When kids smoke up
Cast: Jonah Bobo, Josh Hutcherson, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins
Director: Jon Favreau
Genre: Space adventure
Storyline: Siblings find themselves inside a Space adventure game called Zathura, as their house ejects out to space and the only way they can return is by completing the game.
Bottomline: Kids on drugs could conjure up bizarre fantasies.
Seems like Hollywood has conducted some sort of a focus-group experiment.
That goes something like this.
Take 100 kids, comprising of siblings at war and best friends, a good mix of guys and girls. Lock them all in a room and let hash in through the air conditioner. For best effects, put well-read imaginative kids into that room.
Once they’ve smoked up enough, ask them to describe their fantasies. Have a screenwriter talk to them and get them to describe where they went and what they saw. Get a visual effects guy to talk to them and find out what the creatures they saw, looked like. If that isn’t bizarre enough, put them on pot too.
What happened after, went something like this.
Almost all kids reported going to some strange place, finding funny-looking friends and monsters on a munch-fest, and soon enough learnt that they were the chosen ones, to slay monsters and save the world. In no time, they found they could do horse-riding, mountain-climbing, sword-fighting and were suddenly strong enough to lead the fight against evil.
The focus group experiment lead to the following movies.
The kids who were J.R.R.Tolkien fans helped Peter Jackson make ‘The Lord of the Rings.’
Kids who were J.K.Rowling addicts helped in the making of the Harry Potter series, as the experiments with pot continue for the forthcoming films in the franchise.
Kids who grew up on C.S.Lewis came up with the script for ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ after they tried escaping the room through the cupboard, only to find that the impact of the air-conditioner was strongest there. Strong enough for them to see the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Those who didn’t read enough, recycled an old film (Jumanji) with what they remembered from Star Trek and came up with ‘Zathura,’ with a little help from the gaming addicts, who came up with the plot points derived from a computer game. (Trivia: Zathura is based on a book written by Chris Van Allsburg, the author of ‘Jumanji’)
Seriously, what is with Hollywood?
How many more movies can children take of kids turning superheroes after realising they are the chosen ones and leading a war against evil?
This one, particularly, features a boom mike in the lead, in every other scene. Given that the boom mike has more screen time than any of the actors in the film, this movie certainly was made by a crew where at least one person was drugged.
Apart from the visual effects, which offer nothing new whatsoever, there is no reason why anyone would want to watch Zathura.
Unless they are kids from that focus group who came up with this plot.
Tim Robbins has a guest role, so don’t let that mislead you. The kids in the lead, nine-year old Jonah Bobo and 14-year old Josh Hutcherson, are not the best of actors but they suffice for a movie like ‘Zathura,’ providing the right amount of the cute and the wicked. There are a couple of moments (with Jonah Bobo specially) to make you go ‘Awwww’ but not enough for you to shell out money.
Verdict: Really little kids might like it (they like anything with special effects), but they can catch it on video or TV later after exams.