Critics Consensus

Dazzling special effects for the kids + well-crafted storytelling for the 'rents = cinematic satisfaction for the whole family.



Total Count: 158


Audience Score

User Ratings: 281,140
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Movie Info

Two young brothers are drawn into an intergalactic adventure when their house is magically hurtled through space because of the board game they are playing.

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Critic Reviews for Zathura

All Critics (158) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (119) | Rotten (39)

  • Favreau gratifyingly prevents the film from becoming a mere maelstrom of CG effects by pushing the brothers' amusing bickering to the fore...

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Despite its peculiar name and the fact it bears a strong resemblance to Jumanji -- another film inspired by a book by children's author Van Allsburg -- it's hard not to like Zathura.

    Mar 31, 2006 | Full Review…
  • If you enjoyed Jumanji, the Robin Williams film about the board game with the wild animals that come to life, then ... the rest of this sentence should read: " are a dullard who should be slapped repeatedly."

    Feb 11, 2006 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • A sci-fi spin on 1995's Jumanji, Jon Favreau's fast-paced fantasy is an enthralling, imaginative romp that does everything its predecessor did and more.

    Jan 17, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Neil Smith
    Top Critic
  • The only way to win is just to keep playing until it's over, and the only way to leave the theater is to hover over these kids' shoulders until they finally wrap things up. In both cases, there are more entertaining ways to spend an afternoon.

    Dec 6, 2005

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • A smart and funny kids' movie that will also keep parents entertained.

    Nov 14, 2005

Audience Reviews for Zathura

  • Sep 08, 2015
    Did you enjoy Jumanji? Well, this story is a bit simpler, and doesn't feature Robin Williams, but in many ways is the better movie. The story is good, two young brothers, bored and frustrated with a time-share situation between divorced parents, find an old board game with characteristics of 1940s-50's pressed tin toys and games. A great deal of care and affection went into the making of this movie, and the attention to detail paid off. The special effects are fantastic, especially for 2005, and a huge improvement over 1995's Jumanji. Although Jumanji is fun, it's too obvious that we are watching early CGI, especially the monkeys and the lion and, well, the animals. Zathura's effects are incredible. The space backdrop is flawless, and the scenes with the defective robot and Zorgons are terrific and very realistic. (Yes, they look just like REAL Zorgons, not CGI'd Zorgons.) Casting is good and the boys are fun and have a genuine brotherly relationship. Dax Sheppard is pretty funny but nicely restrained as the hero astronaut. Ironically (I think?) it was this movie and at about the same time, RV with Robin Williams that put Josh Hutcherson on the map and led to the Hunger Games and his fame. Although this is technically a remake of Jumanji with a modified story, different characters and creatures, the story is fresher, the effects much better and should age well (this review is being written in 2015, 10 years after release of Zathura, and the effects remain an astounding achievement and do not appear dated). Just a great action-adventure movie with some fun creatures/characters and good direction by Jon Favreau. The opening titles and set decoration, particularly with the game itself, the box and artwork should have either garnered oscar attention or a special oscar for the effects and artwork. The soundtrack is good too.
    Mark H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2015
    Kristen Stewart's best performance! Hahaha I mean it's not her most challenging role, but her adult self is too inhibited to do "mainstream" emotions of surprise, fear, annoyance, and this haughty big sister role actually requires her to stretch her gloomy face (which I still love), and she was young enough to not overthink it. Young Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo (of "Crazy, Stupid [refuse that superfluous comma] Love") are ridiculously adorable as quarrelsome brothers in this "Jumanji" sequel. I didn't even realize it was an actual sequel adapted from the book by Chris Van Allsburg because I was never a fan of the first with Kirsten Dunst and Robin Williams. "Zathura" has so many funny lines that even adults will enjoy, like, "Get me a juice box, bitch!" "Grandma!" when the urn falls, and "The card!" when they try to convince Lisa of the game's magic. And who knew that before Dax Shepherd became the butt-of-the-joke lucky enough to lock down hottie Kristen Bell, he was a rather swashbuckling astronaut himself?!
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2014
    Zathura has been easily compared to the 1995 fantasy comedy, Jumanji, and it's no secret why. Both films share similar plotlines. However, this film has more of a science fiction edge to the story that makes it a bit different. If you forget the similarities between the films, this is a fun, entertaining picture that is worth seeing because there are several worthwhile moments due to a well crafted script, good cast and good direction from director Jon Favreau. The film has good effects, and plenty of thrills to really make it a highly entertaining picture from start to finish. The film isn't perfect, but for the most part, it's a worthwhile affair that is sure to appeal to genre fans. With a fine mix of comedy and Sci Fi Fantasy, Zathura is a film that accomplishes things that Jumanji did not, even if they thread similar ground, both films are good for what they are. With that being said, Zathura is a fun, entertaining picture that is very well done. The film shouldn't be dismissed so easily, as it possesses enough charm to make this film worth your time. With Favreau's direction, he is able to craft a rousing comedic adventure that uses a familiar idea, but makes it different with a few changes to the story. Zathura's strength lies in the imaginative aspect of the story, even if it's similar to Jumanji, the film uses fresh ideas to tell its own story by introducing different ideas, concepts that work well to keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Both Jumanji and Zathura are fun and entertaining films, and each have their qualities that make them standout. Forget the similarities, go into this one with an open mind, and you're surely going to enjoy it. Like I said, even if threads similar ground, this is nonetheless a film worth seeing due to a fun story, terrific visuals a fun cast and constant thrills.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2012
    Badly acted by "Bobo" which destroy the entire enjoyment of the film. The plot holes didn't help it either. Rotten Tomatoes, this is certainly not fresh thank you.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer

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