DVD + Blu-ray
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
In Columbia Pictures' heart-racing sci-fi adventure Zathura, two squabbling brothers are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game they 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 run amok and an intergalactic spaceship battle. Unless they finish the game and reach the planet Zathura, they could be trapped in outer space forever.
Zathura, a smart and stylish kid's adventure, launches into action when Danny (Jonah Bobo) twists the key of a dusty science fiction game--a game that unleashes a localized meteor shower and wrenches Danny's house into orbit around a distant ringed planet, bringing Danny's brother Walter (Josh Hutcherson, Kicking and Screaming) and sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart, Panic Room) along. Soon a defective robot, a rangy astronaut (Dax Shepard, Without a Paddle), and an alien spaceship enter the picture. Only by completing the game can the kids return their house to its proper space-time coordinates, but the game board falls into the hands of some nasty, carnivorous lizards. Zathura has some obligatory emotional conflict and resolution between the two brothers, but that's pretty much beside the point; what makes Zathura a delight is the wonderful design, the skillful escalation of disasters, and the adroit direction of Jon Favreau (Elf), who is quickly becoming the go-to guy for mass-market movies with wit and timing. Some situations may be too intense for younger kids; Favreau ratchets up the suspense at a few points. Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg (Jumanji). Also featuring Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption). --Bret Fetzer
Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley audio commentary
Race to the Black Planet: A Visual Effects Documentary
The Right Moves - The Making of Zathura
3 The Cast
7 The World of Chris Van Allsburg
Zorgons, Robots and Frozen Lisa
Making the Game
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As others here have said, the language used by the two boys in the movie (10 and 7) is a little disconcerting. However, they use the same words I was exposed to at that age, and comparable to the language Michael is exposed to at home. Michael didn't walk out of the theater cursing, so that part of the movie did not bother me.
The scare factor is somewhat intense. The predictable monsters don't show up until the final two reels and aren't what I'd call terrifying, although that's the part of the movie that had Michael cowering. There's also a big clunky '50s-style robot, but when you find out who provides the voice you'll realize that this wasn't meant to be terrifying -- not if anything to say about it Jon Favreau had. The images of the house floating through space, alongside asteroids and suns, is what will really stand out for the younger viewer.
This is basically a kids' movie directed by Jon Favreau, so naturally it's going to seem odd. Based on the uncomfortably short shorts worn by the teenage girl in the movie (and she has nothing else to do at all), I'd say the target audience is boys 9 to 12. There's also a surprisingly deep plot twist involving another game player that the boys meet as their house drifts through space. I had trouble explaining that to my nephew, although his grandmother didn't understand it either.
My final verdict is that it's safe to take a smaller child (6-ish) to this movie, and they will not take anything negative away from the experience. It's no loss if you make them wait another three years before seeing it, though.
Here's the plot. Two brothers decide to play an old wind up board game found in the basement. Every time they come to an event on the game it comes to life. This being a sci-fi game those events come in the forms of a rampaging robot, menacing aliens, a wayward astronaut, meteor storms and other sorts of mayhem that systematically trash their house and challenge the brothers to outrun or out-think their way out of every situation. In the process the brothers build a stronger connection with each other that ends with a very satisfying, even if ultimately stereotypical, happy ending.
The story is laid out in such a way where the viewer is learning new things as the plot moves forward. The set up of the characters and their lives, playing Zathura, finding solutions on the way. All of this is done in a way that empathizes with the point of view of the kids. Notice I didn't say "through their eyes". This isn't a movie trying to pander to younger audiences with goofy gimmicks. The storytelling is mature while at the same time very accessible. As an aside this story just isn't evolving around the family. There is a universe that unfolds from the game that resonates more than just being various creatures and events to build excitement. It comes out as a living, breathing entity of itself that feels like it will go on long after the boys finish with their game.
At its core this movie is a science fiction film, and the imagination put behind that element on Zathura is really nice. Since the game itself seems to be from the 50's era the robots and spaceships in the film have that nostalgic and classic sci-fi look. If you like the Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers look back in that day you will love this homage to the style. The alien baddies on the film, the Zorgons, are a pretty well developed concept with the creatures having a bit of depth in it more so than just a generic bad guy. They also are the coolest looking reptile alien I have seen.
The special effects for this movie are beyond excellent. Director Jon Favreau (of Iron Man fame) decided to use as much practical effects as possible and the end result is so visceral and tangible that it shames all of those movies who opt for pure CGI for their effects. Real walls come tumbling down. The rocketships and embattled house in space are real models. The explosions and flames are real. The Zorgons (designed by legendary Stan Winston in fact) have real actors in them along with animatronics. When you see a robot running in a kitchen knocking down dishes it's really a guy in a bulky costume slipping all over the floor and tearing up real props. Sure computer effects are used to touch up that robot and add digital backdrops. This amount of tactile interaction makes what you see feel a lot more real. It makes all the difference.
The acting is impressive and shows some real keen strategy in the casting. The youngest kid (played by Jonah Bobo) has the big eyed wonder that moms melt for and had that underdog demeanor that all younger brothers feel at one time or another. The older brother (played by Josh Hutcherson) is a classic "boy too old to be a kid and young to be a man yet trying to reach that plateau". Both child actors play off their parts with a kind of conviction to the part that impresses me when I see it in adult actors. They are playing kids with kid's complicated lives, and you believe that to the hilt. Then you have their sister (played by Kristen Stewart of Twilight fame). Her time on the screen is not as long as the brothers, but her interaction with them as the teenage sister sells the performance of that complicated relationship a teen would have with younger siblings. The only other main role was the astronaut (Dax Shepard). Dax plays the part with a natural and casual demeanor that says he's used to being in the middle of all the craziness. In other words the acting is as well produced as the special effects and story in my book.
Zathura didn't do too well in the box office with a lot of people dismissing it as Jumanji without the star power. More the pity, as this movie to me feels like it's much better than Jumanji's special effects-laden showcase, yet many didn't get a chance to experience that. Now you can get the movie on a Blu-Ray and DVD combo pack, and it includes all of the great special features found on the DVD along with an exclusive extra. Visually I don't think you can get any better on this sort of film. The details from the live action and models really come out. This BD-50 disk (announced region free) is packed with language options with a DTS-HD English 5.1 master audio track and 5.1 Dolby Digital in five languages (Spanish, French, Japanese, Portugese and Thai). Subtitles are in all these languages plus Chinese (traditional Mandarin I think), Korean, Dutch, Indonesian and Arabic. Here are the features:
Audio Commentary - With director Jon Favreau and producer Peter Billingsley. They have really good chemistry on this commentary and you get a score of interesting information as well as some entertaining banter.
The Right Moves: The Making of Zathura - Goes over the book the movie is based on and how the production wished to honor that book. They also go over the human aspect of the film and in capturing that element in the story.
Race to the Black Planet: A Visual Effects Documentary - This is a really cool making of featurette that shows how they did all of those practical effects I was talking about as well as the CGI and digital elements of the film. You get to see some cool pre-production footage and how they tweaked it in post production.
The Cast - Actor profiles and their comments on making the film. Some cute anecdotes like how Bobo was loosing his baby teeth during filming and they had to get a bridge made for him.
Zorgons, Robots and Frozen Lisa - A featurette on Stan Winston and his company's contributions to the movie.
Making the Game - A little documentary on the game Zathura and what thoughts went behind designing it.
Miniatures - Remember when I said they used miniatures for the spaceships and exteriors of the house in space? Well here you get to see those efforts and get some insight on why they were the best choice.
The World of Chris Van Allsburg - Kind of a tribute to the author of the book the movie is based on. It goes through a little biography of Van Allsburg.
Race Through Space: Virtual Board Game - This is a Blu-Ray exclusive. While all the other featurettes will be on both Blu-Ray and DVD this one is only on the BD. This is a two player game where you race to beat your opponent on a digital board game by answering film related trivia questions.
Zathura is a grossly under-appreciated film that has gotten lots of good feedback from people who saw it, but unfortunately not many people actually did. Sci-fi fans, with families or without, do yourself a favor and get this flick. The Blu-Ray has a lot of great extras and will likely look awesome on top of that.
This movie was very similar to the Jumanji Blu-Ray. Both are presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio (no black bars at the top and bottom), both have excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound (great surround and sub-woofer bass), both are about 1 hour and 37 minutes long, both are about board games which affect reality, both with great special effects, and both with not-so-great video quality.
I give the audio a 10.0, but the video only 8.0, maybe 8.5. I had to make sure the blue light was on on my Blu-Ray player (Sony's do this when playing a Blu-Ray disc), but realized since I was hearing DTS-HD Master Audio, I did have the Blu-Ray disc in, and not the DVD, which is included in the case. I just didn't think the video quality was great, like it should be on a Blu-Ray disc.
If you've read some of my other reviews, and noticed these two movies' video quality being inconsistent, I recently watched a regular DVD in my Blu-Ray player, and thought it looked pretty good. These two movies are not much better, if at all.
Zathura might be a little better than Jumanji (video quality).
This was my first time watchint Zathura, and I thought it was pretty good.