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 the basement of their old house. (Sony Pictures)
Most of the children’s movies that I have seen in recent years seem to want to cater to the adults with a lot of humor that either relates to pop culture, other movies, or sexual innuendo. I understand the business mentality behind it, but I think we are giving our children an inferior product when we go to a movie that entertains us more than them. At times I feel like children’s movies have forgotten about the kids all together. Movies like The Sandlot, The Bad News Bears (I cannot wait to see the what they did with the remake), or even E.T. seem to be a thing of the past. I was very excited when I first saw a preview of Zathura and really wanted it to be a good movie, but I was cautious not to see it with over-inflated expectations.
Zathura is unrealistic and unapologetic about it. It is predictable and far-fetched… and, I loved every second of it. I have not seen a children’s movie this good in years. The movie uses imagination as a central theme and all the characters really help deliver a great story. The kids that were cast fit the roles perfectly.
The special effects were believable and fit the movie while not making graphics a centerpiece. The overall message of being nice to your siblings came shinning through. The theme of parents not having enough time for their kids hit its mark, too. Tim Robbins was excellent as the father, even though he was only in the movie for the introduction of the characters, and he really help set the kids on the roles they would play throughout the movie. The humor was great, the laughs kept on coming, and it felt like a true story.
I love movies that stimulate the imagination, especially in an era where videogames and movies seem to corral the imagination of kids to confined spaces. I also think that a lot of producers can learn from this movie. Maybe they’ll understand that adults still have a kid somewhere inside of them and they can reach that adult or teen audience if they have a great product like this movie. I did not have the pleasure of reading the original book, but I can only hope that the movie captured the magic. I not only recommend you watch this movie but I urge you to buy the DVD. If you don’t have kids, it still makes a great gift.