witch Mountain” offers just the right amount of science fiction thrills and Johnson-style charm to suit a family audience.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Disney has had a hand in adapting some of the best children’s series into successful films. Back in 2005, Disney brought C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” series to the big screen with the adaptation of its most popular book “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.” The story of the Pevensie children’s adventures in the magical land of Narnia, and their subsequent battle against the White Witch, are made even better by some impressive action sequences and special effects used to bring the lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) to life.

Only three of the seven books in the series became films, with 2008’s “Prince Caspian” and 2010’s “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” following soon after. Even if you are unfamiliar with the series, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is a great fantasy film both as a franchise starter and a standalone epic.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Coming out almost a decade after the last “Narnia” book was “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, which was adapted to film twice. Both 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” have many good things going for them, but the first film definitely wins out based on nostalgia and Gene Wilder (Dahl apparently didn’t like the film. It’s unclear if he would have much liked Tim Burton’s take, either, as he wasn’t around to offer his opinion).

The journey into the fantastical candy factory of eccentric owner Willy Wonka with Charlie Bucket and the rest of the Golden Ticket winners is a spectacle that still holds up today. Some standout sequences include Charlie’s adventures in the Bubble Room and the strange boat ride of terror, but every scene is made even better by Wilder’s wry, iconic performance as Willy Wonka.

James and the Giant Peach

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Walt Disney Pictures/YouTube

Another Roald Dahl book that became a beloved children’s classic was “James and the Giant Peach,” an equally fantastical adventure about a young boy who goes on a journey with talking bugs after a magic crystal creates a giant peach that James uses to escape his abusive aunts. What makes this film stand out compared to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” is its use of stop-motion animation once James’ adventure truly begins.

This technique helps bring James’ adventure to life in beautiful and at times even unsettling ways. The battle between James and a giant flying rhinoceros and the peach trying to escape the clutches of a mechanical shark are some of the standouts. Although the animated bugs are the main stars of the film, credit should be given to James’ aunts, Sponge and Spiker, for being a pair of truly terrifying villains.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Dimension Films/YouTube

The original “Spy Kids” trilogy focused solely on Carmen and Juni Cortez, siblings who discover that their parents are secret agents and decide to become members of a secret spy organization. The first film introduced audiences to the characters. While that first entry does have its merits, the sequel is where things truly get wild and crazy for the franchise.

In “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams,” Carmen and Juni travel to a mysterious island filled with dangerous mutated animals as they fight against a pair of rival kid agents. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the film features his signature blend of chaotic action and gross-out humor that would come to define the franchise. In addition to its young actors, the ensemble adult cast of Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Danny Trejo, Bill Paxton, and Steve Buscemi is another highlight of the film.

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Dimension Films/YouTube

Though not an official entry in the “Spy Kids” franchise, “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl” shares a lot of similarities with the former series. More specifically, the visuals are very similar to that of “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.” Whereas that “Spy Kids” entry saw the Cortez kids entering a video game world, “Sharkboy and Lavagirl” saw the dreams of a boy named Max come to life as two superhero characters he imagined become real and take him to another planet to help save it from an evil madman.

Since the film was originally shown in 3D, much of the visuals lose their weight when watched on an average television. Still, fans of the “Spy Kids” brand will find a lot to enjoy about this film. At the very least, you could get some enjoyment out of seeing a young Taylor Lautner as Sharkboy and George Lopez playing the main villain, Mr. Electric.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

25 Movies Like Jumanji You Need To Watch
Warner Bros./YouTube

Each entry in the “Harry Potter” series can be treated like a separate adventure. Everyone has their opinion on which installment is the best, and most critics would argue that it’s the final installment, but the third entry is definitely up there. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” may not feature Harry facing off against Voldemort, but he does have to deal with the arrival of escaped convict Sirius Black and a slew of vicious monsters known as Dementors.

After two fairly lighthearted entries, “Prisoner of Azkaban” is the installment that helps the franchise mature a little bit without sacrificing the magical elements of the first two films. It’s also the entry that features some of the franchise’s greatest moments, from Harry’s ultimate confrontation with Black to Harry and his best friend Hermione traveling back in time and Potter successfully using the Patronus charm to fight off a wave of Dementors. 

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Diablo Entertainment/YouTube “Sleight” was a very unconventional superhero film that fans hadn’t really seen before, especially when most moviegoers were focused on “Captain America: Civil War,” “Doctor Strange,” “Batman v. ... Read more »

The Color Purple Movie Musical Lands Stars From American Idol And Peacemaker

Warner Bros. First published in 1982, Alice Walker’s beloved novel “The Color Purple” tells the harrowing tale of a young Black woman coming of age in the segregated American South ... Read more »

Rocky Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

S. Bukley/Shutterstock Conceptualized from then-struggling actor Sylvester Stallone, the “Rocky” franchise – featuring the iconic underdog boxer Rocky Balboa – grew to become one of the biggest and most well-known franchises of all ... Read more »

How Disney Almost Destroyed The Toy Story Franchise

Disney/Pixar The House of Mouse has made some wild decisions over the years. Still, easily one of the boldest was taking the company into the era of computer-generated imagery, working ... Read more »

Moonfall Review: Bad Moon Rising

Lionsgate Disaster picture auteur Roland Emmerich recently became the latest in a long line of filmmakers talking smack about the proliferation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while promoting a new ... Read more »

The Ending Of Moonfall Explained

Lionsgate More than any of the other disaster pictures in director Roland Emmerich’s oeuvre, “Moonfall” is a film whose marketing centers around a mystery. Sure, audiences can expect plenty of ... Read more »

It's Time To Talk About That Surprise Mid-Credits Cameo In Jackass Forever

Joe Seer/Shutterstock This week the self-destructive, groin-punching boys are back in town with the arrival of “Jackass Forever.” Bees, bears, and balls are dropped on Johnny Knoxville and his team ... Read more »

The Best And Worst Things In Jackass Forever

Dooley Productions/Shutterstock Contains spoilers for “Jackass Forever” After 20 years throwing themselves off ramps, getting punched in the nuts, or torturing each other with tasers and snapping turtles, Johnny Knoxville ... Read more »

The Last Movie Bernie Mac Was In Before He Died

Tinseltown/Shutterstock On August 9, 2008, loved ones, fans and most of Hollywood mourned the untimely loss of comedic legend Bernie Mac, who passed away at the age of 50 due ... Read more »

The Three Huge Marvel MCU Stars You Likely Forgot Starred On Seinfeld

NBC/YouTube Comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld’s self-titled 1990s sitcom “Seinfeld” is one of the most well-known television shows of all time. It had a nine-season run, first airing back in 1989 ... Read more »