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Zathura: A Space Adventure in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Zathura: A Space Adventure

Josh Hutcherson • Jonah Bobo • Dax Shepard
• Kristen Stewart • Tim Robbins
DIRECTOR: Jon Favreau

Playing the game… THE CONCEPT:
Three children embark on the adventure of a lifetime when six-year-old Danny discovers an old dusty board game called Zathura. As he begins to play it, he launches their house into Outer Space, and the only way to get home is to win the game.

U.S. RELEASE: November 11 2005, Nationwide
• Rated: PG


“We shot the movie in order. It was the first time I’ve ever gotten to do that, and the excuse was, of course, the house comes apart over the course of the movie, so I finally got to do the director’s dream which is actually to shoot in order.”

JONAH BOBO on the robot in the film:
“He was really cool because he had a tiny head, tiny legs, tiny waist, tiny feet, tiny arms but his chest was gigantic. It was huge.”

“What I thought was really cool about the robot was that from his waist up he was this big, mean, metal thing right in front of you, and it added so much to our performance, because there was something there to look at that was actually chasing you or snarling at you.”

FAVREAU on getting a better performance out of the kids with real effects:
“When people say kids have good imaginations, it’s true for what they’re willing to accept. But they’re terrible liars, and acting is more like lying than it is like imagining. As far as performances go, telling kids this green screen is really a robot, you get a terrible performance out of them. So, what I can do as a director is have a real guy in a suit, and then they’re going to react very honestly to that.”

DAX SHEPARD (Astronaut):
“I don’t know why Sony’s not publicizing this, but they did spend $90 million to send me to the space station to research my role. I think the fact that I fought a Russian cosmonaut up there is why they’re not publicizing it. [he laughs] There’s really no research you can do for this. I mean, maybe Sean Penn would have figured out a way to do it, but my research was getting fitted for the astronaut outfit.”

“The fact that we made this game a Fifties tin toy was an excuse to use all the imagery from all the old Science Fiction movies. We decided to shoot the spaceships in the way they would have in the old Star Wars movies, we built miniatures and did motion control and shot it on a miniature stage.”

HUTCHERSON on whether kids in the audience will believe they can breathe in Outer Space:
“I think I would tell them it’s a movie, we are launched into Outer Space by a board game, if you can believe that, I think you might be able to believe that we’re breathing in Outer Space.”

“And if you believe that we were launched into Space by a board game, you could believe that a Zorgon [the space creatures they encounter] could walk into your room at night!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Zathura: A Space Adventure site
Images above © Columbia Pictures
Feature © 2005 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #664, December 2005 cover

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