A Space Adventure Essay

Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

Published by The Massie Twins

Score: 7/10

Genre: Adventure and Fantasy Running Time: 1 hr. 41 min.

Release Date: November 11th, 2005 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Jon Favreau Actors: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins, Frank Oz


year-old Walter (Josh Hutcherson) plays catch with his father (Tim Robbins), but grows impatient when his 6 year-old brother Danny (Jonah Bobo) wants a turn. It’s only fair, but the littler boy’s age prevents him from having the hand-eye coordination necessary to excel. At least Danny has a fertile imagination. But both siblings feel swindled out of their father’s affections, continually finding reasons to complain and fight about the unjustness of their living situation and the custody arrangement between their divorced parents.

When Danny accidentally spills juice all over his dad’s latest graphic design workup, teenaged sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) is put in charge so that he can run to the office – though she can’t be bothered with getting out of bed before 3:00 in the afternoon. In no time at all, the brothers are arguing once again, leading to Danny getting locked in the basement, where he discovers a dusty old board game resting between the slats of the stairs. “Zathura: A Space Adventure” sounds like fun, but Walter is reluctant to tinker with a toy for babies. That is, until Danny plucks a card from the board, prompting evasive action against an incoming meteor shower.

Although this is obviously a derivation on “Jumanji” (written by the same author, Chris Van Allsburg), the notions of separated parents, brotherly bonding and loyalty, assigning blame, sibling supervision, and dubiety from authority figures generate new circumstances that play out as the children attempt to finish the game. Since the setting has shifted from jungle-based predicaments to space-bound misadventures, there are plenty of different problems with which to contend (as well as a number of positive cards), making this updated iteration an enjoyable supplement to the existing universe, rather than a repetitious remake (though, in its most basic form, it’s just “Jumanji” in space). Plus, their house is correspondingly roomy, contributing to extensive destruction and places to hide.

“You cheat at board games.” From the start, the child actors are exceptionally convincing. They bicker and squabble as if real brothers, possess idiosyncrasies as if improvising their dialogue, and behave genuinely in their anger and fear (and Kristen Stewart isn’t bad, either). As with the previous film, the children could have easily ruined the suspension of disbelief for this routinely absurd premise (though they don’t automatically assume that subsequent cards will result in episodes of danger, and Danny whines a bit too much). There is a Robin Williams equivalent, though his origins description is far too similar and he’s much less comedic; this adult makes an appearance in the form of Dax Shepard, a stranded astronaut (stuck in the game for 15 years), who not only requires rescuing by the boys, but also provides a bit of guidance (and a voice of reason and an impartial mediator) during future moves.

In all of these fast-paced sequences of peril, the humor is abundant, which aids in the amusement of somewhat disconnected or random situations that would otherwise be entirely nonsensical (such as when they specifically question how long their oxygen supply will last, yet they’re regularly exposed to outer space itself [doors and walls are ripped away], and when the astronaut flies around the house without his helmet). During frightening moments, the laughs are especially essential, augmenting the thrills with contrasting jokiness. When the evil aliens arrive, the picture grows a touch darker (nicely blending computer-animated backgrounds with live-action puppeteering by Stan Winston’s group), but there’s still some unexpected gags to even things out for an engaging, family-friendly, fantasy adventure.

– Mike Massie


Space exploration is beneficial to mankind in many ways. It should not be viewed as a waste of resources, time, or money. There are different arguments concerning the issue whether space exploration is a waste or not.

Space exploration and astronomy in general allow us to learn more about our home, the Earth. We are now aware of the existence of other planets, stars, and galaxies that exist beyond it. As humanity develops, so does the technological exploration that improves our abilities to travel to space, which are beneficial to us despite the fact that many opponents do not agree here.
Counterarguments only consider the disadvantages that come with space exploration – for example, the expensive cost of operations. But we should take into consideration that space exploration comes together with important technological improvements. Heavy reliance on technology triggers extensive research that develops technical knowledge that is applied not only in space exploration. Doeden (2011) asserts that space exploration involves investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and their moons using artificial satellites. Astronomy encourages future generations to focus on what is beyond the Earth whether for fun or scientific discoveries. In addition, it creates sufficient awareness about what is around our planet.

Public contention and politics have over the years become a big challenge for space exploration. It is a political problem because of the high level of resources required for the related projects. Some members of the public ask why it is necessary to waste their money on space while it can be spent for some other purposes. This is an indicator of the lack of knowledge about the benefits of space exploration. Not many people remember that owing to astronomy and space exploration, we have learned that there is water on the Moon, meaning that there is a possibility of existence of life. The efforts in this case were applied for the overall benefit of mankind (Morris, 2012). Competition to travel to the Moon was at first a political issue that became competition between countries (Sadeh, 2002).

Space exploration has the potential of discovering new concepts and phenomena about space. These activities resolve mysteries about everything that surrounds the Earth. Through the exploration of space, we may discover resources that will help us in future – for example, minerals and rocks (Kirkland, 2010). This would be a good investment because of the pressure on the existing resources on Earth. And it is not just a fulfillment of the human appetite for adventure; rather, there is a lot to benefit from. Stott says that the “majority of those against space exploration do not understand its benefits to humanity” (Stott, 2010).

Space exploration brings together different people from various research and science fields and puts them to work on some very difficult problems. The result in this case is seen in useful inventions and discoveries. Thus, space exploration triggers technological advancement and is worth its cost because it benefits the people. Without knowledge of our surroundings we become vulnerable to threats. The Sun, asteroids, and other things around us can pose a great threat. Space exploration gives us better understanding of all the possible dangers we face and our relationship with things like the Sun and the Moon. A number of arguments against space exploration show that we do not have enough money to waste on such activities. Underfunding of space exploration programs leads to poor results. Space travel costs millions of dollars for a single trip. It is possible to pay millions to go to space adventure tours. For tours that are more than just adventure, the cost is justified (Morris, 2012).

The satellites in space help us predict any hazardous weather conditions and provide services such as television and communications. Without space exploration, television and communication services would not be as they are. Angelo shows that space programs also lead to other cutting edge technology developments that critics still take for granted – for example, long distance communication and smoke detectors. Cost should not be a concern in such important matters. Space exploration has pros and cons in this case. It is necessary to determine the level of disadvantages as opposed to advantages in terms of expenditures.

The cost of space exploration is high, but the return is even higher, thus making space exploration well worth the cost. Those who are convinced that it is all about wasteful adventure lack knowledge about basic things like telecommunication satellites in space. It is true, we have to settle the matters down here before focusing on those outside…

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