Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2005. Columbia Pictures Corporation, Radar Pictures, Teitler Film, Michael De Luca Productions. Screenplay by David Koepp, John Kamps, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg. Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro. Produced by Michael De Luca, Scott Kroopf, William Teitler. Music by John Debney. Production Design by J. Michael Riva. Costume Design by Laura Jean Shannon. Film Editing by Dan Lebental.
Kids will be less likely to be bothered by the cliched characters that populate this distracting adventure film, from the minds who brought you Jumanji. When a little boy discovers an old space-themed board game in his basement, he shows it to his brother for them to play, completely unaware that the game has effects that reach beyond the board itself. Meteor showers start shooting through their living room, their house finds itself floating in space, they rescue a stranded astronaut and have to fight off meat-eating lizard aliens before they can return safely home. While the story is delightfully imaginative, Jon Favreau’s direction is clunky and uninspired, and the two boys are far too familiar to be interesting (the snotty, selfish older brother, the weak-willed sensitive little one who is tired of being beaten up on, plus for posterity they’ve added the mean older sister). It seems to give up in its last third rather than end, and I for one was relieved to be set free. Good visual effects, though, and the tykes will be glad you took them to see it.