8:00 PM, 2nd September, 2006
More a follow up to Jumanji than a sequel', Zathura is a completely entertaining romp through space and the most involving board game you could find. The story begins with ten year old Walter (Hutcherson) and six year old Danny (Bobo) at their newly divorced father's (Robbins) mansion. The boys don't get along too great with each other or with their older sister (Stewart). When their dad goes to a business meeting, Danny rummages around in the basement and finds an antique game called Zathura. Once Danny starts, a meteor shower rocks the house followed by the discovery that the house itself is now floating in space, in orbit around a Saturn-like planet. The game demands two players and must be completed in order to return home.Each turn brings ever more hazards into the house, from malfunctioning robots to carnivorous reptilians called Zorgons. One card brings into the house a disgruntled astronaut (Shepard) who was lost in space for fourteen years because of the game. The tension builds as the game continues, coming to a very climactic ending. Now, some laws of physics are bent and broken but ultimately the game is able to transport the house into outer space, so, if you can accept that, then you should be able to get over the physics aspect. But everyone who can get into Zathura should have a blast...off. Sorry, couldn't resist.
10:41 PM, 2nd September, 2006
This film follows the 15-year-old Helena, who longs for a normal existence as she lives with her parents in a circus. Her father runs the circus and her mother is a ticket seller and performer. But when her mother falls ill after a bitter fight and her father is overcome with anxiety, Helena is drawn into a fantastical world she dreamt up. She finds one ally in Valentine (Barry) who explains the recent developments in this dream world. The world is split in two, one Light, one Shadow, each ruled by a queen. When the White Queen falls into a magically induced sleep the worlds balance shifts and Helena has to restore the balance to save the world. This fantasy looks, well, fantastic. McKean directed and designed the film and every scene's composition and delivery is wonderful. The costumes and sets are artistic and the alternate universe flows with both human touches and phantasmagoric [H3]flourishes. It is a visually stunning outing and while the story and development of its characters isn't as stunning, it still adds up to a great film you won't be able to see anywhere else in Canberra.