Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 16, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is a fun, fantasy, sci-fi film for the entire family! One can watch this film for nostalgia, others can watch this film to see how their favorite stars looked or how they were on film before they became very popular. And for those not familiar with the film and are looking for a a movie for the entire family, just being entertained by its enjoyable story. If you enjoyed films like “Jumanji”, then “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is recommended!
TITLE: Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition
FILM RELEASE: 2005
DURATION: 101 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 Aspect Ratio), English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG (Fantasy Action and Peril, and Some Language)
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg
Directed by Jon Favreau
Screenplay by David Koepp, John Kamps
Produced by Michael De Luca, Scott Kroopf, William Teitler
Co-Producer: Peter Billingsley
Music by John Debney
Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro
Edited by Dan Lebental
Casting by Avy Kaufman
Production Design by J. Michael Riva
Art Direction by David F. Klassen, Richard F. Mays
Costume Design by Laura Gaffin
Jonah Bobo as Danny
Josh Hutcherson as Walter
Dax Shepard as Astronaut
Kristen Stewart as Lisa
Tim Robbins as Dad
Frank Oz as the voice of Robot
Celebrate the 10th anniversary of this heart-racing science-fiction adventure with a special, all-new Blu-ray edition! Two squabbling brothers are propelled into deepest, darkest space while playing a mysterious game discovered in the basement of their old house. On their fantastic journey, they are joined by a stranded astronaut and must survive meteor showers, hostile lizard-like aliens, a rocket-propelled robot who runs amok and an intergalactic spaceship battle. Unless they finish the game and reach the planet Zathura, they could be trapped in outer space forever.
Years before Jon Favreau would be known for directing the first two “Iron Man” films, years before Josh Hutcherson would be known for his role as Peeta in the “Hunger Games” films and years before Kristen Stewart would become popular for the role of Bella Swan in the “Twilight” films, each of them would be involved in the family and children’s film “Zathura: A Space Adventure”.
A film adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg’s (author of “Jumanji”) fantasy, illustration book “Zathura”, the film was marketed as a spiritual sequel of “Jumanji”.
While the film didn’t do as well in the box office (considering that it had to go against “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and Disney’s “Chicken Little”), the film still received positive reviews from film critics.
And to celebrate the 10th year anniversary, “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” will be released on Blu-ray.
“Zathura: A Space Adventure” begins with two brothers, oldest brother Walter (portrayed by Josh Hutcherson) is an athlete and youngest brother Danny (portrayed by Jonah Bobo) who is not as athletic, playing catch with their father (portrayed by Tim Robbins).
The two brothers often quarrel with each other and also with their older sister, Lisa (portrayed by Kristen Stewart).
The three children live with their divorced father but as Lisa often sleeps and their father is busy with work, one day, Danny is locked in the basement by Walter. Inside the basement, he discovers a space-themed board game called “Zathura”.
As Walter and Danny begin playing the game, with the object is whoever reaches the end space Zathura, becomes the winner.
With each turn, the game produces a card with instructions and the first card mentions a “meteor shower”. And next thing you know, meteors begin to fall through the house. As they look out, they realize that they are in outer space.
As the brothers try to wake their sister up and tell her what’s going on, they try to show the game to her and pull up another card about “cryonic sleep” which immediately freezes Lisa and the entire bathroom.
The brothers must encounter various dangers with each card pulled during the game and realize that the only way they could get back home is to finish the board game and reach the end space of Zathura.
But with all the dangers around them…will these quarrelsome brothers finish the game?
“Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is fantastic as detail on close-up of faces show detail. Skin tones are natural and black levels are nice and deep. The 2011 Blu-ray release already featured solid, sharp picture quality and the 2015 features the same awesome presentation!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital. The lossless soundtrack is also equally fantastic. With the sheer amount of action scenes, this is an immersive soundtrack as you can expect wonderful use of the surround channels and LFE, as well as crystal clear dialogue and music.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French, Indonesian/Bahasa, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai
“Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Jon Fabreau and Co-Producer Peter Billingsley.
- Race to the Black Planet – (11:55) The making of the special effects for “Zathura”.
- The Right Moves – (14:56) How Chris Van Allsburg’s illustration book was adapted into a film.
- The Cast – (12:51) A featurette about the cast members of “Zathura”.
- Miniatures – (9:48) A featurette about the use of miniatures in “Zathura”.
- The World of Chris Van Allsburg – (12:52) A featurette about “Zathura” (and “Jumanji”) author Chris Van Allsburg.
- Zorgons, Robots and Frozen Lisa – (16:42) The making of these special effects characters.
- Making the Game – (14:01) A featurette in regards to the process of creating the “Zathura” board game.
- Zathura Motion Storybook as Read by Author Chris Van Allsburg – A new special feature for the 2015 Blu-ray featuring Chris Van Allsburg reading an excerpts from the book (featuring illustrations from the book)
- Race Through Space: Virtual Board Game – A digital board game of “Zathura”.
- Goosebumps Sneak Peak – (3:02) A new special feature for the 2015 Blu-ray release, this is a sneak peak for the 2015 film “Goosebumps”.
- The Cast of Goosebumps Reflect on Zathura – (5:19) A new special feature this 2015 Blu-ray release, “Goosebumps” actors Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee discuss their favorite “Zathura” scenes.
- Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Zathura: A Space Adventure”.
“Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover and UltraViolet code.
Watching “Zathura” after nearly a decade since it arrived in theaters, it’s quite fascinating to see how a lot of people involved in the film have had successful careers.
Jon Favreau became a director and producer of major blockbuster films, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart and Josh Hutcherson have become popular film stars, while young Jonah Bobo is still an actor but has entertained many young children as the voice of Austin in the popular children’s show, “The Backyardigans”. While veteran actor Tim Robbins shows no sign of slowing down and continues to be a busy actor for television and film.
But part of what makes this film entertaining back then, was how it had similarities to “Jumanji”.
While a different kind of film and is more sci-fi/adventure, one can wish that these family-driven adventure and fantasy films (with a bigger budget) were made. As my son grew up with this film and was enchanted by the thought of children in a different world, while their house is floating into space, it’s about the journey and how imaginative the storyline is.
Sure, when I think back to my childhood and have had the pleasure of watching “The Goonies” or “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” and being immersed by the journey and enjoying the entire imaginative journey presented on film, these are films that don’t grow old and can still entertain generations upon generations of children and also the young at heart.
The whole concept for “Zathura: A Space Adventure” about a board game in which certain things become a reality and watching bad space lizard aliens, a whacked out robot and a sister frozen, the story is definitely far-out, but yet I still enjoyed it because it is unique and fun to watch.
And the good thing is that families will get to watch three anniversary editions of adventure films on Blu-ray with the release of “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition”, “The Indian in the Cupboard: 20th Anniversary Edition” and “Jumanji: 20th Anniversary” edition.
As for the Blu-ray release, “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” 2015 Blu-ray release is just as wonderful as the original 2011 Blu-ray release. Picture quality is fantastic, lossless audio is wonderful. But the primary difference is that there are new special features included along with the many special features that were included in the older Blu-ray release, especially newer special features to promote the 2015 film release of “Goosebumps”.
Overall, “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is a fun, fantasy, sci-fi film for the entire family! One can watch this film for nostalgia, others can watch this film to see how their favorite stars looked or how they were on film before they became very popular. And for those not familiar with the film and are looking for a a movie for the entire family, just being entertained by its enjoyable story.
If you enjoyed films like “Jumanji”, then “Zathura: A Space Adventure – Anniversary Edition” is recommended!
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