The continuing chronicle of Wesley's quest to be published; plus comments on popular culture, family life, and whatever else falls out of his head.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Last week Carrie and I were able to take part in a special screening of Zathura, mostly because the theatre in question is under fire from increased competition with a different theatre a few miles away in a larger shopping area.

This is a film I had wanted to see for some time, partly because it's directed by one of my favorite performers, Jon Favreau, but mostly because I wanted to see how it compared to Jumanji, which was released ten years ago.

In a nutshell, I think Jumanji is a noteably better movie, not just because of the presence of Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Kirsten Dunst and David Alan Grier, but because the script is just more engaging. Both movies are based on books by Chris Van Allsburg, and Zathura the book actually mentions Jumanji in it.

In Zathura, Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson play young brothers who, with their teen sister, are staying with their divorced father in a creaky old house one weekend. While the father is away on business, they find an old, outer space-themed, tin wind-up game called Zathura. As they play the game, they discover that their home has been transported into outer space itself, complete with meteor showers, renegade robots, lost astronauts and evil aliens that eat on human flesh.

Even though I enjoyed the movie, there was something about it that bugged me, and it wasn't until I read Roger Ebert's review that it hit me: There is never any real sense of danger here. I never felt that there was a possibility that they might not get home, or that anything might happen to them. In addition, I really just didn't care that much for the characters in the same way that I did in Jumanji.

Ultimately, this movie since this movie is opening a week before Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it will probably tank at the box office, and that is too bad, because it is a decent movie, and entertaining enough. But the audience it is aiming for will all be going to see Goblet of Fire instead.


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