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Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: Based on the best-selling book by the acclaimed children's writer Chris Van Allsburg ("The Polar Express," "Jumanji"), Zathura is a heart-racing sci-fi adventure about two squabbling brothers who are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game they discovered in theBased on the best-selling book by the acclaimed children's writer Chris Van Allsburg ("The Polar Express," "Jumanji"), Zathura is a heart-racing sci-fi adventure about two squabbling brothers who are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game they discovered in the basement of their old house. (Sony Pictures) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Zathura is a rarity: a stellar fantasy that faces down childhood anxieties with feet-on-the-ground maturity.
  2. 75
    Will work better for younger viewers than older ones. There's not much plot to absorb and there's plenty of action, so this is the kind of spectacle that will appeal to those without long attention spans.
  3. Flawless comic timing and vivid imagination power this rollicking sequel to "Jumanji."
  4. Neither pandering nor dull, Zathura plays exactly like a no-limits replica of the kind of space adventure that imaginative kids left to their own devices might enact.
  5. Reviewed by: Ryan Devlin
    63
    There's nary a smidgen of adult humor, so parents might find things a bit on the dull side at times, but in the end they will likely thank Favreau in droves for making a film that is at least certain not to give them a headache.
  6. 38
    Rarely is a movie audience asked to put up with so much noise for such a thankless payoff.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 26
  2. Negative: 5 out of 26
  1. DanL.
    Nov 10, 2005
    10
    Awesome movie with great special effects and a great message.
  2. TheHams
    Nov 14, 2005
    8
    This movie was a magical romp. It was entertaining, the only boring part being the unnecessary stealth/thriller scene aboard the This movie was a magical romp. It was entertaining, the only boring part being the unnecessary stealth/thriller scene aboard the "Zorgon"'s ship, but even that was necessary to offer some variety. I highly recommend this film. It's not just for family. In fact, I don't recommend this for younger children: in the first 5 minutes, an 8-year-old kid intentionally says the "D-word" (and that's not the end of the swearing). Expand
  3. Mar 28, 2015
    8
    What makes Zathura so great, beyond the incredible visual designs, tense challenges, and a great director, is the fact that it was adaptedWhat makes Zathura so great, beyond the incredible visual designs, tense challenges, and a great director, is the fact that it was adapted from a Chris Van Allburg book. The Polar Express was a visionary adventure, and Jumanji, family fun. Zathura doesn't get to be as thrilling and masterful as the animated film by Robert Zemeckis, but innovates ingredients from Jumanji, while at the same time creating new ones. It is a movie of great adventure, infinite inventiveness, and a screenplay that will please anyone in the whole family. Jon Favreau has an unlimited supply of audacity and he applies every bit of that to Zathura Expand
  4. MarkB.
    Jan 4, 2006
    7
    After the past comes the future, after The Flintstones came The Jetsons, and after Jumanji came this. Both Zathura and Jumanji were based on After the past comes the future, after The Flintstones came The Jetsons, and after Jumanji came this. Both Zathura and Jumanji were based on children's books by Polar Express author Chris Van Allsburg, who exploits opposite ends of the same premise: kids get sucked into an unfamiliar, potentially deadly world or universe by playing a mysterious, old-school board game. But while Jumanji was a rather nasty piece of work that relied all too heavily on its unconvincing special effects, Zathura is a surprisingly effective entertainment. Perhaps the director made the difference: Jumanji helmsman Joe Johnston specializes almost exclusively in SFX films (The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park 3) while Zathura's Jon Favreau is first and foremost an actor, which (along with this film's modest budget) allows him to focus on characterizations as he tells the story of two bickering brothers (Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) who learn some valuable Life Lessons as the game literally whisks them and their house into outer space, where they're forced to do battle with meteors and Zorgons. Favreau makes excellent visual use of light and darkness in building tension and suspense, gets a hilarious performance from Dax Sheppard, who both channels and parodies a slightly dissipated Harrison Ford as a stranded astronaut the boys encounter, and benefits from a solid script that plays fair with the audience as it plants seemingly insignificant clues and plot details that later bloom with some very surprising and satisfying payoffs. Minus points, however, go to Zathura for its noticeable strain of sexism; we see the boys' father (Tim Robbins) but never his mother (which makes the film's choice of golden oldie for its closing credits theme both peculiar and puzzling), and their big sister is depicted as a clueless, boy-crazy ninny who, in the script's one unconvincing aspect, is kept out of the loop as much as can be gotten away with. Nevertheless, Zathura is a witty, diverting thrill ride for audiences of all ages...and if you want evidence to convince your kids that board games are way cooler than video games, it's the perfect audio-visual aid! Expand
  5. Jun 11, 2012
    6
    Its actually a really hearty movie with fantastic effects and great use of the story, even if it can be really predictable. Its still fun to watch.
  6. Apr 28, 2013
    5
    Average not great, it gets so annoying with these 2 brothers, although it has a great visuals but the important thing is the message beneathAverage not great, it gets so annoying with these 2 brothers, although it has a great visuals but the important thing is the message beneath this boring movie. Expand
  7. PatC.
    Apr 24, 2006
    0
    The dialogue is so atrociously written, the interplay so out of joint, and the musical scoring so ham-handed as to extinguish any spark of The dialogue is so atrociously written, the interplay so out of joint, and the musical scoring so ham-handed as to extinguish any spark of originality. It's worse than bad, it's nothing. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews

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