Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Tim Robbins, Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart
Remember 10 years' worth of mummy's life lessons? Don't talk to strangers; don't do drugs; love your brother/sister/pet dog because mummy told you to do so? For those of you who forgot and those who can't quite find the time and energy to dole them out to your kids, Zathura: A Space Adventure awaits.
A Jumanji clone (also written by Chris Van Allsburg) set in space, Zathura'spremise is simple. Two children, 6-year-old Danny (Jonah Bobo) and 10-year-old Walter (Josh Hutcherson) are left unsupervised at home by workaholic father Tim Robbins. Their baby-sitter and older sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) is asleep leaving the two boys to wreak havoc at home. The warring brothers find a space adventure board game with a classic 50s look and get drawn into an adventure like Jumanji beyond the rings of Saturn.
Most parents might love Zathura for its attempts at a classic feel and for the manner in which it delicately sidesteps even remotely engaging confrontations to keep away from frightening the children in the cinema.
This is an easier movie to live through than Jumanji primarily because even the kids know that no one's really going to get hurt unlike the other game where the end was anybody's guess. And that is Zathura's primary failing: it talks down to the children in the manner all but the best children's films have done.
Zathura is so sterilised and baby proofed that after a point it felt like watching India play the seventh one-day of a series they won three matches ago. But what Zathura lacks most is the presence of Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst, besides a competent director.
With Tim Robbins being largely absent, this film lacks anchoring performances that might've driven the predictably boring plot forward.