Twilight is all around us, from movie trailers and action figures to DVDs and posters at every retail outlet. Leading lady Kristen Stewart (Bella) has been a fan favorite since the Twilight hit the silver screen, along with co-stars Robert Pattinson (Edward) and Taylor Lautner (Jacob).
But Kristin Stewart is about more than just Twilight. Before the lovely Bella Swan fell for vampire Edward Cullen, Stewart already had nine films under her belt.
A visit to the local library led me to the DVD movie section to find a film for our weekly family movie night. An eye-catching cover featuring a giant robot was all my five-year old needed to select Zathura: A Space Adventure as his movie of choice.
When Kristin Stewart’s name appeared in the opening credits, my daughter could barely control her joy. Since the overwhelming success of the Twilight Saga, my daughter (along with most of the tween population) is obsessed with everything vampire.
Like Twilight, Zathura is a fantasy movie. That is where the similarities end. Unlike the intricately woven tale of love, vampires and werewolves, Zathura revolves around a board game found in a dank and dusty basement, brought to life by a dejected younger sibling seeking the acceptance and companionship of his older brother.
Released by Columbia Pictures in 2005, Tim Robbins plays the divorced father of three, struggling with shared parenting while working from home, an old house in need of some TLC.
Stewart plays Lisa, the typical teenage daughter, cranky and rebellious sleeping late into the afternoon. Charged with babysitting her two brothers, she puts on her earphones, cranks up her iPod, and pulls the covers back over her head to drown out their arguing downstairs.
What follows is a fantastic adventure when the game comes to life sending Danny and Walter on the adventure of a lifetime. Each turn produces a game card that reveals a warning or instruction the boys must follow. For example, the opening card reads, “Meteor shower. Take evasive action.” As promised the living room is showered with burning meteors sending the boys frantically searching for cover.
Stewart’s role is small, but memorable. She spends a good portion of the movie in a cryonic sleep state – the result of another game card – frozen in time while primping for a date.
Director John Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Elf), makes good use of the Lisa-cicle, sending her frozen figure headlong down the stairs, leaving the boys to wonder if she is alive or dead. They hope for the former and return her to the bathroom whence she came to avoid the inevitable wrath that will befall them when she thaws.
After Stewart/Lisa is defrosted, she assists the boys on their quest to finish the game and return home safe and sound. Along the way they encounter a handsome astronaut played by Dax Shepard (Parenthood) with whom Stewart/Lisa (inappropriately) flirts. The awkwardness continues later when (spoiler alert!) we learn that the astronaut is actually the future version of Walter.
The real show stealer is little Danny, played by Jonah Bobo. At just 6-and three-quarters years old, he is the hero of the movie, taking on Zorgons and four-eyed goats to retrieve the board game and return his siblings back to the safety of earth.
Zathura contains some intense monster scenes and a few adult references, and may not be suitable for very young children. The Internet Movie Database rates it “PG for fantasy action and peril, and some language.” Overall it was an enjoyable family movie night.
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Internet Movie Database website, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0406375/