Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
-- Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Zathura versus Zathura

I just watched the movie "Zathura", which is based on the book Zathura by Chris Van Allsburg. This hardly ever happens, but this time, the movie was better than the book!

I did not originally intend to watch this movie. I had read the book and was really not impressed. The was basically a ripoff of Jumanji, another book by the same author. The thing about Chris Van Allsburg is that he is a GREAT artist, but as a writer? Not so much! Both Jumanji and Zathura are about two kids who find an old board game that, when played, cause strange things to happen to them in their house. The words are not interesting to read and there is no emotion other than excitement. But the pictures are great! These two books are basically "popcorn movies" on paper.

When I saw the movie version of "Jumanji", I thought it was awful! To me, it wasn't even fun enough to be considered "popcorn". I was expecting "Zathura" to be more of the same. Maybe that is why I liked this movie so much! I was so afraid that it was going to be just trash that what it gave me was way more than I ever expected!

This time, the movie makers did it right. They developed the story! They gave the audience a reason to care about what happened to the brothers playing the game. They put some funny in it. They added relationships. They made the action sequences exciting but not too scary; in "Jumanji", some of the action sequences were freaking out the little kids in the theaters, which is a bad thing for a kid's movie to do. And the ending was satisfying! The end of the book Zathura was abrupt and meaningless. The end of the movie "Zathura" was emotional and relieving, kind of like the end of a roller coaster ride.

If you like looking at great pencil drawings, go read Zathura. Then, if you like watching fun movies, go watch "Zathura". I highly recommend it!

(Last modified:05/20/2006)


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