Zathura: A Space Adventure
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: +1

In this sci-fi adventure set in the world of Jumanji and based on the best-selling book by childrens writer Chris Van Allsburg, Walter and Danny Budwing (Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo) are bickering brothers. While Walter craves Dannys attention and acceptance, Danny has no patience for Walters childish behavior. When their dad (Tim Robbins) leaves the house on an errand, the sibling rivalry grows more intense until Danny sends Walter into the dark and scary basement. There Walter discovers Zathura, a strange old game about spaceships and aliens, hidden away under the stairway. Danny reluctantly agrees to play, but as their spaceships begin to traverse the board, the pair discovers that Zathura magically transports their house into outer space. Whatever happens in the game happens in real life. Now the only way that the brothers can make it safely back to Earth is to work together to finish the game.

Zathura is a game that merges fantasy and reality while teaching its players valuable life lessons. In Zathura, the lesson is that one should love, appreciate and cooperate with the members of ones family. Danny learns this lesson as he goes from despising his younger brother at the beginning of the film to valuing and working with him at the end of the film. Danny also begins to understand his role as a teacher and helper to Walter. While its predecessor, Jumanji, was a well-balanced family film, Zathura has less to offer families. Though visually interesting, it suffers from a mediocre plot and lackluster acting. As a result it will not appeal much to adults or teens. Meanwhile, young children may be frightened by some of the threatening creatures and action peril. Still, the film has a positive message and despite instances of offensive language spoken by children, it earns a lukewarm recommendation from Preview.

Preview Reviewer: Shaun Daugherty
Distributor: Columbia

Crude Language: Few (2) times strong (-ss 1, b-tch 1)
Obscene Language: Several (6) times moderate (scr-w 1, s-ck 4, other 1)
Profanity: Several (7) times moderate (OMG 1, MG 1, G 5)
Violence: Several times mild (children throw football in the house and damage something; boy forces his brother into a dark and frightening basement; peril involving children in situations created in the game; explosions, fires, space threats, etc.); moderate (robot attacks children several times, alien ships fire weapons at the childrens house as it moves through space, aliens appear in the house and threaten to attack and eat the children)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times mild (a father warns his daughter about the risks of being out late with boys, girl flirts with an older man)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Lines between reality and fantasy are blurred as the children play the game, portrayal of strong argument and fighting between young brothers, portrayal of reconciliation, game has strange and magical powers that could be interpreted as occultic
Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Youths

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