Zathura Parent Guide
A game that's out of this world.
Parent Movie Review
Video games might lose their appeal if toy makers could find a way to make all board games as interactive as Zathura. The antique, metal playing surface, outfitted with a windup key and tiny rocket ships, sends the players literally shooting into space.
Unfortunately, Danny (Jonah Bobo) has no idea what the consequences will be when he finds the game hidden beneath the stairs in the family’s basement.
He and his older brother Walter (Josh Hutcherson) have been left in the care of their distracted, teenaged sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart), while dad (Tim Robbins) makes a quick dash to the office. Walter, a world-weary 10-year-old, jaded by the demands of fourth grade and the responsibilities of a girlfriend, isn’t interested in participating. He’d rather catch up on the sports highlights than play with the younger 6-year-old, especially since Danny has a reputation for cheating.
But when the first card pops out of the game board dispenser, warning the constantly bickering boys of an impending meteorite shower, the brothers know this isn’t going to be your average Monopoly game.
Flung into the far reaches of the universe, the siblings have to navigate their way home by taking turns spinning the controls. While hurtling back through the cosmos, they must side step a gravitational field, withstand an attack by heat-seeking Zorgons and gain an appreciation for one another. Luckily they get some help from a stranded astronaut (Dax Shepard) they find drifting through outer space.
The explosive onslaught from the Zorgons makes for some prolonged, intense moments of peril that may leave younger space travelers squirming in their seats. The script includes other scenes of suspense when a defective robot tries to annihilate the boys and meat-eating aliens clamber into the house looking for dinner—meaning anything human. It also results in an auditory assault on the eardrums.
Parents may have concerns with the kids’ rampant name calling, including the use of some sexual slang. Warning children about the real hazards of soaking the couch in lighter fluid or using a blow torch may also be important for impressionable youngsters.
Yet while the film bogs down in a time warp during part of the journey, the director manages to pick up the pace by the end of the film giving Danny, Walter and many audience members a romping, galactic adventure.Directed by Jon Favreau. Starring Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins. Running time: 113 minutes. Theatrical release November 10, 2005. Updated September 22, 2015
Rating & Content Info
Why is Zathura rated PG? Zathura is rated PG by the MPAA for fantasy actions and perils, and some language.
Although the film steers clear of any sexual depictions or drug use, Dad and Lisa have a brief discussion about sexual activity before he heads to the office. Left to baby-sit, Lisa’s patience with the boys’ constant bickering begins to wear thin especially when Walter scares his brother by locking him in a tight, dark space. Once in space, the house is bombarded with meteorites and firebombed by aliens while the boys try and play their way back home.
Page last updated September 22, 2015
Zathura Parents' Guide
What is Danny afraid of in his dad’s old house? How does he overcome that fear?
How does the relationship between Danny and Walter change during their adventures? Why is it sometimes difficult for siblings to get along? What things do you appreciate about your brothers or sisters?
The astronaut warns Walter about acting on ideas when he is angry. Why is it easier to make rash or foolish decisions when you are upset? What did the astronaut learn about making impulsive wishes?
The most recent home video release of Zathura movie is September 22, 2015. Here are some details…Home Video Notes: Zathura: A Space Adventure: 10th Anniversary Edition
Release Date: 22 September 2015
Zathura: A Space Adventure releases to home video in a 10th Anniversary Edition. Bonus features include:
- Commentary with Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley
- The Right Moves: The Making of 'Zathura'
- The Cast of Zathura
- Miniatures and the World of Zathura
- The World of Chris Van Allsburg
- Zorgons, Robots, and Frozen Lisa
- Making the Game
- From the cast of Goosebumps
- New animated storybook version of Zathura (the book), narrated by author Chris Van Allsburg - Original Theatrical Trailer
Exclusive HD Content:
- Race Through Space: Virtual Board Game
Related home video titles:
In Jumanji (which is also penned by Zathura’s author—Chris Van Allsburg), a girl (played by a young Kirsten Dunst) and her brother magically unleash a whole jungle of characters when they begin playing a mysterious board game. Space enthusiasts can take an animated intergalactic ride in Treasure Planet. Older viewers may enjoy the quirky adventures of a group of travelers who trek through the cosmos in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.