ZATHURA (Jon Favreau). 113 minutes. Opens Friday (November 11). For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN
Look, Ma - it's Jumanji, the sci-fi version! Author Chris Van Allsburg hands Zathura over to actor-cum-director Jon Favreau (Elf) for another movie about a board game, way-out adventure and the many forms of sibling love. But without the monkeys on motorcycles.
Struggling with their parents' divorce and competing for their father's ( Tim Robbins ) attention, brothers Danny ( Jonah Bobo ) and Walter ( Josh Hutcherson ) aren't getting along. When they're left in the care of their apathetic teenage sister ( Kristen Stewart ), Danny uncovers Zathura, a space-style board game that unleashes adventure, terror and domestic destruction when their house is transported into outer space.
Zathura requires not only a willing suspension of disbelief, but a willing suspension of brain power. As in Jumanji, there's a hunter (in the form of a robot voiced by Frank Oz ), large groups of bad creatures (the naughty monkeys are replaced by less amusing lizard-men) and an adult who saves the helpless kiddies' asses. Unfortunately, there's no Robin Williams, just a supremely annoying astronaut ( Dax Shepard ).
The special effects and near-insignificant details - such as a bicycle that orbits around the house - are sucked into a black hole of lame one-liners, unlikeable characters and a heavy-handed moral.
Aimed at young kids who don't know any better, Zathura delivers what you might expect: one big waste of space.