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(2005), PG [13-PG*] (1hr 34min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
November 11, 2005
62 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG [13-PG*] -- ...a "lite" example of stealing childhood from children.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Columbia Pictures Corporation, Radar Films
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Director(s): Jon Favreau
Producer(s): Peter Billingsley, Louis D'Esposito, Michael De Luca, Ted Field, Scott Kroopf, William Teitler
Book: Chris Van Allsburg
Screenplay: David Koepp, John Kamps
Cinematography/Camera: Guillermo Navarro
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Dan Lebental
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: J. Michael Riva
Art Direction: David F. Klassen, Richard F. Mays
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

I am so sorry it has taken so long to get this to you. I was able to view the film November 11, 2005 but here it is November 16. That makes this report like last week's newspaper. But I cannot devote the 60 to 70 hours per week this full-fledged, nonprofit 501(c)(3) Christian ministry needs until it provides for enough of the expenses so my wife can quit and be the one who stays home with our seven kids. One of the two foster kids (to be our final adoption) is a cerebral palsy baby and needs breathing treatments and feeding every two hours. Caring for seven kids with one of them medically fragile, not to mention license requirements, requires someone to be with the kids 24-7. So, until I, just like your pastor, can devote a full 60 to 70 hour workweek to the ministry, which cannot happen until my wife can quit and stay home, such delays as with this report as well as many missed analyses are unavoidable Surely there are many out of the thousands of users of our free service each day who can make that happen with generous donations. This is a free service but it is not free of costs. And it is not just a simple website or "movie review" service. The continuation of this service beyond the end of 2005 may very well depend on you.

Jumanjuthura. Or Zathurmanji. Either way, Zathura: A Space Adventure is Jumanji with a new face by the same director. Though both films are, for the most part, out of the same mold I would suspect an analysis of Jumanji would reveal a significantly better final score and undoubtedly better investigation area scores in Sexual Immorality, Wanton Violence/Crime and Impudence/Hate. Maybe I'll prepare an analysis of Jumanji just to find out. The next time I find a few hours with nothing else to do, I might. But I would probably have better luck finding a frozen orb of dihydrogen monoxide that has survived unscathed a trip through the subterranean location of ultra-intense electromagnetic radiation in the super-thermal band.

Of most significant note is that this PG film places adolescents in a great deal of violent and dangerous situations akin to the Buggs Bunny/Road Runner genre except with live actors/actress and much more extreme. Enough violent and dangerous situations are portrayed to cause the loss of 82 of the starting 100 points in Wanton Violence/Crime. [Prov. 3:31]

This film also presents heavily a young teen girl in her underwear -- repeatedly -- underwear that exposed much of her below-navel skin and threatened to expose that which follows -- repeatedly -- nce in a particularly unflattering pose. When she finally gets dressed, none of the filmmakers seemed to be all that concerned about the fringes of her underwear still being exposed. Repeatedly. [Col. 2:20 - 23] What is it about underwear that makes teens and filmmakers want to expose it? Is there something "adult" about it?

This "13-PG" action adventure film places three adolescents in fantasy harm's way. In outer space. A word about that "fantasy." As a number of professional physiologists agree with me, it would be unusual for even a 16 your old child to be able to fully anticipate the consequences of his/her actions or to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality. Such abilities do not typically plateau until the early 20s if then. That is why such fantasy features as Zathura and others like it, which are decided for you to be acceptable for the middle school crowd and younger, are of significant developmental concern. When, for example, a like-aged character , likable or not. gets killed by being sucked into a black hole, even if the "killed" characters are seen walking and talking after, it might have an indelible invasive impact on youth who watch the film. Such is a "lite" example of stealing childhood from children. [Luke 17:2]

Six year old Danny (Jonah Bobo) is at the mercy of his 10 year old brother Walter (Josh Hutcherson), both of whom are at the mercy of their teenage sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart). Dad (Tim Robbins), a divorced commercial illustrator "strapped" with the kids for the weekend, is the target of the attention of the boys. Dad is under the gun to prepare illustrations and to attend a meeting at 3:00 PM.

Unrelentingly, Dad insists on leaving the two boys under the loving and careful watchful eye of their ultra-selfish and arrogant sister Lisa who is the perfect example of the "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" and the "It ain't none of yer business, dad" attitudes. Lisa is also the perfect example of what Hollywood apparently thinks is the modern teen -- a touch of potty mouth with a propensity to show skin who thinks she may look down her nose at parents and any other form of authority.

After a few minutes of script to explain why things are the way they are, Danny is churning to find something to do. Walter won't allow Danny to watch his favorite TV programming in favor of his own favorite TV programming ... the older brother bully syndrome.

In an attempt to start a period of catch with a baseball, in the house no less, Danny starts tossing the ball into Walter's lap. With an expression of "get lost" Walter begrudgingly tosses it back to Danny a few times until Danny hits Walter on the left side of his face with the ball.

Running for dear life repeating "I'm sorry - I'm sorry - I'm sorry" about a thousand times as he runs like a rabbit from Walter's "Yer dead" threats, Danny hides in the dumb waiter. Ah! Safety! ... until Walter finds Danny and lowers him into the basement in which Danny as never been. To six year old Danny, even the furnace looks like and growls like a monster.

As Danny frets around the basement of this new and unknown house he finds an old board game. Wonders! In a wild and hopeful rush, Danny takes the game, Zathura: A Space Adventure to Walter in hopes he will find acceptance by Walter. But Danny is so beneath Walter. At least Walter seems to think so. But duty reigns as Walter accepts that Danny is his brother after all. So, Walter starts a round of the game with Danny who hopes Walter will be enticed into playing. And that he does. Whether he likes it or not.

Danny's first move produces a game card with a notice of the coming game hazard. But Danny cannot read. Handing the card to Walter, the pair find the card reads "Meteor shower. Take evasive action." As Walter reads the card, with his last syllable a hole appears in the card ... and in the floor directly beneath the card. A hole left by a meteorite. That was the first one.

After a period of peril and life-threatening danger from the piercing meteorites, inspection of the damage leads the boys to find themselves in orbit around Saturn. And there begins the space adventures. Subsequent adventures include a menacing turned benevolent robot, an astronaut (Dax Shepard). some critters out to kill the kids and a black hole.

Apparently not in the book were two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary by adolescents, thereby emboldening such vocabulary in the adolescent viewers. [Again Luke 17:2 but now add Matt. 25:40 and 1 Cor. 15:33] But the strongest presence found by the Impudence/Hate investigation area was repeated hateful and downright mean comments from Walter toward Danny [Col. 3:8] and from Lisa toward her father. [Exod. 20:12] This seems quite atypical of Chris Van Allsburg who wrote the book Zathura and wrote and produced Polar Express. But then, that's Hollywood.

Also apparently not in the book were seven uses of God's name in vain, six of them by an adolescent. Maybe some folks do not feel the use of God's name such as in the popular three-syllable sentence is offensive to God. But God does. [Deut. 5:11] Especially when youth are taught by example to use His name in vain (by adults or other kids) or use it at the direction of or "with the permission" of adults. [Luke 17:2 again] God is quite serious about the matter. Whether we like it or not. Whether believer or not. Whether we care or not.

Please consider inspecting the listing of findings of assaults on morality and ethics in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to take your little ones.


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  • Prov. 3:31 Envy thou not the oppressor [man of violence], and choose none of his ways. [Don't mimic him.]
  • Col. 2:20 - 23 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world [cast off slavery to lewd behavior and thought], why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. [In other words, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and resurrected Savior, why do you still think it is okay to tease, to lust and perform sexual behaviors outside of a heterosexual marriage and tease with your body through exhibitionism because the world ("everybody else") does it and indeed encourages and emboldens such values but your Savior's Word says it is detestable?]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • older brother endangering younger brother
  • action violence, repeatedly
  • sister hitting younger brother
  • human freezing
  • child endangerment, repeatedly
  • circular saw attempted murder of a child
  • weapon fire to kill children, repeatedly
  • threat to lives of children, repeatedly
  • choking threat to child
  • "deaths" of two children by being drawn into a black hole in space

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary by adolescents
  • anatomical reference insult to brother
  • sibling fighting and threats, repeatedly, throughout, sometimes resulting in danger to brother
  • adolescent disrespect of father, repeatedly
  • sibling hatred, repeatedly

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • teen girl in underwear, repeatedly
  • below navel skin, threatening to expose that which follows, repeatedly
  • dressing to maximize the human form and/or skin exposure
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts - adolescent
  • vulgar anatomical reference
  • dressing to expose fringe of brassiere, repeatedly

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)
  • six uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive by an adolescent, once by an adult
  • divorce

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Educators Association International



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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