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Zathura: A Space Adventure
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Great Family Flick

8/10
Author: sullibrandon from United States
13 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie only because I had a free ticket to it from purchasing the Jumanji special edition. I wasn't planning on seeing it at all - honestly, to me it looked kind of dumb. However I'm glad I did see it, because it was better than I expected.

The movie is basically about two brothers finding a magical board game called Zathura....it's like Jumanji only in space. At first this may sound kind of dumb (I know to me it did), but the storyline is actually quite captivating. Both child actors pull of their role as brothers quite well....having a younger brother myself I found I could identify with much of the sibling rivalry shown in the movie. Of course, they are both kids, and as such, they are not too spectacular of actors, but for their age and the role they play, they are actually quite good. This is the main reason that this movie is good - the relationship between these two brothers. Without that the movie would have failed miserably.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the special effects, which were very spectacular. Several times I was actually afraid that the kids would not make it through the adventure in one piece. The aliens in the movie were very well done, too - very creepy but not too creepy for the young ones who might want to go see this movie.

Now for some faults in the movie. Several times it seemed like their lines or the situations they were in bordered on cheesiness. However, considering the material they are dealing they manage to avoid most cheese quite well. I also thought the movie dragged on a bit too much sometimes - I wanted to yell at them, "Play the game!!" so they could just finish the game and be out of the dangerous situation. But they had ten to fifteen minute intervals where it was just expounding on the dangerousness of their situation or a refusal by one of the kids (mainly the younger one) to continue playing.

All in all Zathura is a great family flick, and though it may seem a little immature for adults at times, on the whole it can be a very satisfying (and thrilling) experience.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Everyone's a winner, baby, that's the truth.

8/10
Author: Victor Field from London, England
18 January 2006

As far as movies based on Chris Van Alsburg books go, "Zathura: A Space Adventure" is superior to both "Jumanji" and "The Polar Express." (Which means it'll probably make less money than either.) Jon Favreau may not rank with Robert Zemeckis, but he certainly kicks Joe Johnston's butt.

The plot may well be "Jumanji In Space," but whereas the previous movie was little more than an extended look at the various ways to destroy a house (and those overly cartoonish monkeys didn't help), this one has more of a plot to go with the shenanigans - the relationship between our young protagonists (played without going for easy sentiment by Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo) has as much screen time as the work from Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stan Winston, and rightly so; it's also great to see a family movie about divorced parents where it's accepted as a fact of life and no attempts to reconcile mum and dad are made - mum never even appears here.

Screenwriters David Koepp and John Kamps also deserve credit for adapting a (reportedly) slim book in a manner that never seems bloated, the way "The Polar Express" did; few characters (apart from the two boys and their father, the only other people in the movie are their sister (Kristen Stewart) and an astronaut they pick up after one turn (Dax Shepard)... who, it must be said, is part of one of the movie's few questionable plot points. Since this isn't a "This comment may contain spoilers" review I can't really elaborate, but you'll probably understand what I mean if you see the movie.

"Zathura: A Space Adventure" doesn't stretch the limits of film-making, and I could do without the Paul Simon song at the end, but it - like the under-appreciated "Sky High" - shows it is possible to make effects-filled comedies that genuinely do work for the whole family, with some amusingly edgy dialogue ("We never should've rented 'Thirteen'!") and a built-in spin off premise for the cartoon that would surely have resulted had this been a bigger hit at the North American box office (two kids caught in a game and having to finish it to get back home). Ironically, it would probably not have been as good as the movie... the way the "Jumanji" cartoon is far superior to the source.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Jumanji, Shmoomaji (Zathura Review)

7/10
Author: (dhartnell@earthlink.net) from United States
8 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am ready to put an end to all the haters out there. Zathura is not a remake of the classic film Jumanji. I will say there are notable similarities between the two films, but besides the fact that both revolve around board games that affect reality, there isn't much else. Zathura was a wonderful film and everyone who doesn't like it because they think it is a copy of Jumaji should give it a second chance.

I have to say that I am an Oakland Athletics fan and the constant replay of Octavio Dotel giving up walk off home runs to Red Sox hitters didn't start me off on the right foot. But the performances by the two youth boys, played by Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson, drew me into the movie. It really seemed like these were real brothers fighting over similar things my brother and I fight about. Also the mix between serious scenes and comedic relief were very well integrated. Whenever I was in need of a laugh, Danny (Bobo) was there to deliver. Whenever I wanted some action and adventure on my plate, the astronaut (Dax Shepard) was there with some kick ass moves and clever ideas.

The visuals in this film were incredible. From the house zipping through the galaxy to the tiniest details of the board game, the movie looked in every way like a real house in outer space.

I would highly recommend this film to children and adults alike. Though I think the children would enjoy it more. This is a fantastic family movie and is worth the nine dollars. Make a stop to see Zathura your next night out and you won't be disappointed.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Rollicking Family Entertainment

9/10
Author: noralee from Queens, NY
21 November 2005

"Zathura" is rollicking family entertainment. I haven't read, either by myself or to my kids, any books by Chris Van Allsburg or seen other adaptations of his work, so I came with an open mind and laughed heartily at the humor and got caught up in the adventure.

The opening set up is near pitch perfect in capturing family interactions. It's nice to see Tim Robbins get to play closer to his self than usual as a gray-haired dad. Though the discussion about the impact of divorce is a bit heavy-handed, it's still believable. As the mother of sons who fought up to junior high I can testify that the brother battles are impeccably portrayed, both in the dialog by writers David Koepp and John Kamps and as easily and naturally enlivened by Jonah Bobo (kid brother "Danny") and Josh Hutcherson (older brother "Walter"), who was also wonderful in "Little Manhattan." This naturalism turned out to be important for the key element of the theme and plot that I hadn't anticipated as it continued to avoid mawkishness.

The set-up to the game-playing is very well-done. I like that the game is old and beat-up and each card is worn with age. Up until the theme kicks in, I was thoroughly enjoying the film as a sci fi take on "The Cat in the Hat." Jon Favreau segues marvelously from the daily reality to well-integrated special effects and keeps excellent pacing balance between family relationships and the action. There's only a brief shot here and there where it's obvious that blue-screen acting reactions are going on. The trailer managed not to give away all the visual and plot twists.

Half way through the game, Dax Shepard shows up as the Astronaut and he's an entertaining cross between Harrison Ford and Zach Braff. His blend of seriousness and charm adds to the credibility of the continuing story.

The teen sister's portrayal is a bit thin script-wise, but she doesn't have a lot to do, except for a frisson of an amusing "Star Wars"-referenced plot point. At least she's not just a damsel in distress. There are affectionate tributes to other sci fi icons as well, such as an "E.T."-like bicycle floating around and a robot very like the one in "Lost in Space," and some silly jokes like planet Tsouris-3, but those are consistent with the old-fashionedness of the board game.

For once, John Debney's busy and non-stop music fits the action.

The film does not pander to children and enthrallingly keeps adult attention in its twists and resolution, and it is as much a warm-hearted comedy as well as a jolly good tale. Too bad I probably won't be able to get my now 20something sons, who are now good friends, to see it as they would appreciate the movie's lesson.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Jumanji in space

8/10
Author: hmckiel from Canada
18 November 2005

I liked this movie. I admit, I thought it would be pretty bad, with the bad writing, average acting, and the fact that it totally rips-off Jumanji, but it was still fun.

Basically, these two young brothers who don't like each other much play this board game that shoots them off into space where they must play the game to the end while enduring the countless challenges it throws at them.

It's not very dependant on CGI, either. I was pleased to see that. The Brothers Grim was almost ruined by it's depandancy on CGI, among other problems. Zathura didn't suffer this fate. It uses practical effects for the occasional monster that pops up. This made me happy.

Overall, Zathura was fun. Go see it soon. I'm serious.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Really good movie

8/10
Author: nagemgrl17 from United States
18 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is great i just saw it tonight and i would definitely see it again if i got the chance i found it exciting and funny all in one it keeps you on the edge of your seat yelling at the screen and repeating the funny comments in the movie "Walter" has funny comments "Danny" is adorable and "Lisa" kept the teenage look at the situations in there everything didn't end up like i thought it would though funny and unexpected twists make it very interesting

MUST SEE WITH FRIENDS wouldn't be half as good without them my guess is its better in theaters then it will be on the TV

definitely has some words i wouldn't use around young kids but it was still good and the brother make up in the end of course cause there has to be a happy ending!!!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Favreau's Shame

1/10
Author: Farid_Hijab_Nadweed from Lapjat
21 September 2013

Jon Favreau is a genius. One of the greatest film makers of all time and his finest achievement, 'Elf' is perhaps my all-time favourite film.

Having said that; 'Zathura: A Space Adventure' is garbage.

Quite what he was thinking; I'm really not sure. The often hilarious comedic moments from his other works are completely missing. Instead they are replaced with a level of humour so foolish and out of date you would struggle to find comparable examples even on the worst USA TV shows these days.

I wanted to like 'Zathura: A Space Adventure' I love Jon Favreau's other films and I enjoy watching him on TV but about two thirds of the way through this sloppy mess I completely lost interest; only hanging on until the end because it was in fact a Jon Favreau (Elf) film.

It really is a great shame that Jon Favreau (Elf) has this rotten dog waste situated in the middle of an otherwise fantastic record of quality film making. It amuses me to read people making excuses for the film when it is clear that if any other director of the caliber of Jon Favreau (Elf) had made this film, it would be met with universal disdain and bewildering disbelief.

Thankfully, 'Zathura: A Space Adventure' is just an unfortunate blip on a resumé filled with great moments.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Zathura....it means "clone alert!" in Zorgonese.

5/10
Author: Rob_Taylor
27 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK. So let me get this straight. Zathura and Jumanji were penned by the same author, right? So naturally, one could assume similar style and content. Fair enough. But good God! This is almost a clone of Jumanji! What did the author do? Just cross out the word "Jumanji" at the top of the old manuscript, write "Zathura" in its place and re-submit it? Seriously, if you've seen Jumanji, you've seen Zathura. And trust me, without Robin Williams to liven it up, Zathura is simply an exercise in CGI, with added screaming kids for good measure.

The similarities are just glaringly obvious. Talk about a cash-cow bandwagon! Even what happens in the two game's are almost (allowing for the change of venue) the same.

Jumanji has a natural disaster (earthquake). Zathura has a natural disaster (meteor shower).

Jumanji has a character that emerges from the game (hunter). Zathura has a character that emerges from the game (astronaut).

Jumanji incapacitates a character (spider-bite). Zathura incapacitates a character (cryogenically frozen).

Jumanji has a menacing monster (the lion). Zathura has a menacing monster (the robot).

I was too stunned by the blatant similarity to notice if they occurred in the same order in the two movies, but Great Scot! Have they no shame? Take my advice, watch Jumanji and do not give this blatant clone a single penny of your money. I hope the author is proud of this. To have gotten away with such a scam is beyond words.

For God's sake, Scotty! Beam me up!

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Excellent!

10/10
Author: sarah_91 from Canada
5 December 2005

Wow, where do I begin?? Great acting, great graphics...great plot! The kids in Zathura are very true to today's standards. I recommend this movie to everyone who wants to see a family film filled with action, to remember for a very long time. Go see Zathura! It isn't exactly a "kid's" movie, as it may seem like one; it's a family movie for all ages. An Excellent choice; I'm glad I went to the theater and saw it. 10/10 with two thumbs way up!

To those who think it's a takeoff of "Jumanji", well you might change your mind after seeing "Zathura". Sure, there may be some similarities (the board game theme), but the actual plot is original.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A great family flick

9/10
Author: dianawannabe1129 from United States
15 November 2005

I saw this movie on Sunday. I thought it was so much better than Jumanji. Jumanji was cool, but this was way cooler. I'm almost 16, and I have a younger sister, but she would be scared to death. Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo make great leads as Walter and Danny. Kristen Stewart handles the role of Lisa well. They did change some things out of the book (for example, the character of Lisa wasn't in the book, but she was in the movie), but that's okay. The movie was still awesome. I give this movie a nine out of ten, for the great acting, great special effects, and happy ending, but it was a tad predictable. There were a few surprises, but you could predict what was going to happen from those surprises. Take a kid 10 or older to Zathura, and enjoy the ride!

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