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Zathura: A Space Adventure
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Zathura: A Space Adventure More at IMDbPro »

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18 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

thinly disguised lesson in brotherly love

Author: juliemedina from United States
10 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After a long day of listening to my boys fighting, I decided we all needed to get out of the house and see a movie. I corralled my husband, my daughter and both of my sons into the car. I painstakingly made sure that my daughter sat between the two boys so that they could not kill each other on the drive to the theater. Sure enough, the drive consisted of them reaching across their sister's lap to pinch and poke each other. By the time we reached the theater, all I could think about was how great it was going to be to quietly watch a movie for two hours…

Little did I know that Zathura is a thinly disguised lesson in brotherly love. Throughout the first half to two-thirds of the movie, the audience is subjected to fight after fight between the two brothers, Danny (played by Jonah Bobo) and Walter (played by Josh Hutcherson). The resemblance to my two sons is uncanny. I believe I even heard the same words and pitch on the screen that I had been subjected to earlier in the day—this was certainly not the relaxing experience I had hoped for when deciding to go to a movie. By the end of the movie, the brothers learn that in order to survive and return home, they must learn to work together. The final scene shows the brothers playing ball together and acting like best friends—yeah right.

Zathura, directed by Jon Favreau, is almost an exact replication of Jumanji, released in 1995. The only difference is the age and gender of the participants and the location of the adventure. In Zathura, Danny and Walter decide to play a board game that Danny finds hidden under the stairs. When Danny hits the button to begin the game, meteors bombard the living room, the house breaks away from earth and floats through space. If I hadn't seen Jumanji first, this would have been a good movie. But after seeing Jumanji, this was just way too predictable.

As sappy and nauseating as the hour-and-a-half long sermon about getting along with your brother was for me to watch, it seemed to have the desired effect on my sons. As we drove home, my nine-year-old son fell asleep with his head on his older brother's lap.

My older son's response as he shrugged his shoulders for emphasis was, "He was hurting me with his head digging into my shoulder so I moved him." I might have believed that response if his hand was not protectively wrapped over his younger brothers shoulders. Even though I know that bonding will be short-lived, it is a moment that will go down in history for our family.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Not for adults

Author: jennapeterson from Canada
13 September 2016

Nice premise, some cute comedic moments, but not a movie for adults.

There's about 15-20 minutes of plot, and the rest of the screen time is the two brothers yelling at each other to take their next turn in order to advance the game (which only one brother realizes is what they need to do to resolve all the things the game throws at them).

The astronaut character is a welcome break from the 2 insufferable bickering brothers. Really wish he showed up sooner!

I've seen other reviewers praising Stewart's character as a welcome relief from the brothers, but I find she doesn't have enough screen time to do that. (Never thought I'd say that about Stewart.)

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Space junk

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
13 January 2016

ZATHURA: A SPACE ADVENTURE is nothing more than an outer space version of JUMANJI, with aliens and space stuff replacing jungle creatures. It's a film singularly devoid of imagination, despite the outlandish premise, and I can honestly said I had more fun with an ultra-low budget film like THE DAY TIME ENDED (in which a family's home is attacked by stop motion aliens) than this mega budget offering.

The director behind this fare is Jon Favreau, who makes a typically soulless production that focuses on special effects over decent scripting or performances (anyone who's seen the first two IRON MAN films will be familiar with his work). A couple of annoying kids (including the eminently hateable Josh Hutcherson) play a board game that makes their house travel into the depths of outer space, where they embark on the usual CGI augmented adventures, i.e. lots of stuff is destroyed or blown up.

Kristen Stewart (TWILIGHT) is cast as the older sister and, somewhat bizarrely, as the film's eye candy, parading around in skimpy underwear throughout, even though she would have only been 14 when this was filmed. Say what you will about the sexualisation of young actresses in Hollywood...A tired Tim Robbins takes the role of 'token Hollywood actor', but the emphasis is on the CGI throughout. Most of it isn't bad at all, but the structure of the narrative is such that the film's action is severely limited in scope and much of the running time has to rest on the shoulders of the two young actors, who just don't cut the mustard.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

You will become a child for two hours.

Author: psagray from Spain
15 September 2014

About the adage that sequels are not good. There are notable exceptions: The Godfather II, Aliens, and ... and Zathura.

It's not a sequel, it's another movie based on Jumanji, but it is not the same kids and the same game. Set in space "without leaving home" this film conveys those pleasant sensations of the 80s, like Goonies or Explorers ... emphasizes his great imagination on the challenges facing children in the definition of characters and villains and in that capacity to surprise that film has scene after scene ... there is nothing better than the living room to take a walk through the rings of Saturn, or some evil "Zorgons" decide you a visit with his ship pirate !! Jon Fravreau gives the film a vivacity and remarkable agility, with moments of relaxation when touching and emotional moments in their right moment ... We are looking at an excellent craftsman, and Iron Man. Discreet but talented.

Favreau has his talents and one of them is the pace and plastic sensibility that knows deploy and Zathura enjoy them in quantity, it is enjoyable, entertaining, spectacular, able to get away and make you work the imagination and smarter than you can give the impression that the star in two kids under 10 years ...

Zathura makes you feel a child for nearly two hours, and that compensates for the few faults that have the movie .. Your post is very childish and leaves little or nothing to chance and surprise.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Bookends Jumanji... a rare sub-genre. Brilliant

Author: A_Different_Drummer from North America
31 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Elsewhere in the database, I rated Jumanji a 10 and reviewed it. In the review I emphasized that it embodied a rare sub-genre of fantasy where the narrative overpowered all the other elements of the film and dragged the viewer, kicking and screaming, down the rabbit hole, whether he wanted to go, or not. What better way to turbo-charge the narrative, I asked, than base the movie on a kid's game with "turns" and "dice"? It was a brilliant gimmick but frankly, like the Fearless Freep character in Bugs Bunny who hi-dives into a pail of water, it seemed like it could only be done once. I was wrong. Ten years later, and just after the brilliant Elf, director Favreau (before he became a Hollywood action-movie god) does it again. This film bookends Jumanji. Jumanji was perfect; and this one is almost perfect. A few moments here and there where the attention lags, but nothing serious. Should become an enduring classic. Also, for trivia buffs, a chance to catch Kristen Stewart before her career goes supernova.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Jumanji, help!

Author: Lee Eisenberg ( from Portland, Oregon, USA
15 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, so "Zathura: A Space Adventure" is based on a book that was a sequel to "Jumanji". I've read "Jumanji" but not the sequel. Anyone who's read "Jumanji" knows that the part about Robin Williams's character was not in the book; had the movie followed the book exactly, it would've only been a few minutes long.

So about this movie. Like the former movie, it depicts a board game that brings about danger every time that someone takes a turn. More accurately, the movie seems like a retread of the former movie. One can see a correlation between some of the characters in each movie. But that's where the similarity ends. You see, "Jumanji" is a fun movie no matter what age you are, while "Zathura" is aimed at elementary-age children. I wish that they'd looked at where the game originally came from, as "Jumanji" did.

In conclusion, this movie is only worth seeing for the early appearances of Kristen Stewart and Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark in the "Hunger Games" franchise).

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Clever, Fun, Sci-fi for the Young at Heart

Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
5 September 2008

Zathura is a different spin on Chris Van Allsburg's Jumanji story. Rather than a jungle-oriented adventure, Zathura is a wild space fantasy. It has the literary quality of a modern fable and even expresses a few nice moral points about families, patience, and responsibility.

Two little guys - Danny and Walt - are stuck home alone with their disinterested teenage sister. Walt, the younger, desperately wants Danny to play with him, but Danny thinks his younger brother is annoying and ignores him. Exploring the basement, Walt finds a gorgeous old mechanical rocket ship race game called Zathura. On each turn, the game spits out a card and whatever the card says, happens..... IN REAL LIFE.

Danny can't help but get drawn into the game, and eventually, the boys figure out that the only way they are going to escape the Zorgons, get their sister out of cryogenic suspension, and get their house back to earth will be to finish the game. But at what cost? Zathura keeps up a brisk, entertaining pace, and is scripted intelligently enough to engage most young intellects. I especially enjoyed the fact that the kids each had their own personalities and were anything but stereotypes. Although the film is appropriate for all ages, there are some concepts which might disturb or frighten young kids - so look before you leap.

Great script, very nicely directed and edited, and with a very clever, wild story. Most of the acting was very good - especially Jona Bobo and Josh Hutcherson (Danny and Walter). Dax Shepard occasionally ran into some trouble, but did fine in one of the film's more challenging roles.

Recommended for sci-fi adventure fans, and adventurous family viewing.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The movie is plenty of magic, wonder , fantasy and a sympathetic cast

Author: ma-cortes
15 April 2008

Once time their father(Tim Robbins) is gone, two little boys encounter a space travel board game called Zathura, when they start playing, they learn dangerous secrets . The two brothers soon discover that by playing it , the game transport them outland and is unleashed a weird events where robot(voice by Frank Oz) is back to life and appear bombastic space aircrafts. Meanwhile his sister(Kristen Stewart) is freeze and come in an astronaut(Dax Shepard) .The fantastic game with a space travel indicator ejects a carts, captioning the following : Shooting star with possibility to make a wishes, Visited by Zorbons, Stranded astronaut, Reprogram, Hit time warp, Flunk space travel and finally Game over¨.

The movie begins with a real sense of surprise and fantasy , the kids are involved with meteors, destructive robots, planets, time warp,fantastic monstrous beings and wind up an amazing black hole. The film displays a plethora of engaging spectacular sequences with stunning array of technical effects. However, the story doesn't seem to have of thinking except perhaps that one shouldn't play with ancient board games. This is a space ¨Jumanji¨ style movie with phantasmagoria of well made digital FX seems to be the movie's reason. Original musical score with sensible chores by John Debney(Sin City, Passion of the Christ) and colorful cinematography by Guillermo Navarro(Guillermo del Toro's usual cameraman). The picture moves in fits and starts with phenomenal production values and intelligently executed by director John Favreau. He's a cool actor(Wimbledon, Break-up,Daredevilm, The replacements) and occasionally director(Elf, Made and in post-production: Iron man). Rating : Acceptable and passable, the picture will like to kids and juvenile people.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Get into Outer Space without leaving the house.

Author: TashC from Singapore
19 June 2006

Things can get quite tough at home when your parents have just divorced, your older sister doesn't know you exist and your older brother wishes you didn't. But no matter how bad it gets, Zathura confirms that things are much, much worse in outer space.

Left alone on a Saturday afternoon, two highly competitive brothers ricochet towards trouble when the younger one, Danny, is tormented into the basement and unearths an old space adventure game called Zathura. By the time Danny realizes that they "shouldn't play that game", a meteor shower has decimated the living room and the house is uprooted and floating above the rings of Saturn. Though with every turn they take bad things happen, there is no going back and the boys must play on.

Zathura is unashamedly nostalgic – the game is reminiscent of 1950's comics and faded tin toys, Dad's house is from a similar era, with a dumb waiter just waiting to lower a small boy into danger, and even the story is comfortably familiar. By the same author as Jumanji, where the game took us into the perilous jungle, now Zathura transports us off this planet. And though this is science fiction, whether it is the skittling, malfunctioning robot, the floating astronaut or the circling Zorgon battleships, it still all seems vintage.

But most impressively, the way this movie was made is old school. There is some CGI to create the vastness of the galaxy, but otherwise all the explosions, monster lizards, robots and even the frozen sister are there for real.

And in the midst of the unceasing explosions and imminent ingestion by carnivorous inter-galactic lizard pirates, Zathura has some important messages - about family responsibility, how to be a good brother, wishing on a star and the error of making decisions when angry.

Parents may find the constant bickering between the boys a bit nerve-wracking and the stress of Dad juggling work and his sons' rivaling demands for his attention uncomfortably realistic. Not to mention the horror of watching a home being systematically obliterated. But we are sure the kids will love it.

DVD Extras: It was so much fun watching the house being destroyed and now you can see how they built it, rocked it and ripped through it. From the meteors, to the Zorgon missiles and the jettisoned couch, all those flames are real. Stacks of extras that cover the making of just about everything in the movie.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Very Good Action/Adventure/Sci Fi Family Movie

Author: pepperfluffball from United States
15 December 2005

When I first heard of this movie, I thought it would just be Jumanji in Space, and worse then Jumanji. I really liked Jumanji when I was a kid, but being nineteen years old, I really don't like it nearly as much now. I see the many flaws, some major and serious, and just dislike it a lot now.

When I saw Zathura, I was very impressed and pleasantly surprised. It was very entertaining, funny, and thrilling. It fixed all the flaws of Jumaji and was better in every way. It had some good character development, a small amount of CGI was used, great directing, impressive special effects, it had a nice twist, it had some wonderful one-liners, the acting from the entire cast was really good, there was some great chemistry between the two boys, there were some morals to the story, the Zorgons were actually frightening, etc.

I was very impressed with the two leads as well. Jonah Bobo was great as the younger brother. He acted very realistically, wanting to play with his older brother Walter. Josh Hutcherson was also great as Walter, the older brother. He acted like any older brother would, ignoring and being mean to his younger brother. The whole brother hating each other theme was both amusing and extremely realistic.

I also liked how the story focused more on the brothers and how they interacted with each other, instead of mainly on the magical board game.

I really liked that the movie makes you feel the danger that the kids are going through instead of just looking and pretending to be frightened of CGI creations (like Jumanji). The Zorgons and Robot were real, not fake. The Zorgons were really men in costumes and the robot was a real person in a robot costume. It was realistic in a sense that the danger felt real, not to mention looked real.

Kristen Stewart who plays the older teenage sister was also good. She acted like a real teenager who just wants to be left alone and go to sleep. She was underused, but that was the point. The movie is supposed to be centered around the brothers.

Dax Shepard was very good in the role of the Astronaut. He was very funny and played the role very well.

Tim Robbins was also good in a very small part.

I am a nineteen year old female and I enjoyed Zathura immensely.

It is enjoyable for any age group. It is not a kid's movie, but a family movie. I guarantee that even adults will enjoy Zathura.

Overall, this is a very good film that everyone should see. It is a lot of fun.

I would give it an 8 out of 10.

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