Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
A wild buckle-up-and-blast-off adventure that plunges every corner of kids' favorite subject.
For a kid-aimed PG-rated fantasy you could do worse than Zathura: A Space Adventure. Now there's a ringing endorsement. You could do worse.
Zathura is most interesting and least predictable in its opening scenes -- before the impressive special effects take over.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Zathura can be enjoyed solely as a sci-fi adventure. But it also sneaks in a couple of messages for those receptive to them.
Although it too predictably stays the course of its predecessor, it's enough of a blast to provide a thrill ride for the kids and be an entertaining (and inevitable) journey for parents.
The only way to win is just to keep playing until it's over, and the only way to leave the theater is to hover over these kids' shoulders until they finally wrap things up. In both cases, there are more entertaining ways to spend an afternoon.
The best that can be said for Zathura is that it meets expectations, which is becoming more and more rare at the movies.
Rarely is a movie audience asked to put up with so much noise for such a thankless payoff as it must with Zathura.
Los Angeles Times:
The movie has a lot of the elements that might make it thrilling and it's visually arresting, but it's missing the emotional connection necessary to make it interesting.
After watching the kids play Zathura in Zathura -- a crackling family adventure in which sibling rivalries play out against a backdrop of Robbie-like robot assaults and devouring gila monsters -- all I can say is, let me at it.
Zathura is a rousing tale with an agreeable balance of fear and teachable moments, the kind of adventure story that seems old-fashioned these days.
Zathura is a rarity: a stellar fantasy that faces down childhood anxieties with feet-on-the-ground maturity.
Dallas Morning News:
Zathura may be Jumanji in outer space. And the way the plot works out is not exactly rocket science. But the way it flies is very cool.
The result is a glorious low-tech pleasure that may be the most lyrical, phantasmagoric boys' adventure story since Joe Dante's Explorers.
The movie is so well-paced for much of its run that you barely notice how efficient it is at balancing the all-too human with the otherworldly exotica.
Zathura serves up kid-friendly sci-fi thrills, along with a little nostalgia for grownups. Its low-tech special effects are a refreshing departure from the CG norm.
New York Daily News:
Zathura, Jon Favreau's adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's kid-lit adventure of the same name, more than fills the bill -- though it's unlikely to draw anyone over the age of 11 (not counting baby-sitters).
New York Times:
An extraterrestrial fantasy, based on a children's book by Chris Van Allsburg, that feels both real and unreal, like a dream you could shake off at any moment.
Director Jon Favreau, coming off Elf, keeps Zathura moving, but never fast enough to make it fly.
Zathura is welcome late-year fun for all ages -- a pleasant contrast to the nauseating dreck that normally masquerades as family-friendly science fiction. (Clockstoppers, Thunderbirds... need I go on?).
Zathura lacks the undercurrents of archetypal menace and genuine emotion that informed The Polar Express. But it works gloriously as space opera.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The special effects never overshadow the story, which is just down-to-earth enough to resonate with younger viewers.
Globe and Mail:
Zathura is easygoing, brashly humorous and a lot less interested in technology than adventure.
In seeking to entertain adults as well as children, director Jon Favreau (Elf) may have overplayed his hand a bit on the grown-up side.
Favreau gratifyingly prevents the film from becoming a mere maelstrom of CG effects by pushing the brothers' amusing bickering to the fore...
Thanks in part to its over-reliance on special effects, the result seems all too familiar.
Arguably the best adaptation of a Chris Van Allsburg book to date.
Zathura salutes the low-tech magic that lurks inside a board game -- that hidden ability to bring people together.