DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Film Review: Zathura


"In the future, Jehovah's Witnesses didn't take kindly to having the door closed in their faces..."

Zathura: A Space Adventure (PG)
Dir. Jon Favreau


Reviewed by Matt Adcock

Before you go Kentucky Disney Fry yourself some ‘Chicken Little’, I’ll let you know if that’s as tasty an option as it sounds next week, how about a premium slice of family space adventure in Zathura?
What we have here is a new adventure from the wacky world of Jumanji – you know – where board games ‘come alive’ in a way that not even a drunken bout of Twister ever could… Basically Zathura is Jumanji in space, two young boys find an antique looking board game, and before you can say ‘where’s Robin Williams this time?’ the whole house has warped into hyperdrive and the only way home is the finish the game. Whilst in space ‘no-one can hear you scream’, but they can sense your heat, especially if they are Zorgons – lizardmen who eat meat and don’t take kindly to anything non-Zorgon existing. So it’s not long until Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and younger brother Danny (Jonah Bobo), have to stave off a full-scale alien attack, survive a living room specific meteor shower and try to come to terms with their parents' divorce. Also along for the ride is their reluctant babysitting older sister Lisa (Kristen ‘Panic Room’ Stewart) but as she spends most of the time cryogenically frozen in her nightwear she isn’t a great deal of help.
Director Jon ‘Elf’ Favreau mixes up just enough action, explosions and berserk robots to make a trip to Zathura a viable Saturday afternoon’s entertainment. It’s scary enough in places to stop any young budding astronauts you take with you dismissing it as blatant sentimental moralising but it does carry important messages about being nice to your siblings etc.
Everyone on screen looks like they’re having a fun time making the film and you can just about forgive the over acting youngsters because they are ably supported by actors like Tim Robbins (the boy’s dad) an Dax Shepard as a jet packed astronaut they pick up along the way.
The special effects are well done, the Zorgons are suitably nasty and the space scenes of the house boldly going where no house has gone before are quite beautiful.
My son Luke (who is almost 9) came out impressed – using words like ‘wicked’, ‘cool’ and ‘exciting’ to explain to his younger brother what it was like. I’d echo that as it appealed to my inner sci fi geek, remember, the force will be with you etc…

Poster Quote: “more fun than a barrel of Robin Williams' - in space!!”

Darkmatt Rating: ööö (good space fun and games for all the family)


"the boys soon realised that their sister was giving them the 'cold shoulder'"

Darkmatters: H O M E

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