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

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Certainly not as good as Jumanji

Author: Maedhros35 from Netherlands
12 June 2007

I started watching this movie with the high hopes of this being a Jumanji follow-up with some great space adventure add-ons, but I ended up being a bit disappointed.

In fact the movie is not half as much about a space adventure as it is about family and family relations - mainly about the two kid brothers who can't stand each other. Now that might make for a nice background for the story, but in order to make a nice space adventure movie that picture should be painted in the first fifteen minutes at maximum; at which moment it is time for the big bonding moment and the movie can get started.

Not in this movie, oh no! The kids scream at each other and yell simultaneously for the first 75 minutes, and that for a movie with approx. 90 minutes running time. In the mean time the usual amount of wanton destruction happens, but we knew that from Jumanji.

To sum up, the story could have been better, the special effects could have been better, the lead roles could have been better - Nay, it is certainly not as good as Jumanji.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Jumanji in Space

Author: JoeytheBrit from
9 April 2007

Two typically irritating kids discover an old game called Zathura: A Space Adventure which propels them into a real-life space adventure involving comets, stranded astronauts, and lizard-like aliens called Zorgons. Stealing shamelessly from Jumanji, this film is loaded with special effects that can only distract from the dearth of any new ideas for a short time before the claustrophobic sets and constant bickering of the two protagonists wears the viewer down. Luckily for the kids, (one surly and annoying, the other cute and, well, annoying) they live in the only house in the US sturdy enough to withhold anything stronger than a gust of wind with a woman's name, because here they're subjected to repeated bombardment by meteors and space rockets as they frantically play the board game and learn the obligatory 'life lesson' on their increasingly dull adventure. Director Jon Favreau just doesn't know when to end a scene, so that supposedly suspenseful sequences (such as the attempt to retrieve the game from the Zorgon's spaceship) eventually just become tedious.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:


Author: pianist_93 from Canada
6 April 2006

I loved it!!! That was a good movie. Josh Hutcherson is really good. I think that if my sister and I were characters, I would be most like Walter and my sister would be more like Danny. My mom was like that killer robot!!!!!!!!!!!!!! People should totally see this movie because it rocks. My mom even asked me if I had learned the lesson in the Zathura, and I said "movies are there to entertain you (which Zathura did a great job of doing), NOT to teach you a lesson. And even if there WAS a lesson in there, I was too busy looking at Josh Hutcherson's face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's been really busy lately, eh? I'd love to make movies and travel the world, that kind of thing... Later

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Zathura makes learning ze most fun for za family!

Author: Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
28 January 2006

Danny and Walter find a game around the house called Zathura. Father is gone and big sister Lisa considers her brothers royal pains. Once the two boys start playing, however, they find that Zathura is an ultimate reality game. All at once, the house is flying through space and robots, lizard aliens, and stranded astronauts arrive at their doorstep. The boys keep playing the game, guessing that it is their only chance of returning home. But, will they make it back alive? This sequel to Jumanji is fine entertainment for families. The actors are appealing (Tim Robbins has a very small role), the script is adequate, and the special effects are very worthwhile. The best thing that one can say about Zathura, however, is that it makes science fun. This viewer is betting that children who watch the film will be running to the library or Internet to investigate outer space, the planets, the stars and more. With that in mind, do find a way to show the film to your smaller loved ones. Doses of learning go down well when they are presented in this appealing format.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Bad Lesson

Author: istein321 from United States
27 December 2009

I think this movie is OK, with one awful exception. Is it just me or is everyone extremely annoyed by the younger brother? It seems that the writers are saying its OK to do stupid things over and over as long as you keep saying you're sorry. I don't think that is the lesson we want to impart to kids his age. After the tenth time that word looses its meaning. I wish instead that either the sister or the brother would have told him "Next time you're about to do something that you think you might have to say you're sorry for later, just think of me braking one of your toys, and saying I'm sorry and then another and another... Every time saying Im sorry. The point of being sorry is not doing it again. So very frustrating, especially since I've met both kids and adults like that.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

too similar to Jumanji to be regarded on its own....otherwise, it's a fun family film that the kids will love

Author: The_Amazing_Spy_Rises from United States
1 April 2006

'Zathura' is basically 1995's smash hit 'Jumanji' in space. You will notice striking similarities between the films that I will go into in a moment. First off, Zathura is a great family film, possessing every element that makes a good family film: minimal violence, minimal language, funny one liners, cool visual effects, and a cool turn at the end. There are a few bad words that some ears shouldn't hear, including d*ck, a*s, and in a stretched out way, b**ch (I'm saying this as a precaution for you parents who dislike the language for your kids). I was a little shocked to hear it, but coming from Jon Favreau, I shouldn't have been surprised. Favreau's direction is good, as he makes the chemistry between the film's two main characters, Danny and Walter.

The plot goes as follows: after having a brotherly dispute, Walter sends his little brother, Danny, into the basement. While down there, Danny finds an old board game called Zathura: A Space Adventure. Danny takes the game to his brother, who rudely says he doesn't want to play, and plays by himself. After moving some spaces, a meteor shower erupts in the house. I will repeat that. A METEOR shower erupts in the HOUSE. After this, the kids realize that they are in outer space, and that they must finish the horrific game if they want to get home. After that, the game ensues to freeze their teenage sister, and send a vicious robot on them, not to mention send a mysterious astronaut (the very funny Dax Shepard) to them, one whom has been in space for 15 years....

The bad things about how similar it is to Jumanji. I mean, yes, three or four things are okay, but there are so many similarities, it's a bit ridiculous. For example, on the third turn in Jumanji, a lion comes out of the game, and Robin Williams manages to lock it in a room. In Zathura, the robot comes out on the third turn, and the boys manage to lock it in a room. Also, as with Jumanji, a character will attempt to cheat. Another significant parallel is that the game is stolen, and that they must retrieve it from a conveyor belt type object before it reaches the end. In Jumanji, it's a waterfall, and in this, it's an actual conveyor belt with fire at the end. Now, I'm done nearly spoiling the movie (laugh).

Jon Favreau has given a fun film that the whole family will like, but has unfortunately strayed way too close in terms of the script and dialog (one or two lines are the same as well) of the 1995 action/thriller Jumanji. I enjoyed it, but I just can't think of Zathura without thinking of Jumanji, and sadly, you probably will too.

6/10 --spy

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Jumanji Critics ...Go Take A Nap

Author: fwomp from United States
16 February 2006

Open up your imagination to the world of Zathura. Kids and adults alike will revel in this great story about two young brothers who find an old board-style game called Zathura that literally launches them and their home into outer-space. Danny and Walter are the brothers and when their father leaves them alone with their teenage sister for a few minutes, worlds collide and their home becomes a space-bound asteroid, but not because of any interstellar cataclysm. It's all related to the game Zathura that the younger Danny finds and begins playing.

Their father's beautiful arts and crafts style home is magically transported to the nether reaches of space and as the boys play the game — in an attempt to get back to Earth — more and more bizarre occurrences happen. A meteor shower pummels the house. A defective robot tries to kill the elder brother, Walter. Zorgons, weird, space-faring lizard-men, track their home because of the warmth radiating off it. A stranded spaceman joins the duo and has much more vested in the game than we could ever imagine. Walter and Danny's sister goes into cryogenic sleep for "five turns" only to awaken in the midst of this spaceflight odyssey.

Can the boys make it home? Will they be able to finish the game? Can they put aside their sibling rivalries and become loving brothers? Why is the stranded astronaut helping them? What will Dad say when he gets home and finds out there is no home?

There's been a lot of controversial talk amongst film-o-philes about this movie and JUMANJI. There's no doubt that there's an incredibly strong similarity between the two (a house being overrun by animals versus space creatures; a family in crisis that's forced to come together; a board game that recreates a fantasy; a happy ending that gets fixed-up before adults arrive back in the picture; and so on).

Regardless of those striking comparisons, Zathura is a really fun film to watch. The two brothers are believable, and when they fight it reminded me of the great arguments I had with my brothers when I was growing up.

The amazingly beautiful arts and crafts home. It was painful watching it get destroyed piece by piece. Sitting on a gimbal, too, it was surprising (watching the special features on the DVD) to learn that director Jon Favreau used minimal digital special effects and built miniatures, etc. in order to get the desired effects for the film.

The ridiculous nature of the story allowed me to suspend disbelief and just go with it. We all know that fire doesn't burn in outer-space (they light a sofa on fire and kick it out the door), and that a person could never survive fifteen years floating around in space in a spacesuit (the astronaut), but so what.

I was also a tad surprised about the astronaut. I'd surmised quite a bit about the movie as it continued (being able to guess pretty easily what was going to happen next and why) but when the true nature of the stranded astronaut came to light, I felt a bit choked-up (yeah, yeah, I know).

So sit back and enjoy the film, and try not to get overly critical about its obvious relation to JUMANJI.

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An Above Average Children's Fantasy Movie

Author: tabuno from utah
19 November 2005

There is a simple message by the end of the movie, one that offers a clean and clear emotional punch with the twist at the end too. The bantering between brothers is wonderfully presented in this movie and the conflict of divorce and the emotional turmoil it can cause is well on display, much more so than most movies of this genre. The action is sometimes pretty intense and the children's response not always connecting with the audience, but the pacing and fascinating events are entertaining. The daughter's role seems neglected. And some of the scenes aren't completely believable in terms of fantasy and the situation as if sometimes the boys don't have anything much to do except move about without explanation. Overall, though the movie is effective in getting its point across, more so than most movies. Seven out of Ten Stars.

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10 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

"Jumanji" In Space

Author: EmperorNortonII from San Francisco, California
24 November 2005

"Zathura" is a science-fiction movie directed by Jon Favreau, and based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg. "Zathura" is similar to "Jumanji," which is also based on the work of Van Allsburg. In this story, two quarreling brothers discover an old board game in the basement, which launches their house into outer space. This movie does not quite have the scope of "Jumanji," but it is still enjoyable. There is a lot of excitement, and the visuals are well done. The movie has a good retro science-fiction look. The story is adequate, teaching some lessons as it goes. At times, though, it might seam preachy. In the end, "Zathura" is still worth watching.

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35 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

way better than i thought

Author: lovadoll from Canada
6 November 2005

I went into Zathura expecting a bunch of crap but wow was i ever surprised.This movie is sooo cool it's scary.Being a 16 year old girl I only went to see this movie because my nephews wanted to see it and I ended up having more fun then they did.Zathura is a very different adventure film from the creator of the snore fest Jumanji.Unlike Jumanji this is much more fun and charismatic and is much easier to follow.Zathura is one of those family films that will turn out to be a classic like The Sandlot because it's just about the most entertainment a kid can get out of a movie.It is meant to be fun and wacky and successfully delivers what it set out to do.Zathura is a fun filled adventure for the whole family.So get to the theatre and enjoy Zathura 10 outta 10 all the way.

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