|English subtitles Zathura: A Space Adventure||one month ago|
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8/10 It is rare when a movie transports me back to my childhood memories, reminding me of the time when playing games use to be fun. Adventures were limited by imagination, and Summer days were transformed into magic. "Zathura", directed by Jon Favreau, based on a book by Chris Van Allsburg, came knocking on my door and invited me to come out and play.2 years ago
Author/Artist, Van Allsburg has a wonderful gift. His vision is firmly planted in a realm of childhood experiences. More illustration than words, his books evoke worlds of wonder. The last movie based on one of his stories was, "The Polar Express" directed by Zemeckis. It is making it's re appearance as a seasonal movie. It is well worth seeing, and if you can find it in IMAX 3-D, it is phenomenal.
Van Allsburg's book, "Jumanji" was filmed less successfully back in 1995. It failed because it could not find the right tone. Zathura nails it. Both books share the same plot device; Children find a board game that transports them into the game. Cards are drawn that effect their fate and their surroundings. The only way to escape the perils of the game, is to play it through. Jumanji was a jungle game and Zathura is a space adventure.
What elevates this film is the believable interactions of the two young players. Jonah Bobo plays the six year old Danny, who is always getting in the way of his older brother, ten year old Walter, played by Josh Hutcherson. Danny is looking for friendship and attention from his brother, who in turn considers Danny to be a pest and a nuisance, competing for the attention of their recently divorced father, played by Tim Robbins.
The boys have an older sister Lisa, played by Kristen Stewart. She is living in a world of her own, between her preening and dating, the boys hardly see her. Although she does join the game late in the film, for most of the film she is cryogenically indisposed.
The Game itself is a marvel of brightly painted tin and wind up gears. To play is simple, wind it up, push a button and watch a number come up, this determines the number of spaces your playing piece will take. Two rockets chase each other around the twisting path. After your piece moves, a card pops up. The card describes the action to follow. Danny draws the first card that says, "Meteor Shower, Take Evasive Action" and the game is on.
The movie is visually stunning. The discovery by the children, that their house has been transported to a location in outer space, hovering above a ring of meteors that encircle a large planet, is jaw dropping. The effects are real enough to imply danger, but logic is not a function of children's games, so it does not matter that oxygen, gravity and warmth still exist in the house, even as it is blasted apart by various forces.
Along the way the boys encounter a young astronaut played by Dax Shepard, who helps them out of perilous situations like battling engulfing black holes, and evading Fierce carnivorous lizards called Zorgons. Along the way the Astronaut teaches them lessons in brotherly cooperation, and even beguiles Lisa into sharing the adventure.
While funny and exciting, it is never preachy, Zathura is intelligently written and directed, this is a great family film. I give it **** out of five stars.
We loved it- great family fun!
9/10 My son (age 10) liked Jumanji and is an avid reader. When he learned "Zathura" would be the next Van Allsburg book to come to the screen, he made me promise we'd see it.2 years ago
We nearly missed our chance (it was at the second-run theater) but I am glad we made it. "Zathura" was excellent- we were riveted the entire time and my son THEN made me promise we'd buy the DVD when it was released! Since one of the main characters was a 10-year old boy like him, naturally I knew he'd like it. But I really liked it too and thought that every actor's performance was exactly right. Not cutesy in that "movie kid" kind of way, but very real. I flinched at some of the older brother's dialogue- it was so mean and angry toward the little brother. But that's how it is!! Kids are so mean. This movie did not shy away from it (OK, that set up the ending, but still).
Even the teen sister was great. Tim Robbins, as the harried dad (little screen time) was spot-on. Families of divorce have a whole separate set of behavioral rules to learn and live by, and this movie nailed it.
Thumbs-up from all of us!
Surprisingly nice. If I was a kid I'd have loved it........
8/10 There are quite a few nice things about this film. In particular, Zathura is an aesthetically intelligent film. The makers did a great job of not relying too heavily on CGI; very thoughtful design and effects. The convincing use of miniatures, real sets and chaos/destruction really brought the story to life. True, its a kids movie. But not so much that it annoys, there's a timeless and attractive notion of adventure. Really hearkens back to the glory of 80's kids adventure movies. The film's gadgets and knick-knacks were great. The house and Zathura game-board were both characters in and of themselves, every bit as important as the actors (who did a fine job).2 years ago
Throughout I felt like I was watching a little of "Time Bandits" mixed with some "Goonies" and maybe some "Hitchikers Guide..." or "House".
Some folks seem ambivalent to the film. That's unfortunate. Up against a lot of the uninspired sh*t that is released these days, Zathura is very successful in creating a fun and visually convincing escape. Half way through the movie I realized that I was waiting/anticipating the film's failure, that it was going to let me down. Never did.
I appreciated the film.
jumanji for trekkies
8/10 i was expecting this film to merely be a decent way to waste some time like it's predecessor, but zathura is better. it's just as wacky as jumanji, but just seems to make more sense.2 years ago
it's a little bit on the short side and i expected a few more action scenes, but what's there is pretty good.
the dialogue is funny, but was a little more edgy than i expected.
overall, the film moved along at a brisk pace and had some nice unexpected twists. it was nice to see that it was filmed as a retro "buck rogers type" sci-fi game, but with modern day action levels. it's a nice mix.
the film offers enough action to keep your attention and enough surprises to keep you guessing. it was a lot better than i expected it to be. it was fun.