Of course, it’s probably not giving away anything to say that everything works out in the end. Both boys learn their lessons. Cheating is bad, and catches up with you. Siblings should love one another and work together rather than bicker. All vaguely wholesome moral values are learned as the boys dodge meteors, laser blasts and mean-looking beasties.

As a big fan of director Jon Favreau’s work, both as a director and actor, I really wanted to like this movie. His film “Elf” from two years ago was certainly a gem: a great family film that kids love but is also funny for adults as well. Judged this way, "Zathura" misses the mark. Kids will probably enjoy the mindless action, but adults looking for an interesting story or characters will be disappointed.

AUDIENCE:  Generally family, but perhaps too intense for children under age nine.


  • Drugs/Alcohol:  None.
  • Language:  Three or four vulgar words. In one early scene, Danny is rebuked by his father for using bad language.
  • Sex:  None. Some may find one of Lisa’s outfits a bit skimpy.
  • Violence:  Children's lives threatened throughout most of the film. A killer robot rampages through the house chasing one of the boys. Alien spaceships shoot up the house with the kids inside. The same scary lizard-like aliens who “eat meat” (i.e. people) enter the house and stalk the hiding children. Lots of mayhem, explosions and sci-fi style violence.