Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Tagline of the Week: Courtesy of Zathura

Just saw the trailer for ZATHURA, which will be released by Sony in November just in time for Thanksgiving.

Zathura is based on the children’s book titled, well, Zathura, which was written by Chris Van Allsburg. Van Allsburg also authored Jumanji and The Polar Express, which have also been made into feature films. {We got it! Hey we got it! Hot Chocolahte!} If you don’t get the P Express reference I just made because you haven’t seen it, don’t bother. Trust me its not worth it. One of the only redeeming things about seeing that movie is that you could run round afterwards singing the inane lyrics to its songs in the parking lots with your friends.}

Zathura was written as an unofficial sequel to Jumanji. In Jumanji two modern day children unearth an old board game of a jungle safari adventure and inadvertently release a little boy who had been trapped in the game for years. The boy is no longer a little boy, but a grown man, and he helps the two children beat the game and stop it from taking over their home. Jumanji deals with a basic element of the childhood imagination: that the games we play may one day become real, and envelop our reality. I thought the story was clever, the sets were amazing, and I found myself eagerly awaiting each surprise that the game held for the children and in turn, myself, the audience.

In Zathura, two lonely children in a looming empty house also stumble across a mysterious boardgame. But this time the adventure is set in outer space instead of the jungle, and as they begin to play ‘Zathura’ they begin to discover it is much more than just a game.

Jon Favreau is directing, which strikes me as a little strange, but I thought he did a pretty good job with Elf in regards to its fantastical visuals and themes, so I hope he’ll kick it into even higher gear for this one.

David Koepp, one of the most prolific screenwriters in show business worked on the script. Koepp has quite the resume, but I don’t think he’s written a really outstanding screenplay since the original Jurassic Park. I thought both Panic Room and the first Spiderman were competently written, but unimpressive (screenplay wise).

The tagline reads: Adventure is Waiting. It’s simple, and plain. In the trailer, right after these words flash on the screen they are followed with “Right outside your door”, which I thought could have been a neat extension, though it still wouldn’t have made the tagline wholly original or memorable. Still there is something about it that is just vague enough that it tugs on the fringes of your daydreams. I have to say though, I am completely sucked in. The image in the trailer of the little boy opening the door to find the galaxy awaiting him is unbelievable. I already want a poster for this film as I think the shot of the house floating through space, with the roots of its foundation floating under it is absolutely stunning. It is so surreal and magical, it makes me feel like I’m eight years old all over again. It looks like they’re using this image for the one sheet teaser poster, and while Sony marketing could have been cleverer with the tagline, I approve of their visual choices.

I’m so there.

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