Zathura: A Space Adventure
Zathura: A Space Adventure (also known simply as Zathura) is a 2005 American science fiction adventure film directed by Jon Favreau. It is an adaptation of the 2002 children's book Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg, author of Jumanji. It is a standalone spin-off of the 1995 film Jumanji and the second installment of the Jumanji franchise. The film stars Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, and Tim Robbins. It was released on November 11, 2005 in the United States. Unlike Jumanji, which was distributed by TriStar Pictures, the film was distributed by Columbia Pictures.
After their father (Tim Robbins) is called into work, two young boys, Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo), are left in the care of their teenage sister, Lisa (Kristen Stewart), and told they must stay inside. Walter and Danny, who anticipate a boring day, are shocked when they begin playing Zathura, a space-themed board game, which they realize has mystical powers when their house is shot into space. With the help of an astronaut (Dax Shepard), the boys attempt to return home.
Why It Rocks
- Decent visuals and special effects that are a nice blend of practical and CGI.
- Danny is a likable character.
- Good acting, especially from Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson, who have a good chemistry.
- Funny scenes here and there.
- Excellent directing from Jon Favreau.
- Lots of suspenseful and intense moments, like when the Astronaut seems to have been killed by the Zorgons before he's revealed to have survived or when Danny makes it into the Zorgons' ship to get back Zathura.
- John Debney's score is great, that is fit on each scene.
- Good character development; Walter begins as a jock brother who likes to pick on his little brother Danny, but, after the experience on Zathura, changes his way and their bond grows stronger.
- The scene in which Walter wishes for the Astronaut's brother to reappear and realizes that the Astronaut was his alternate future self and that the Astronaut's brother is Danny is heartwarming and poignant.
- It also shows how some kids deal with their parents' divorce, something some viewers can relate with.
- The film feels like a total rehash of Jumanji despite that the books they were based on were written by Chris Van Allsburg, the same author. That said, despite belonging to the same fictional universe, this film has no connections to neither Jumanji nor its sequels, so can even skip this film and understand the others.
- The CGI effects, while good during there time, have not aged well.
- Walter is really unlikable at the beginning, especially when he lowers Danny into the basement and threatens to lock him up there, which was a really cruel thing.
- The Zorgons and their multi-eyed goats can be quite scary for some viewers.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 76% based on 161 reviews, and an average rating of 6.54/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Dazzling special effects for the kids + well-crafted storytelling for the [parents] = cinematic satisfaction for the whole family". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 67 out of 100, based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.