Opening 2 Feb 2006
Writing credits: Chris Van Allsburg, David Koepp, John Kamps
Principal actors: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins
A divorced father (Tim Robbins), overwhelmed with work, steps out to finish work at the office, leaving his two sons and daughter at home. During this time, sibling rivalry seems to be a constant theme between Danny (Jonah Bobo) and Walter (Josh Hutcherson). Since the two have such different personalities, they have difficulty managing to do anything together as a team. The youngest finds an old game in the basement, Zathura, and finally talks his brother into playing it. This is not any ordinary game but one where the house actually travels in space, and the game must be played to the end in order to return home in one piece. For the two brothers who don’t get along, this is quite a difficult accomplishment. They are confronted with aliens, meteors and many other obstacles. Even their older sister can not help them.
The kids did a great job acting, and the space atmosphere seems realistic and suspenseful. What is missing in this film is the quiet introspective moments and interest in science and space itself. This film misses its chance to catch children’s interest in science and cops out for the cheap video game thrill that naturally captures their attention. We even received a computer game to take home. As a mother, I was disappointed because I would like to see kids inspired to be scientists rather than to spend their time playing computer games and Gameboys. By director Jon Favreau. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)