Walter (Josh Hutcherson) and Danny (Jonah Bobo) are feuding brothers. When their babysitting big sister Lisa (Kristen Stewart) falls asleep, they discover a board game in the basement and begin to play. A card comes up meteor shower and a real meteor shower wrecks the living room. They discover that the house is floating in outer space. Their sister wakes up and prepares to leave the house, but they pull a card that puts her in cryonic sleep for the next five turns. The boys have to win the game to return everything to normal. A defective robot (Voice of Frank Oz) appears, they pass too close to a star, and they are attacked by reptilian aliens called Zorgons.

An astronaut (Dax Shepard) appears who begins to turn off every source of heat in the house, telling them that the Zorgons are attracted by heat. Walter is told to blow out the furnace pilot light, but he just turns down the thermostat. The astronaut sets the couch on fire and tosses it out to distract the Zorgons. Walter and Danny begin to argue about the game. Walter is ejected from the house and the astronaut rescues him. The astronaut says that he and his brother played the game years ago and he wished his brother had never been born. But then he was unable to play the game alone and has been trapped there ever since.

Lisa wakes up from stasis and turns up the heat. The Zorgons return and anchor their ships to the house. Lisa realizes what is happening and they all hide but leave the game behind. The Zorgons take it and Danny finds it on their ship. Walter uses a reprogram-card and brings the astronaut’s brother back, who looks like Danny. They realize that the brothers are the same and they merge. The Zorgons attack with a huge fleet. Danny makes the winning move which reveals Zathura as a black hole which sucks up the Zorgons and the house. The pieces reset and everything is as before. Their father (Tim Robbins) comes home. The boys patch up their differences and put the game away.

The film was directed by Jon Favreau, based on a children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg, who also wrote Jumanji. It received quite good reviews, in general, but was nowhere near as successful as Jumanji. Kristen Stewart was creeped out by the life-sized replica of her used in the film. She was even more creeped out by the fact that several men wanted to buy it. The robot and the Zorgons were a combination of live and digital effects from Stan Winston Studios. The name of the planet is Tsouris 3. Tsouris is Yiddish for trouble. The bottom line: This is a kids’ movie, but the special effects are great, and it’s clever as hell.