Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

I don’t often have the luck of opening the TV and hitting a channel where a movie just starts.  Somehow during our Toronto trip and the night we decide to stay in the hotel room to eat, we land right at the start of Zathura: A Space Adventure.  My best friend had seen the second half of it so the beginning was still new to her.  I’ve never seen this before but always wanted to.

zathura posterDirector: Jon Favreau

Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins

Two boys Walter (Josh  Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) never got along especially now that their parents have divorced.  When their father (Tim Robbins) leaves them under the reluctant care of their sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) while he takes care of his work outside of the house.  As Walter gets angry at Danny, he sents him down the dumbwaiter to the basement.  He comes back upstairs with an old space adventure game called Zathura and asks Walter to play with him. Once Danny starts off to play the game, he realizes that the game has shifted the whole house in space physically and the only way they could win was to take turns and complete the obstacles given, reach Zathura to reset everything.

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Zathura is pretty much Jumanji but in space.  I’m a huge fan of Jumanji and I still have no idea why my boyfriend doesn’t like it so seeing Zathura was something that would happen eventually.  I’m just beating myself up as to why it took me so long to see it after it was done.  Sure, I figured out a lot of the twists but still, I bought the whole idea of it and it was crazy fun to watch.  Even K. Stew can’t bring this one down.  She was actually quite funny and in what other time can you see her frozen in place, and when she wasn’t, she was emoting.  Good job K. Stew! Still, I’m not going to join Justin in the Kristen Stewart Defense Council anytime soon but she did good in this. Plus, just look at the picture on the top, the special effects and visuals were pretty awesome.  I’d say this one satisfies both kids and parents with the story and the style.

zathura 1

Here we have a very young Josh Hutcherson as Walter.  I’m an only child so I don’t understand the sibling dynamics but my best friend said its normal that older siblings tend to mess with the younger ones.  In this one, Josh plays that older brother who somehow doesn’t like Danny because he thinks that he takes away the attention from his father or ruins everything in his life (maybe he just finds him a nuisance).  As the story progresses, as much as its an adventure movie, its about them treasuring each other as brothers and putting their trust into each other also.  At the same time, Danny, played by Jonah Bobo is a super cute kid and he does a really good job.

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There’s a lot to love if not for the principal characters like Walter and Danny but for the other ones that show up.  I’ve already discussed Kristen Stewart above but the other one was putting in the astronaut who really helps inspire the characters and help the kids through certain obstacles they probably wouldn’t otherwise.  It makes something so fictional become slightly realistic.  I’m guessing if any kid got time warped to another time and space, they would probably freak out and not really understand what to do so help is always needed.  The astronaut also makes it a lot of fun because he’s somewhat silly at times as well so it would appeal to adults.  Even in the more dangerous parts, it maintains enough intensity to hold the audience but not enough to scare the younger crowd too much.

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If you read all that up there, I’m recommending this one.  Its a great family adventure movie, especially if you are already a fan of Jumanji.  Its lots of fun, full of great characters and even teaches a bit about the value of families especially between siblings.  Kristen Stewart is enjoyable to watch, Josh Hutcherson is young and quite good (before he was all Hunger Games cool) and we even have a little bits with Tim Robbins (which I failed to mention about before). The special effects are nice and visually, its pretty beautiful.  A winner all around 🙂

Are you a fan of Jumanji? Did you see Zathura? What do you think about it?

City of Ember (2008)

One of my absolutely favorite movies.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this but I’m guesstimating that I’m probably at my 4th time watching this movie.  A little adventure fantasy movie as IMDB classifies it.

city of emberDirector: Gil Kenan

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, Toby Jones

This story is about the city of Ember.  Ember was built by the engineers and architects (a.k.a. the Builders) over 200 years ago underground to shield its population away from the destruction above ground that had happened.  They set a box that was set to countdown 200 years and was to be passed from mayor to mayor.  In the line, one of the mayors dropped dead suddenly and the box was tucked away.  The box however keeps counting down and no one knows these plans that the Builders had set.  Fast forward to the present, we are in city of Ember which is lit by many lamps hanging from the cieling.  At a certain age, the children each pick out of a hat what their job for the rest of their life will be supervised by the Mayor (Bill Murray).  We zoom in on Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) who becomes a messenger and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) who ends up working in the pipeworks.  At the same time, Ember is slowly dying as the generators are now failing and this results in blackouts that last longer and longer.  Doon knows that there has to be a way to fix it and he explores, while Lina also eventually realizes there are problems more serious than those that the Mayor insists on.  They both end up joining forces to save Ember and the people they care about in this underground city.

Why do I love this movie so much? First off, have you ever played Final Fantasy 7? I have, back in my high school years on my crappy PC that allowed me to play it on a window that was about a quarter (if not, an eighth) of the size of my actual computer screen.  If you’ve played that, you’ll realize that this movie starts off and the artwork resembles it so much. I’m not sure if it was inspired by FF7 but it was mesmerizing and beautiful to look at.  Every detail of Ember was so amazing and visually stunning.


What else is important in a movie? The background music was fantastic and it helped build the mood really well.  Plus, we also have to look at the actors and actresses in this one.  I’m a HUGE fan of Saoirse Ronan.  If you need me to jog your memory, she also did Atonement, Hanna and Lovely Bones, which are also very good movies.  She does an incredible job at being Lina Mayfleet, occupation Messenger, a big sister, a caring granddaughter and especially a concerned citizen.  Tim Robbins plays the role of Doon’s father and also the narrator of the movie. I have to give a little special mention to the role of the little girl that plays the younger sister of Lina Mayfleet.  She was super adorable and was absolutely wonderful.


Like any movie, there are imperfections.  There is a part where this time around (probably because of reviewing more movies I noticed) the CGI effects are pretty below average .I don’t want to expose that part because its super intense adventure sequence and contributes to the ending, but I even so, I still found it really fun and intense.

city of ember scene 1

Overall, I love this movie.  Its beautiful to watch, awesome cast matched with captivating music and a brilliant plot.  I personally couldn’t ask for more, fun and adventurous.  When I first saw this, I hadn’t even heard of it but the first second pulled me right in.

Seen this? Didn’t see this? Sounds like something you’d want to see? What did you think? Who is also a fan of Saoirse Ronan? I’m seriously looking forward to her new movie also based on a book about aliens (or something along those lines) called The Host.  I still have to actually check to see if the trailer is out.