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"ZATHURA"
(2005) (Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None None Moderate *Heavy Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Extreme None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Adventure: Two young brothers must overcome their differences to survive and get back home when an old board game ends up sending them and their house deep into outer space where they face perilous moments and dangerous aliens.
PLOT:
Danny (JONAH BOBO) is a 6-year-old kid with low self-esteem stemming from his parents' divorce as well as his older brother, Walter (JOSH HUTCHERSON), viewing him as nothing but a cheating, juvenile pest. Danny desperately wants Walter to play with him, but the 10-year-old with rather play catch with their Dad (TIM ROBBINS).

Unfortunately, he's too busy with work and briefly has to leave them under the care of their teenage sister Lisa (KRISTEN STEWART) who wants to stay in bed until her date that night and tells her brothers not to bother her unless the house is burning down. Little does she know, however, what sort of adventure they're about to embark on.

That starts when Danny discovers an old board game in their dad's new, but old house. Titled "Zathura: A Space Adventure," it's a simple game where with the push of a button, mechanical figures lurch across the board with their final stopping point ejecting a card with a message written on it. The first warns the boys to take evasive action and that's because a meteor shower suddenly rains down onto their living room, sending them flying for cover in the fireplace.

They then discover that Danny's first move with the game has sent them, their home and a small piece of ground below it somewhere deep into outer space. Realizing they must play the game through till they reach the end to try to get home, the brothers alternate turns. With that resulting in Lisa being frozen in suspended animation, a wayward astronaut (DAX SHEPARD) ending up in their company, and a race of lizard-like, meat eating aliens appearing on their doorstep, the brothers must put aside their differences and work together to survive and get back home.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many preteens -- especially boys -- will want to.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For fantasy action and peril, and some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JONAH BOBO plays a 6-year-old kid who feels like he's second-best in every aspect to his older brother who he desperately wants to like him. Once he inadvertently sends them into outer space, he must overcome his doubts and fears to save the day.
  • JOSH HUTCHERSON plays his 10-year-old brother who sees his sibling as a cheating, worthless loser and wants nothing to do with him. He eventually changes his mind once they get in over their heads due to the game upending their lives.
  • DAX SHEPARD plays an astronaut who's been stuck in outer space in the game for years, and tries to help the boys get through the game.
  • KRISTEN STEWART plays the boys' teenage sister who doesn't have time for their "emergency" and only wants to stay in bed until her date that night. She ends up frozen for much of the film and later must face the same peril as the boys.
  • TIM ROBBINS plays their busy father who has to work when his boys want him to play with them.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this sci-fi based, action/adventure movie. Profanity consists of a handful of mostly minor expletives, but one is a slang term using male genitals (in a non-biological fashion) while various colorful phrases are present. A possible sexual reference is made (a father thinks so, but the daughter who said it doesn't), while that teen is seen in some rather skimpy shorts around the house.

    All sorts of perilous and potentially suspenseful and/or scary moments are present (for younger kids, but probably not to older ones) as the boys encounter a defective and dangerous robot as well as menacing, lizard-like aliens who are after them, as well as various other space dangers and adventures. Various forms of property damage occur during those scenes, while some of those aliens are presumably killed.

    Tense family material involves a boy who has low self-esteem because his older brother wants nothing to do with him, while there's brief talk of their parents being divorced and their father always having to work. Bad attitudes are present (mainly in the form of that brother toward his younger sibling), as are some bits of potentially imitative behavior.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there is some of that late in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Walter has a bad attitude toward his younger brother in most every aspect including but not limited to the following: He isn't happy when their dad says it's time for Danny to play catch with him (meaning Walter has to stop). He catches a ball that's thrown to Danny. He says his dad would have more time to spend with him if Danny wasn't around. He calls Danny a baby. He walks in and turns off the video game that Danny is playing and turns on regular TV, but won't leave it on a cartoon that Danny wants to watch. He accuses him of cheating in all games. He doesn't want to play with him (throwing the baseball or the board game, etc.) and he tells Danny that it's his (Danny's) fault that their mom and dad got divorced.
  • Rather than getting up to watch her younger brothers like her father asked her, Lisa goes back to bed (in the afternoon) with some headsets on.
  • The boys yell at each other quite loudly while arguing.
  • Although never personified, the Zorgons have bad attitudes for wanting to kill and apparently eat the boys.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers, but older kids probably won't have that reaction (and will see it more as fun adventure).
  • As Danny hides inside the closed dumbwaiter, Walter suddenly opens the door and then sends him down to the scary basement inside it. Once there, Danny sees the menacing looking, large furnace and then slowly makes his way through the large room, hearing various noises that unsettle him. He then runs but can't get through a locked fence gate and thus crawls through some shelving.
  • After Danny activates the game, the first result occurs and that's a meteor shower that rains through the living room, first burning a small hole through the playing card and floor. The house then starts shaking, followed by bigger meteors raining down through the ceiling and blasting into the furniture and through the floor. The two eventually scramble into the open fireplace for cover, with Danny grabbing his caged gerbil in the process. When it's done, they open the front door to find that their house (and part of the ground below it) is now floating in outer space.
  • After another game move, the boys see Lisa's bathroom door frost over. When they open the door, they find the room completely frozen over, including Lisa who's frozen in a standing pose (she's later okay).
  • After getting a card that reads "Your robot is defective," the boys hear sounds and see the shadow of something approaching, but it just turns out to be a small, toy robot. But the robot then suddenly grows huge, has glowing red eyes and states that it's detected alien life forms that it must destroy. It then lifts off the floor and flies toward them, crashing into the wall where it's stuck. As the boys try to play the game again, the robot yanks one arm lose and then snaps its metallic claw at Walter as he tries to retrieve the game's key that's near the robot. It then uses a large, spinning blade to cut itself free and then chases after only Walter, crashing through door frames in the process. It then blasts out a window and into outer space, but then crashes back inside the house through another window and crashes into another wall. Walter slowly approaches it, with it coming back to life and then coming after Walter with its large spinning blade. Yet, at the same time, the next turn of the game means the house is extremely close to a sun and is being pulled in closer by the strong gravity field (that turns the house sideways, with Danny trying to hold on while "floating" off the wall and Walter trying to avoid the robot's blade that it repeatedly swings at him). The robot then grabs Walter's foot, but ends up crashing into the basement, all while Danny loses his grip and flies toward the window that he smacks into with a thud (played for laughs as his face slides down the glass).
  • Walter slowly walks down into the basement where the dangerous robot has ended up crashing. Part of it then suddenly pops open and starts to repair itself.
  • Another game turn reveals a card that the Zorgons are coming. Bright lights and loud sounds then surround the house (the kids hold their ears) when an energy ball from a Zorgon ship blasts into the kitchen. Another blasts halfway up into the fireplace and the boys scramble out of the open bottom of that just as a resultant fireball races out behind them. There are more such blasts and resultant explosions.
  • Another game turn reveals a card that says rescue the astronaut. The boys then look scared as they hear something at the door. The doorbell then rings (for laughs) and the door then bursts open to reveal the astronaut.
  • The astronaut says the Zorgons never stop eating meat and then reminds Danny that he's meat.
  • Another game turn reveals a card that ejects Walter from the house, but we then see him holding onto the edge of a hole in the roof. Danny tries to rescue him, but fails, with Walter then losing his grip and flying off into space. The astronaut then dons his jet pack and flies out after him, leaving Danny alone and scared (but the two then return and are fine).
  • Danny worries when part of the house is gone, apparently taking his gerbil and the game with it.
  • Various huge Zorgon harpoons smash through and grab the house as two spaceships seize the house and pull it close. Some of those harpoons come close to hitting the astronaut and the kids.
  • The kids listen to the astronaut on a walkie-talkie as he goes to retrieve the game. They hear him comment on there being so many Zorgons and then hear muffled sounds and then nothing. They then hear footsteps approaching their closed door and see a shadow pass by beneath it before coming back. The door then opens, but it's just the astronaut returning.
  • With no other alternative, the group sends Danny down into the basement via the dumbwaiter, all as Lisa hears a Zorgon ascending the stairs toward them, and then sees partial views of its reptilian head (eyes, teeth and long, flickering tongue). During this, Danny's descent is halted and he becomes impatient, rocking the dumbwaiter that causes the old gears to break, sending him plummeting in it toward the basement. The astronaut manages to catch the rope before Danny hits, but silently holds it as a Zorgon again starts coming up the stairs toward them.
  • Danny slowly makes his way through the basement where he spots several menacing looking Zorgons across the room. He then boards the Zorgon ship docked to the house, trying to get the game without being spotted. His walkie-talkie, however, alerts a menacing-looking Zorgon that comes around the corner, only to find just Danny's walkie-talkie (that it then smashes).
  • Danny encounters a goat with multiple eyes that stick out of its head (on a Zorgon ship).
  • Danny then sees the game on a conveyor belt headed for a fire and tries to grab it, but a Zorgon shovels it up. It's distracted and Danny manages to get the game, but steps in some green goo that then leaves a trail of green footsteps on the floor leading to the dumbwaiter into which Danny is crawling. A Zorgon up top, however, cuts the line, causing the dumbwaiter to crash to the floor, alerting the other Zorgons that then race after Danny who manages to squeeze through some open steps and barely avoid them. One's long tongue briefly flicks out and grabs the back of his head before Walter pulls him to safety.
  • Danny and Walter hear the sounds of violence behind them in the closed basement, while two Zorgons have cut them off at the top of the stairs. The reactivated robot then comes out and grabs Walter around the neck with its claw, but he pulls out the reprogram card that then makes it leave him alone but go after the Zorgons.
  • A Zorgon on the steps is suddenly above the brothers, but a piano suddenly slides down the steps, striking and presumably killing the monster.
  • More Zorgon ships fire upon the house (resulting in more explosions) as a black hole suddenly appears and starts sucking up everything into it, including those ships (some of which explode), parts of the house, Lisa and then Walter. Danny then closes his eyes and when he opens them, he's back inside his house and everything is back to normal.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Unseen sci-fi weapons: Used by the Zorgons to fire upon and damage the boys' house.
  • We see a Zorgon carrying what looks like a sword on several occasions.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You're suck a d*ck," I'm hooking up with my boyfriend," "It sucks," "You're such a baby," "(You) shut up," "Freak out," "Dude," "Give me a juice box, be-atch" (jokingly said by Walter to a robot), "You don't have to be such a jerk," "We're screwed," "Are you insane?" "Dummy," "Do we have an understanding?" "What the heck does that mean?" "Dude, you're meat," "That totally sucks," "Dawg," "I passed through a time sphincter," "It's just a card, bug-nuts," "Hey mouthpiece," "Whomp some more Zorgon butt," "Jeez," "Freezing my ass off," "Savages," "You suck," "Who the hell are you?" "That was awesome" and "God, I suck."
  • Standing on the edge of their house in outer space, Walter spits to check the depth below him, but his spit simply floats away into space.
  • Thinking he can thaw out Lisa from her frozen solid state, Walter takes some hair spray and a lighter and creates a mini-flamethrower (but the flames don't touch her).
  • The astronaut pours lots of lighter fluid on the couch and then sets it on fire, getting the boys to help him push it out the door and into space (as a burning decoy for the Zorgons to follow).
  • The astronaut belches several times while eating.
  • Needing to make a fire to draw the Zorgons back, the astronaut has the brothers break things (chairs, etc.) to make a fire in the kitchen.
  • Lisa wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • As Danny hides inside the closed dumbwaiter, Walter suddenly opens the door (seen from the inside).
  • The robot suddenly moves after it's slammed into and become stuck in a wall.
  • Walter slowly walks down into the basement where the dangerous robot has ended up crashing. Part of it then suddenly pops open and starts to repair itself.
  • A huge harpoon suddenly blasts through a wall.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and action-oriented music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ck"), a possible one for sex ("hooking up"), 1 ass, 1 hell, 4 uses of "God," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 use of "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Lisa tells her dad that she's "hooking up" with her boyfriend at 8 pm that night, with him saying that phrase makes him uncomfortable (she replies that it doesn't mean anything).
  • We see Lisa in some very small shorts (and a top) when she gets out of bed and then later again several times (including when she's frozen standing upright -- literally -- for part of the film).
  • SPOILER ALERT: After learning that the astronaut is really just an older version of Walter (through some time warp sort of occurrence) and having romantically fallen under his spell, Lisa says, "Oh my God. And I wanted to..." (but doesn't complete the thought that could range from kissing to having sex with him, but none of that's ever clarified).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Walter has a bad attitude toward his younger brother in most every aspect including but not limited to the following: He isn't happy when their dad says it's time for Danny to play catch with him (meaning Walter has to stop). He catches a ball that's thrown to Danny. He says his dad would have more time to spend with him if Danny wasn't around. He calls Danny a baby. He walks in and turns off the video game that Danny is playing and turns on regular TV, but won't leave it on a cartoon that Danny wants to watch. He accuses him of cheating in all games. He doesn't want to play with him (throwing the baseball or the board game, etc.) and he tells Danny that it's his (Danny's) fault that their mom and dad got divorced.
  • Due to Walter's actions, Danny has low self-esteem and thinks that his older brother is better at everything than he is.
  • Walter complains that all their dad ever does is work.
  • There's brief talk of the split-time the kids spend with their divorced parents. When Walter says he likes his mom's house better -- than his dad's new (but old) house -- their dad says that so does she and now it's hers.
  • The boys' father eventually yells at his boys after they keep pestering him and arguing about spending time with them (he yells that there's only one of him).
  • Danny asks his brother, "When did you get so mean?"
  • The boys yell at each other quite loudly while arguing.
  • The astronaut states he played the game 15 years ago with his brother, but then got stuck in it after wishing his brother never existed.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Due to Walter's actions, Danny has low self-esteem and thinks that his older brother is better at everything than he is.
  • Walter complains that all their dad ever does is work.
  • There's brief talk of the split-time the kids spend with their divorced parents. When Walter says he likes his mom's house better -- than his dad's new (but old) house -- their dad says that so does she and now it's hers.
  • Danny won't play again until Walter agrees to be nice to him (and that ploy works).
  • Walter tells Danny that it's his (Danny's) fault that their mom and dad got divorced.
  • The comment that there are some games you can't play alone.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Danny throws a baseball that accidentally hits Walter in the face. In response, Walter chases Danny through the house.
  • All sorts of property damage occurs as small meteors crash through the living room as a result of the game starting.
  • As the boys try to rouse Lisa from bed, she reflexively thrusts out her arm and accidentally hits Walter in the face.
  • A robot lifts off the floor and flies toward the boys, crashing into the wall where it's stuck. As the boys try to play the game again, the robot yanks one arm lose and then snaps its metallic claw at Walter as he tries to retrieve the game's key that's near the robot. It then uses a large, spinning blade to cut itself free and then chases after only Walter, crashing through door frames in the process. It then blasts out a window and into outer space, but then crashes back inside the house through another window and crashes into another wall. Walter slowly approaches it, with it coming back to life and then coming after Walter with its large spinning blade. Yet, at the same time, the next turn of the game means the house is extremely close to a sun and is being pulled in closer by the strong gravity field (that turns the house sideways, with Danny trying to hold on while "floating" off the wall and Walter trying to avoid the robot's blade that it repeatedly swings at him). The robot then grabs Walter's foot, but ends up crashing into the basement, all while Danny loses his grip and flies toward the window that he smacks into with a thud (played for laughs as his face slides down the glass).
  • Another game turn reveals a card that the Zorgons are coming. Bright lights and loud sounds then surround the house (the kids hold their ears) when an energy ball from a Zorgon ship blasts into the kitchen. Another blasts halfway up into the fireplace and the boys scramble out of the open bottom of that just as a resultant fireball races out behind them). There are more such blasts and resultant explosions.
  • The astronaut pours lots of lighter fluid on the couch and then sets it on fire, getting the boys to help him push it out the door and into space (as a burning decoy for the Zorgons to follow).
  • The astronaut grabs Walter by the arms/shoulders when he thinks he's going to do something stupid.
  • Needing to make a fire to draw the Zorgons back, the astronaut has the brothers break things (chairs, etc.) to make a fire in the kitchen.
  • Various huge Zorgon harpoons smash through and grab the house as two spaceships seize the house and pull it close. Some come close to hitting the astronaut and the kids.
  • A Zorgon smashes Danny's walkie-talkie.
  • Danny and Walter hear the sounds of violence behind them in the closed basement, while two Zorgons have cut them off at the top of the stairs. The reactivated robot then comes out and grabs Walter around the neck with its claw, but he pulls out the reprogram card that then makes it leave him alone but go after the Zorgons.
  • The robot chases after Zorgons and we then see their ships pulling away from the house (causing more property damage by yanking their harpoons out of it). The ships then collide and at least one explodes away from the house.
  • A Zorgon on the steps is suddenly above the brothers, but a piano suddenly slides down the steps, striking and killing the monster.
  • More Zorgon ships fire upon the house (resulting in more explosions) as a black hole suddenly appears and starts sucking up everything into it, including those ships (some of which explode).
  • A huge harpoon suddenly blasts through a wall.



  • Reviewed November 2, 2005 / Posted November 11, 2005

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