Zathura: A Space Adventure (PG)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/02/2006

Enjoyable, smartly written adventure flick with superb performances and impressive special effects.

What’s it all about?
Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s follow-up novel to Jumanji, Zathura stars Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo as Walter and Danny, a pair of bickering brothers aged 10 and 6 who are left to their own devices when their father (Tim Robbins) has to go to work.

When Danny finds the battered board game Zathura under the stairs the boys begin to play it, but they get a shock when after the first go, they find that the entire house has been rocketed into outer space!

The Good
That Zathura works as well as it does is entirely down to the performances of Hutcherson and Bobo. Their relationship is central to the film, so you’re constantly willing them to put aside their differences and work together to survive.

The effects are extremely good. Rather than opt for CGI overload, director Favreau and effects guru Stan Winston have elected to use good old-fashioned solid objects, which are entirely suited to the 1950s design of the game. The action sequences are also genuinely scary – the robot chasing the boys and smashing up the house is the stuff of nightmares, especially if you’re six.

The Bad
There are two main problems – firstly, Kristen Stewart (as their older sister) is given too little to do. Secondly, there’s a climactic plot development that isn’t set up properly and doesn’t actually make sense within the film. But these are minor quibbles when the film is this much fun.

Worth seeing?
There’s a good chance that Zathura’s target audience will think it’s the best film ever made. For everyone else, it’s an enjoyable adventure movie that, for once, steers clear of excessive sentimentality. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Zathura: A Space Adventure (PG)
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Content updated: 14/12/2017 15:02

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