Zathura: A Space Adventure Reviews

  • Sep 23, 2020

    I made it about halfway before I gave up on it. It's really aimed toward kids.

    I made it about halfway before I gave up on it. It's really aimed toward kids.

  • Sep 05, 2020

    I enjoyed watching it with my grandchild. Was surprised how much, cute, surprising.

    I enjoyed watching it with my grandchild. Was surprised how much, cute, surprising.

  • Aug 03, 2020

    It’s kind of interesting how Zathura did so much to duplicate everything that happened in Jumanji, and yet managed to do it all better. This isn’t a great film, but it is a vast improvement on the mess that is Jumanji. So, rather than a straight review of Zathura, I’d like to do a comparative analysis of why this movie works where Jumanji fails: 1. Delay of game - I appreciate that they give some reasons for all the delays between the kids taking turns in Zathura. In Jumanji, I kept asking “Why don’t they just roll the dice right as fast as possible?!” and the only answer the script gave was “Because we need the movie to happen.” Here we have bickering brothers, we have the board blown away or stolen, and we have a slightly more complex way of taking turns than just rolling a pair of dice. 2. Family drama - There are some interesting things done in Zathura with the relationship between the two brothers which Jumanji lacked. I was emotionally invested in the dispute between these siblings because it feels so authentic. Boys do fight amongst themselves, and I could see this kind of animosity developing between two brothers particularly when they are dealing with a divorce. Robin WIlliams’ frustration with his father felt hollow and without proper justification. 3. Practical magic - There are so many things in Zathura that are handled with practical effects. We get reptilian aliens, and giant robots that look spectacular (thanks to Stan Winston Studios.) Because they establish so much with practical effects, it becomes easy to buy in when they have CGI added to the mix. Jumanji on the other hand includes only a handful of clumsy practical effects that look like something I could throw together without much effort, and then they include boatloads of CGI that is laughably bad. 4. Kids these days - This is one area where the two films are probably on par with each other. It’s so hard to find good child actors and both of these movies didn’t manage that feat. Just like I found the whining kids in Jumanji annoying, the bickering and whining of Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo was also obnoxious. I do think these characters are fleshed out a bit more, and their established personalities actually affect how they play the game, but I can’t help being somewhat bothered by them. 5. Hardened adults - One of the flaws in Jumanji is that they hired Robin Williams, who is a comedic genius, to play the serious role of a traumatized guy who has spent decades separated from the world. Here they bring in Dax Shepard, and it works better. I wouldn’t say Dax is exactly a brilliant actor, but at least no one went to this family film hoping that he would start cracking jokes or doing impressions. 6. Lesson learned - Because these movies are ostensibly kids movies, or at least targeted towards a younger demographic, it's nice when there’s actually something a child could come to understand better after watching the film. Zathura pulls that off to some degree, as we see the brothers learning to love one another and get past some of their issues. Jumanji struggles to even convince me that there should be any apologies from the kid, or anything learned by him, as his father is the antagonist in their relationship. I don’t want to give the impression that Zathura is a masterpiece. This is still not my favorite story because it involves a lot of random stuff happening to our protagonists rather than them actively doing things to further the plot. As I said, the kids still were a bit obnoxious in this movie, and that took away some of my enjoyment as well. In fact, even though I think Zathura is much better than Jumanji, both of them pale in comparison to the modern sequels that have completely reinvented the franchise. However, if I’m going to watch one of the first two films, it’s going to be this one every single time.

    It’s kind of interesting how Zathura did so much to duplicate everything that happened in Jumanji, and yet managed to do it all better. This isn’t a great film, but it is a vast improvement on the mess that is Jumanji. So, rather than a straight review of Zathura, I’d like to do a comparative analysis of why this movie works where Jumanji fails: 1. Delay of game - I appreciate that they give some reasons for all the delays between the kids taking turns in Zathura. In Jumanji, I kept asking “Why don’t they just roll the dice right as fast as possible?!” and the only answer the script gave was “Because we need the movie to happen.” Here we have bickering brothers, we have the board blown away or stolen, and we have a slightly more complex way of taking turns than just rolling a pair of dice. 2. Family drama - There are some interesting things done in Zathura with the relationship between the two brothers which Jumanji lacked. I was emotionally invested in the dispute between these siblings because it feels so authentic. Boys do fight amongst themselves, and I could see this kind of animosity developing between two brothers particularly when they are dealing with a divorce. Robin WIlliams’ frustration with his father felt hollow and without proper justification. 3. Practical magic - There are so many things in Zathura that are handled with practical effects. We get reptilian aliens, and giant robots that look spectacular (thanks to Stan Winston Studios.) Because they establish so much with practical effects, it becomes easy to buy in when they have CGI added to the mix. Jumanji on the other hand includes only a handful of clumsy practical effects that look like something I could throw together without much effort, and then they include boatloads of CGI that is laughably bad. 4. Kids these days - This is one area where the two films are probably on par with each other. It’s so hard to find good child actors and both of these movies didn’t manage that feat. Just like I found the whining kids in Jumanji annoying, the bickering and whining of Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo was also obnoxious. I do think these characters are fleshed out a bit more, and their established personalities actually affect how they play the game, but I can’t help being somewhat bothered by them. 5. Hardened adults - One of the flaws in Jumanji is that they hired Robin Williams, who is a comedic genius, to play the serious role of a traumatized guy who has spent decades separated from the world. Here they bring in Dax Shepard, and it works better. I wouldn’t say Dax is exactly a brilliant actor, but at least no one went to this family film hoping that he would start cracking jokes or doing impressions. 6. Lesson learned - Because these movies are ostensibly kids movies, or at least targeted towards a younger demographic, it's nice when there’s actually something a child could come to understand better after watching the film. Zathura pulls that off to some degree, as we see the brothers learning to love one another and get past some of their issues. Jumanji struggles to even convince me that there should be any apologies from the kid, or anything learned by him, as his father is the antagonist in their relationship. I don’t want to give the impression that Zathura is a masterpiece. This is still not my favorite story because it involves a lot of random stuff happening to our protagonists rather than them actively doing things to further the plot. As I said, the kids still were a bit obnoxious in this movie, and that took away some of my enjoyment as well. In fact, even though I think Zathura is much better than Jumanji, both of them pale in comparison to the modern sequels that have completely reinvented the franchise. However, if I’m going to watch one of the first two films, it’s going to be this one every single time.

  • Jul 13, 2020

    Its story is identical to Jumanji, but set in space. However, it ends up as a great entertainment for all ages, with vibrant and imaginative visuals, and an emotionally rewarding narrative.

    Its story is identical to Jumanji, but set in space. However, it ends up as a great entertainment for all ages, with vibrant and imaginative visuals, and an emotionally rewarding narrative.

  • Jun 27, 2020

    Stewert is under used but it is cute. Not Jumanji good, but fun.

    Stewert is under used but it is cute. Not Jumanji good, but fun.

  • Jun 26, 2020

    Good watch, will likely watch again, and can recommend (especially for Jumanji fans). This is basically Jumanji in space, but a tale of two brothers style. Josh Hutcherson (Pita, Hunger Games) show off his young acting skills, Kristen Stewart is the hot sister, and Dax Shepherd rolls in as not Alan Parrish. While there is certainly enough comedic tension and action, I do think it would have been an improvement for the other two characters to join the game instead of just being perpetual victims. All said and done, but it's usually a pretty entertaining movie.

    Good watch, will likely watch again, and can recommend (especially for Jumanji fans). This is basically Jumanji in space, but a tale of two brothers style. Josh Hutcherson (Pita, Hunger Games) show off his young acting skills, Kristen Stewart is the hot sister, and Dax Shepherd rolls in as not Alan Parrish. While there is certainly enough comedic tension and action, I do think it would have been an improvement for the other two characters to join the game instead of just being perpetual victims. All said and done, but it's usually a pretty entertaining movie.

  • Jun 03, 2020

    Best movie from my childhood 10/10 fuck Jumanji this is the real shit right here

    Best movie from my childhood 10/10 fuck Jumanji this is the real shit right here

  • May 17, 2020

    Jumanji in space. the kids will like it and that is about it.

    Jumanji in space. the kids will like it and that is about it.

  • Apr 09, 2020

    cool but not that great!felt boring after a while the moment when there sister wakes gets entertaining that comes at almost after 1hr so yaa screenplay was teribble but acting was great!overall a one time watch.

    cool but not that great!felt boring after a while the moment when there sister wakes gets entertaining that comes at almost after 1hr so yaa screenplay was teribble but acting was great!overall a one time watch.

  • Feb 12, 2020

    Felt like a ripoff of Jumanji at first, but halfway through and you'll realize that it wasn't. It's a family-friendly movie filled with adventure.

    Felt like a ripoff of Jumanji at first, but halfway through and you'll realize that it wasn't. It's a family-friendly movie filled with adventure.