Two brothers play a board game that inadvertently launches their house into space, and they must finish the game in the face of adversity to set things right. Walter doesn't get along with his siblings, Danny (the youngest) or Lisa (the oldest). Their parents are divorced, and they mostly fight when they are together. One day, when left alone in their dad's house while he works, with Lisa reluctantly left in charge, the brothers find an old board game called Zathura. The game seems innocent enough: move along the spaces, collect cards along the way, the first person who reaches the end-- "Zathura"-- wins the game. The first card warns them to survive a meteor shower, and suddenly, a real meteor shower begins laying waste to the house. They quickly realize the game is real. When they open the front door to see their house floating in space, they discover the only way to set things right and go home is to finish the game and reach Zathura. As they continue, more and more goes wrong, including freezing their sister and unleashing an out-of-control robot on the house. When aliens called Zorgons begin to attack, they wonder if they'll survive, but the next card brings an astronaut to assist them, helping them distract the Zorgons by sending a heat signature for them to track away from the house (specifically, their couch, which the astronaut lights on fire and launches into space). Walter is granted a card for a free wish, and the astronaut warns him to wish carefully-- he played the game as a kid and wished his little brother away, causing him to be stuck alone in the game forever. Lisa unfreezes and turns up the temperature of the cold house, attracting the Zorgons, and they begin attacking the siblings. With the help of the astronaut and their robot, they back down the Zorgons, and Walter uses his wish to bring back the astronaut's brother. To Walter's astonishment-- it's Danny. It turns out that the astronaut is an alternate version of Walter, in a timeline in which he wished his brother away. Danny finally gets to Zathura and wins the game. The house is sucked into a massive black hole, and they suddenly find themselves back on Earth, as if they'd never left. Their father gets home and is surprised to find his children getting along.
Best part of story, including ending:
Zathura is exciting for a kid's movie, with terrific special effects and appealing performances across the board.
Best scene in story:
The first appearance of the robot is hilarious, as it's deceptively tiny at first, so the kids argue over who gets it, only to have it become large and destructive.
Opinion about the main character:
Walter is your typical kid-- struggling to get along with his parents and siblings. Hutcherson does a nice job of earning our sympathy.