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ZATHURA                                

Directed by Jon Favreau
Written by Chris Van Allsburg, David Koepp, John Kamps

Starring
· Josh Hutcherson as Walter
· Jonah Bobo as Danny
· Dax Shepard as Astronaut
· Kristen Stewart as Boy’s sister
· Tim Robbins as Boy’s father

I absolutely love this film because it can touch my heart and develope my imagination. The game plot of Zathura is the same with Jumanji and that is not surprising as both are based on books by Chris Van Allsburg. The story is Two bratty brothers, Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) bicker and annoy one another until Danny discovers a unique board game in the basement of their dad’s (Tim Robbins) house. The game, Zathura, is a 50′s era space adventure, a metal gears and paint concoction that was likely the X-Box of it’s time.

Danny the younger brother wants to play but older brother Walter just wants to watch sportscenter. When Danny turns the key and presses a button to start the game Walter finds he will have to play whether he likes it or not. The game has shot the boys into space and the only way to get home is to finish the game before the various meteor showers, robot malfunctions or bloodthirsty aliens finish them.

Along for the ride is the boys’ sister, who was supposed to keep them out of trouble but because of the game now finds herself frozen in cryo-sleep, as one of the game cards helpfully explains. Also joining an astronaut who was lost in space some 15 years ago after he and his brother had played the game.

The boys figure out early on that if they keep playing the game will end and they will go home. In order to keep the movie going, one of the boys refuses to play along.

Directed by Jon Favreau, Zathura is a surprisingly bombastic and ridiculous excercise in over modulated special effects and a complete lack of subtlety. The special effects in Zathura are the film’s strong point. Director Jon Favreau creates a terrifically cartoonish outer space that is perfectly in line with a child’s imagination. The robots and aliens are cool looking, with the robot also providing the films few moments of laughter. If I have any issue with the aliens it’s that they may be a little too scary for the young audience that is being sought after by Zathura.

Safe for kids between 10 and 13 who enjoy loud noises and big bright explosions Zathura certainly has an audience but it’s an audience that would be better served with more attention to character than to how loud you can crank the volume before the speakers blow.

*Edited from review by Sean Kernan

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