Zathura

"Bad"

Zathura Review


In Zathura, a board game magically comes alive when played, thrusting its participants into a wild adventure through outer space. Based on a children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, Zathura shares a striking resemblance to another Van Allsburg book turned movie called Jumanji. Each film centers on kids who get sucked into oddly-titled-board games gone wild. While the concept works magically on paper, the translation to film has not been so successful. Marginal special effects and a heavy-handed dead-end plot crippled Jumanji. And unfortunately, Zathura suffers from the same problems as its predecessor.

In the film, pre-teen brothers Danny and Walter (Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) are always at odds with each other. Because Walter is a few years older and more independent, he wants nothing to do with Danny. But Danny is full of energy and desperate for some attention. Yet, everyone else in his broken family is sadly unavailable. Danny's older sister (Kristen Stewart) is too consumed with teenage boys; his dad (Tim Robbins) is too wrapped up with this work; and his mom is only available for selected visitation periods. What Danny wants most is to play with his brother.

While spending the weekend at their dad's creepy old house, a bored Danny finds a game called Zathura tucked away under the basement stairs. The game seems simple enough -- turn a key, push a button, and a card pops out with instructions on how to move your game piece. But because Walter thinks Danny cheats at board games, he's unwilling to participate and Danny must play alone. His first card warns of a meteor shower. Moments later, a heavy barrage of meteors attack the house and the boys are forced to take cover in the fireplace. Once the storm passes, Danny and Walter are shocked to find their house magically floating through space on a pile of rocks, dirt, and debris. Each new card that Danny and Walter draw brings them closer to the game's end, but also triggers a new series of frightening events for them to encounter.

Zathura -- Game on!

And what a boring game it turns out to be once it actually gets started! Zathura spends a ridiculous amount of time at the beginning to establish the fact that the boys hate each other. For nearly 30 minutes, we're subject to non-stop, obnoxious yelling and screaming between Danny and Walter. Then, once the house is in space, the arguing continues as the pair decide how to combat an out of control robot with circular saw blade hands and heat-seeking alien lizards with sharp teeth. The meager special effects creations are far from intriguing or memorable. They look like cheap imitations of scarier monsters from other movies, which may be too much for some younger children to handle.

In the end, Zathura is such a mess that the backstory it spends time developing is completely ignored. The film is so consumed with throwing whatever it can at these boys that they're never afforded a believable chance to reconcile their relationship. Kids may not care, but adults who believe Zathura will teach kids a lesson on working together should pass on this space trash.

Adventure is waiting. Literally.



Zathura

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th November 2005

Box Office USA: $28.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $64.3M

Budget: $65M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Radar Pictures, Teitler Film, Michael De Luca Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 119 Rotten: 39

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Danny, as Walter, as Astronaut, as Dad, as Robot ( voice ), as Lead Zorgon, Douglas Tait as Zorgon, as Zorgon, as Zorgon, as Lisa, as Robot

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Advertisement
Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.