Zathura Blu-ray Review

Actors: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Kristen Stewart, Dax Shepard, Tim Robbins
  • Director: Jon Favreau
  • Producers: Scott Kroopf, William Teitler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, Korean, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Dutch, Indonesian, Thai, English, Spanish, Japanese
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, French, Thai, Spanish, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: September 22, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: December 31, 2018
  • Run Time: 101 minutes

  •         As Jumanji was one of the vehicles to catapult Kirsten Dunst into celebrity, Zathura served the same purpose for Kristen Stewart and Josh Hutcherson ten years later. This was also a chance for director Jon Favreau to try his hand at a spectacle-filled adventure film prior to delving into the world of comic book films. Zathura is part of another interesting trend in the actor-turned-filmmaker’s work; this film followed the success of Elf, and Favreau’s next film is a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. I once heard Favreau say that he wants to make movies that his kids can enjoy, and that seems to be a genre he thrives in.


            Zathura is no exception, in some regards. The action is fantastic, with effects that blend both digital and practical. It is a space adventure that moves at a furious pace, making for exciting viewing. Beneath this shiny exterior, the narrative is a bit thin, and the movie ends with a strange and unconvincing plot twist. Still, it is easy to see how this level of excitement ultimately led to Favreau directing Iron Man. Zathura even has a robot, voiced by the legendary Frank Oz.


            Zathura’s narrative takes any even more simplistic approach than Jumanji to the story, providing no background for where the game came from. The basic premise remains the same; two brothers (Jonah Bobo and Hutcherson) start a board game with drastic consequences at nearly every turn. While Jumanji was a jungle-themed game, Zathura takes us into outer space. After the first couple of turns, the kids discover that they have sent their entire home into space while their father (Tim Robbins) is at work, with only their oblivious older sister (Stewart) along to help. They do receive some assistance against the onslaught of robot and alien attacks with the arrival of a stranded astronaut (Dax Shepard). 


            This 10-year Anniversary Edition Blu-ray comes with a handful of exclusive new extras, half of which are mostly promoting the upcoming Goosebumps movie, though they do discuss Zathura within these extras. There is also a motion storybook of which is read by the author, Chris Van Allsburg. Also included are the seven featurettes previously included in the past release, as well as the commentary track with Favreau and co-producer Peter Billingsley.


    Entertainment Value: 8/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 7/10

    Historical Significance:  6.5/10

    Special Features: 7.5/10

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