Four and a half stars. Highly recommended. Award-level stuff.
I find that kids films are subject to two tests: 1) do I enjoy seeing it the first time? 2) Do I still enjoy watching it after 30 times? Because that's what happens to DVDs that Alex and Fiona like: they watch them again...and again...and again... (I'm not kdding when I say that we watched Madagascar at least once a day for a whole month following Christmas last year.)
Films that pass the second test include The Incredibles and Madagascar. (I will hear nothing against that film--it's simply great.) Zathura was a film I loved when I saw it in the cinema, but I'm not sure if it's one I'll get on DVD. Upon watching it the first time, the plot unfolds at a concentrated yet unhurried pace, and the thrills are wonderfully tense. It's a terrific adventure. But I'm not sure if it has enough depth to sustain enjoyment throughout repeated viewings.
One other remarkable thing about this film: it's the first one that Fiona and I went to see on our own. Alex had expressed an interest in seeing it, but in the end he decided not to come along. Fiona was beautifully behaved throughout, but that may have had something to do with the vast quantities of chocolate she bummed off me. (I'm an easy touch.)