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Celebrate the 10th anniversary of this heart-racing science-fiction adventure with a special, all-new Blu-ray edition! Two squabbling brothers are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game discovered in the basement of their old house. On their fantastic journey, they are joined by a stranded astronaut and must survive meteor showers, hostile lizard-like aliens, a rocket-propelled robot who runs amok and an intergalactic spaceship battle. Unless they finish the game and reach the planet Zathura, they could be trapped in outer space forever.
- Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley commentary
- Featurette: The Making of Zathura
- Visual Effects Documentary
- The Cast of Zathura
- Zorgons, Robots and 'Frozen Lisa'
- Making the Game
- Miniatures and the World of Zathura
- The World of Chris van Allsburg
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Having grown up with this same sibling age dynamic (six and ten) I was not surprised at the amount of yelling, anger, and resentment that goes on between the two brothers. I was however surprised that anyone would find this sort of thing entertaining. While their divorced father (Tim Robbins playing the only sympathetic character in the film) is away at a meeting, the younger brother (Danny) finds an old Zathura game in the basement. Based on those old 1950's tin toys it involves two tin spaceships on a track racing around space. Each spin of the dial determines the distance the ship will move on that turn and a card is ejected detailing what happens to the ship at that point of space.
As Danny and Walter face the challenges of space they discover that they can work as a team and they even develop some affection for each other (a more unrealistic idea than anything they actually encounter in space).
Like the source book, the movie adaptation of "Zathura" targets kindergarten to Grade 5 children. Like "Sharkboy and Lavagirl", older viewers will find very little of interest other than a fun production design and nice effects.
Unfortunately "Zathura" it is not as pure as that film which uniquely refused to compromise its "for kids only" story. "Zathura" does compromise, as the producers attempt to expand their audience by creating an older sister (Lisa played by Kristen Stewart) who was not a character in the book. While Stewart is fine in this role and even provides some comic relief, it is rather disturbing that the producers chose to turn her into a pubescent sex object, blustering around the house in her underwear for most of the film. Van Allsburg's illustrations are the best part of his books but this image is not one than he has ever published.
The DVD has some excellent special features, which even older viewers will enjoy. The best is an interview with Van Allsburg in which he discusses his influences and his other books.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.