Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

Rating PG

Length 1Hr 41

Release 3.2.2006

About 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.

First Thoughts

I was in uni when this came out and I was having a bit of a tough time. I can’t remember if it was when my mum was in hospital and it had all gotten a little much or if it was to do with issues in the house (communal living, yikes), but I just needed a sanctuary. It was watching this film that I realised how I found comfort in the cinema during times of stress; it got me away from my life for a while and fully immersed all of my senses.

It was also the first time I went the cinema alone. I bloody loved the freedom, the peace (I always, ALWAYS, seem to make friends with the chatty people) and the independence.

The Good

  • It takes the winning formula of Jumanji and gives the audience a new adventure that takes a family in the midst of a divorce into space. While there is an element of plot by numbers, it does offer more to the audience than derivative narrative.
  • Dax Shepherd is brilliant as the astronaut and I only wish I saw him in more things. He was able to portray a child like innocence with skin, much in the same way Williams did in Jumanji.
  • Kristen Stewart brings some of her best acting to the screen. Yes, it’s while she’s frozen but watch Twilight and you will agree, it’s a vast improvement.

The Bad

  • It’s a rather emotionally negative movie in terms of tone and atmosphere and by that I don’t mean the void of space (which they totally ignore when they throw the flaming couch out; Science bitches! Come on!). The relationship between the two boys is really toxic and while settling blame for a parental divorce might be circumstantial and worth exploring within a film narrative, there should be a resolution that establishes that no child will be the cause of a family breakdown. Unless of course that child in Damien, and then all bets are off.
  • The Zorgons scared the crap out of me. I fast forwarded through the invasion scene as I found Danny’s fear a little overwhelming. The music certainly supported the horror factor. Strange that after nearly a month of horror movies, this was the one to break me.

The Ugly

  • Kristen Stewart offers up some of her worst acting, to the point you wish she’d stayed frozen. Her screaming and shouting is like a spike being driven through your eye and into your brain. Add to this, her pawing over Dax Shepherd and admitting she wanted to fuck him gives such Lannister vibes that you will indeed experience sick in your mouth.
  • There’s way too much shouting and whinging from the two leads. It’s space, no one should hear you scream shit heads.

Final Thoughts

It’s Jumanji, in space. There’s no getting away from that.

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