Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: David Koepp, Chris Van Allsburg (book)
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo and Dax Shepard
Think Jumanji set in space. Zathura: A Space Adventure is an innocent family-fun film that uproots an entire house and throws it into the centre of the universe, amidst man-eating lizard beings and meteor showers, to bring two brothers closer than they have ever been before.
After their parents’ divorce, Walter (Hutcherson) and Danny (Bobo) hang with their father in his new house, fighting over his attention and love. But when Danny comes across a board game that takes the entire house across the galaxy while their father is out on business, he leaves Walter and his older sister Lisa (Kirsten Stewart) a rather heavy obligation to protect each other from everything the board game throws their way.
While Zathura wows us with flying space objects and the large-scale nature of the space adventure, it’s the performances delivered by the two young leads (Josh Hutcherson’s being particularly impressive) that stand as the film’s strongest point. The script, however, disappoints in its predictability and quick solutions. In light of the film’s family-friendly tone and target audience, we can forgive the moving brotherly affections and character changes that we can see lightyears away. But when it comes to the film’s conclusion and the ways in which some of the dangers are eluded by the two boys, with the help of a lost astronaut (Shepard), we’re not so convinced.